Paranormal vs. FitXR: Which VR Fitness App Is Best for You?

This article is part of our series Battle of the Brandswhere we compare category-leading products to similar offerings to determine which ones are really worth the money.

Modern virtual reality headsets may be best known for gaming and entertainment, but they’re also great for fitness. VR fitness apps are great for those who don’t have home gym facilities, hate overcrowded gyms, or can’t afford a personal trainer. Then there are the physical benefits. According to a nationwide study by the National Library of Medicine, VR workouts have the potential to positively impact users’ physical, mental and recovery outcomes compared to traditional workouts.

Meta Quest 2 is the hottest VR headset, and the platform’s two most popular fitness apps are Supernatural and FitXR. Most recently, Meta acquired Supernatural developer Within, which ensures that the fitness app released in 2020 remains exclusive to the headset. Meanwhile, FitXR launched in 2019 as an update to 2017’s BoxVR.

Both apps have undergone some major changes and upgrades since their respective releases, making VR workouts better than ever. Everything from mobile app integration to workout style ensures you’ll always have something to do on your VR workout journey.

To help you find the best VR fitness app for your needs, here’s what we thought of Supernatural and FitXR after using them for about a year.

While Supernatural aims to make exercising as easy as possible, FitXR takes the workout game a step further. The latter has ten trainers and five workout types, and also offers online multiplayer. Meanwhile, Supernatural has four workout types and five trainers. Two of the workouts also provide score-like stats. Between the two, the FitXR feels more gamified.

Both Supernatural and FitXR share boxing workouts, but there are some subtle differences between them. For example, some boxing routines can add leg lifts and knee strikes to Supernatural. When it comes to the FitXR, there aren’t any breaks between songs, and there’s action like low punches. When it comes to more music-driven rhythm exercises, Supernatural has Flow similar to Beat Saber, while FitXR has Dance exercises similar to Ubisoft’s Just Dance series.

The only other workouts available on Supernatural include meditation and stretching. Meditation allows users to practice breathing and gain more body awareness in a calm environment. Stretching is very similar to a warm up and cool down session, just with a little yoga added for great effect. It’s definitely a great way to get some exercise when you’re on your off day.

FitXR offers by far the most options when it comes to workouts. All workout types have different intensities, durations and soundtracks. Sculpt is more of a low-impact workout inspired by Pilates and barres. Then there’s grappling, which is different from boxing. In this workout, users punch icons like boxing, but use moves inspired by different fighting styles, including karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) complements the workouts available on FitXR, and it’s probably the most intense of the others available. It not only tests endurance, but also reaction time.

Long story short: FitXR has more workout types available, which should keep users more engaged. Note that Supernatural’s boxing and dance-inspired Flow are far better experiences.

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Both Supernatural and FitXR are subscription-based fitness apps with the option to pay monthly or annually. Supernatural is the most expensive at $19 per month. Users who want to pay for an annual membership can get a rate of $180 per year, which can save you some money in the long run.

FitXR, on the other hand, is much cheaper. The monthly subscription is $10 per month, or $84 per year after discounts. If you used FitXR before it transitioned to subscription-based in 2021, you will be considered a legacy user. This means that individuals who purchased FitXR as a standalone product will receive all pre-subscription downloadable content packs if they decide to repurchase.

The value of subscription fees for Supernatural and FitXR is relative to your own exercise needs. For some, the difference between the two can be likened to a Planet Fitness or Equinox gym membership. When it comes to better overall fitness value, FitXR takes the cake at just $10 per month. However, there are other reasons why individuals might not mind paying $20 per month to subscribe to Supernatural, which we discuss below.

Long story short: Users looking for easy workouts for as little as $10 a month may find FitXR the most appealing. A $20 subscription to Supernatural gives users a sleek fitness app that offers workouts and music representing a variety of genres.

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Both fitness apps have different approaches to user experience. Take the home screen as an example. Supernatural opens with a stylized title screen, with the user on top of a mountain on its home screen. At the same time, FitXR puts users in a minimalist personal gym. Step out the gate and the difference becomes apparent.

