Quarantine Fitness in 2021: Cobra Kai, Oculus Quest 2, and Convict Conditioning

First of all, why should I listen to you about fitness, nerd?

Listen, I’m writing this at 3:22 am while eating a bag of Sour Patch Kids. I’m 35 and I spend a good six to eight hours a day sedentary in front of my machine. My diet is not outrageous, but it’s certainly not great, either. As a freelancer, I’ve already been living the quarantine life for almost a decade, so I’m no stranger to living like a Morlock under the grim haze of a monitor. But I can assure you that if I hadn’t adopted some kind of fitness routine to combat this lifestyle earlier on in life, I would probably not be able to carry on as I do. The Morlock life would be the death of me.

My Quarantine Fitness Routine

It’s one hour of exercise. You can do it every day, every other day, or three times a week. Half of involves watching TV. The other half involves playing video games. All of it is fun. And you don’t need any prior training to get started. So first, the gear.

The Gear

I’m not gonna lie — this setup isn’t cheap. But then again, if you’re thinking about shelling out $500 for a Playstation 5, consider that the entry level Oculus Quest 2 is $299, doesn’t require you to be tethered to a TV, and most of the games on the platform are less than $20 bucks. Add some cheap gym flooring, a pullup bar, and resistance bands, and you’ve got yourself a VR home gym for around $650.

OCULUS QUEST 2

I personally would spring for the one with more storage, since all the data is stored on the headset, but if you intend to use Quest primarily for fitness, you won’t need much space. ($299 for the 64gb version.)

QUEST 2 ELITE STRAP WITH BATTERY & CARRYING CASE

Way more comfortable than the stock strap, especially if you’re using Quest for fitness! It also comes with a battery backup and carrying case. You could get away with forgoing the extra battery life and carrying case by just buying the Elite Strap ($49). I rarely use the Quest for more than an hour anyway. ($129 at Oculus.)

VR COVER FACIAL INTERFACE & FOAM REPLACEMENT SET

You will need this. The stock facial interface is fabric, which does not play nice with sweat dripping down your face. There are also other non-Oculus brand facial interfaces out there for varying prices. You just need something vinyl that will slick off the sweat. ($29 at Oculus.)

RESISTANCE BANDS

I prefer the ones with handles, but you get more versatility with the stretch bands. Honestly any cheap brand will do, but avoid the dropship crap that you’ll see littering Facebook nowadays. (~$30 — $50, per Wirecutter.)

FOAM INTERLOCKING GYM FLOORING

Doubles as your workout space for floor exercises and your Guardian boundary in Quest. Two packs of six 24″ squares at $35.92 on Amazon will cover an 8×8′ area, though you can get away with a 6×6′ area and that is the smallest playable Guardian boundary the Quest allows.

CONVICT CONDITIONING BY PAUL WADE

This ebook has a week-by-week program for body weight exercises that start out super simple and conclude with one-arm pullups. No equipment necessary, except the pull up bar and the occasional surface to leverage. ($8.49 as Kindle.)

PERFECT FITNESS MULTI-GYM DOORWAY PULL UP BAR

Stick it in a doorway, add it to the routine. This particular model can be used for other bodyweight exercises described in the Convict Conditioning book. ($34.99 on Amazon.)

Part 1: Strength Training

First, lock together those foam squares to create your gym floor (this should give you an 8×8′ workout area, but you can shrink down to 6×6′ if you lack the space). The only other pieces of equipment you’ll need is a door frame or something sturdy to tie your resistance band to, and a TV (tablet, or phone) to reward yourself. I reward myself with a single episode of Cobra Kai while I’m doing this half of the routine.

Chris Heria of THENX

Part 2: VR Cardio

Cardio sucks, especially when you haven’t done it in awhile. The easiest way to make cardio fun is to tie it to a sport, which disguises the cardio part in gaming and keeps you accountable via your teammates. That’s all great when your teammates aren’t infectious zombies, which has unfortunately been our reality this year. Moreover, remote fitness classes during quarantine don’t work for all people, because they’re too easy to cheat when you’re a disembodied video screen that nobody can penalize for slacking off.

1. THRILL OF THE FIGHT ($9.99)

2. FitXR ($29.99)

3. AUDIO TRIP ($19.99)

Lastly, Stick with It!

If you haven’t been keeping up with any exercise during quarantine, it’s going to be tough to get started, especially in the cardio portion of the workout. That’s OK!

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Daniel Quinn

Daniel Quinn

Web designer, RPG hobbyist, scifi writer at dquinn.net. Cohost of worldbuildwithus.com. My favorite holiday is Halloween and I believe in Oxford commas.