FitXR allows users to choose personal profiles for each account before they go to the home screen, which is great for families with multiple users. Supernatural allows multiple accounts, but the process is a bit complicated. It requires a mobile app and email for anyone who wants to set up their own account.

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From this point of view, in terms of user experience, Supernatural is significantly better than FitXR. Finding the right workout sessions is easier as they can be segmented by intensity level, workout type, soundtrack and duration. FitXR does both, but the main difference is that Supernatural offers one playlist for all your workouts. Users can see each artist and song that will be played during their workout. Until users become more familiar with FitXR’s specific workouts, it becomes a guessing game, though some descriptions may offer simple information about featured artists. FitXR does allow users to do warm-up and cool-down workouts before and after a workout, while Supernatural makes it mandatory.

When it comes to the core workout itself, the two also have different approaches. Supernatural uses live video for its trainers and scenery during training, while FitXR has full polygonal rendering.

Long story short: Supernatural does a better job of presenting information visually. The FitXR doesn’t look that great visually by comparison, and the menus feel a bit overwhelming.

related: Best Weight Loss Apps of 2023

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Both fitness apps have companion mobile apps for iOS and Android that let you do things like track your workout progress, set weekly goals, and manage your account. Both can connect to a variety of smartwatches that offer heart monitoring. The Supernatural can connect directly to a smartwatch equipped with a heart rate monitor for real-time tracking, while the FitXR works through the fitness app Strava. FitXR, on the other hand, has a more robust milestone system for tracking calories burned over time.

Some of the differences between these apps include that Supernatural has a lightweight social media component that allows users to share their scores with others after a session. The community-building aspect of Supernatural goes beyond the app itself and includes a vibrant and active Facebook group. The community expands into the celebrity world, featuring dedicated workouts for celebrities like comedian/actress Tiffany Haddish and RuPaul’s Drag Race competitor Shea Couleé.

In terms of gamification, FitXR workouts let you try to score higher among other users. Playing with other people drives users even more due to pure competition. These are not live, they are just recordings of other players’ sessions. However, FitXR does have an online multiplayer component that lets you take virtual fitness classes in real time against real people — something you won’t find in Supernatural.

Long story short: For individuals more concerned with fitness, FitXR offers more ways to keep up with their personal health journey. Supernatural doesn’t do that well, but the community aspect is very engaging.

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Music is key to regulating your mood during exercise, and the two take different approaches. FitXR caters more to lesser-known independent artists and offers the ability to submit music on its website for use in the app. It’s a neat way to discover artists through VR fitness. When it comes to licensed music from bigger mainstream artists, the offerings are a bit less. Some featured artists include DMX, Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Nas X, and Pink. Much of the soundtrack revolves around hip-hop, rock-pop, and techno. Users looking for a pure workout vibe will likely be satisfied with what the FitXR has to offer.

Supernatural, on the other hand, has the strongest licensed music soundtrack of the two, thanks in part to its partnership with Universal Music Group. Top artists in everything from hip hop and rock to jazz and electronic music are well represented, including Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre, Ariana Grande, AC/DC, Louie Vega, Fats Domino, Black Pink and many more. In addition to era-specific playlists, there are even playlists representing popular international artists from Africa, Pacific Asia and Latin countries. Supernatural recently added artist-specific playlists, which let you make all the hits from artists like Kid Cudi, The Weeknd, and Katy Perry in one session. The amount of great music that Supernatural offers is amazing.

Unfortunately, both lack the ability to create custom playlists.

Long story short: If you like popular artists from multiple eras, genres and countries, then Supernatural won’t hesitate to take the crown. But if that doesn’t matter — or if you want to discover something new — then the FitXR is perfectly fine.

Deciding which VR fitness app is right for you depends on your individual needs and priorities. Those who want a beautiful user interface, a phenomenal soundtrack, and a community full of inspiring ordinary people looking to get healthier should keep Supernatural in mind—as long as the $20/month subscription fits within your budget. Users looking for simple workouts that allow you to compete with other players around the world ($10 a month cheaper) will benefit greatly from FitXR.

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