Virtual reality or actual reality – you may trick your mind into confusing the two for a mentally charged, uber-fun workout, but you can’t trick your muscles. If anything, your muscles pay the price for your brain’s enjoyment while donning a VR headset.
This is great for both your brain and body, so long as you take care of your body’s recovery. Because VR fitness is all fun and games until, well, you turn off the games.
Then it’s sore calves, dead arms, and a sweat-soaked T-shirt.
Again, this is great, as this is how you should feel after a successful, intense workout. However, if you want to convert that soreness into strength, if you want to maintain your exercise momentum for the long run, you’ll need to replenish, rehydrate, and repair your torn-up physique with adequate nutrition and rest.
Fortunately, some of the best supplements for VR fitness can help.
The Exercise Benefits of VR Fitness
Wii Boxing was my introduction to Virtual Reality (VR) fitness, and it’s neither a VR game nor a game necessarily designed for fitness. All the same, only a few rounds into my first match I found myself sweaty and out of breath, and, believe it or not, I woke up the next morning sore.
No, I wasn’t insanely out of shape. I was a track athlete at the time.
And, well, okay, yes: I also wasn’t aware at the time that you could easily “cheat” at Wii Sports by lazily swiping your arms back-and-forth without having to even move your body. I was far too in-the-Wii-zone to consider cheating.
Even so what I realized then was how “gamifying” your workout may not only make exercise fun but (even more important) actually effective, as the workout’s fun factor distracts from the workout’s not-so-fun factors. At least, a recent thesis study from the University of Kent in the UK observed as much:
In the study, participants committed a series of weight-lifting exercises to determine the effects of VR on the exercisers’ perception of Exercise Pain (EP). The researchers found VR significantly effective at reducing exercisers’ mid-workout heartrate and perceptions of EP and exertion.
In other words, VR games may help decrease an exerciser’s pain intensity and feelings of discomfort, which, let’s face it, are a major deterrent for many with workout goals. And VR seems to work much better than non-VR video game titles, such as Wii Sports, as it more convincingly involves you in the virtual exercise.
Having said that, the perception of decreased pain does not actually decrease physical soreness in the long run, nor is VR exactly capable of nourishing your sore body’s nutrient levels, heightened protein demands, etc. (Excuse me: VR is not yet capable of nourishing your body – Elon Musk, I hope you’re reading this.) VR bodybuilding is still bodybuilding, the cardio is still cardio, and, like non-VR exercise, you may increase your workout results with sports supplements.
Optimize Your VR Fitness Results with Workout Supplements
Ultimately, the body does not care if you work out with or without a googly computer screen strapped to your face.
A workout is a workout.
And if you want to get the most out of your workout, you’ll need an optimized VR fitness supplement stack that ideally includes the following:
- Pre-Workout – to prime circulation and cellular energy levels for improved delivery of oxygen and fuel to muscles.
- Post-Workout – to replenish and protect muscular and connective tissues against the damaging effects of oxidative stress and dehydration.
- BCAA (or branched-chain amino acids) – to promote protein synthesis, athletic endurance, immunity defense, and cognitive performance.
Other supplements for the VR exerciser to consider might also include a vision support stack to reduce eye strain caused by prolonged screen exposure and a sleep aid stack to enhance nighttime recovery, especially if late-night VR “blue light” exposure is negatively impacting your sleep quality.
Whether you want to gain muscle mass or lose fat – or both – the same principles apply in choosing the best supplements to optimize your workout and diet: you want a supplement stack that optimizes your metabolism, improves your energy levels, and ensures a healthy recovery.
And you want supplements that are of exceptional quality and potency.
In other words, you want supplements that work.
Best Supplements for VR Fitness
Finding the best supplements for VR fitness isn’t simply a matter of finding the best ingredients. You want a stack that not only supplies the right ingredients for ergogenic performance enhancement but also supplies them in their most bio-active forms at substantial dosage levels.
And you want to limit negative ingredient interactions, especially if you’re stacking multiple supplements to attain peak muscle performance and recovery.
Taken alone or altogether, the following supplements list may help improve your VR fitness performance while also protecting against the detrimental effects of high-intensity exercise.
Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout
When it comes to exercise performance enhancement, few ingredients work as well as creatine; and Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout features creatine as Creapure® pH10, a 99.5% pure creatine monohydrate with enhanced nutrient bioavailability. Essentially, creatine works by increasing cellular energy for improved exercise endurance and post-exercise recovery.
What’s cool about creatine is how it accumulates in the body over time, sustaining its ergogenic benefits beyond each serving. Yet, the Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout stack also supplies muscle-priming ingredients that work more immediately by improving the body’s oxygen utilization (via a standardized Cordyceps extract) and enhancing nitric oxide (NO) production for better circulation (via L-Citrulline). The L-Glutamine and L-Carnosine aminos also bolster muscular performance by improving anabolic protein synthesis and inhibiting cell-damaging oxidative stress, respectively.
Perhaps the most unique ingredient here is Maritime Pine Bark Extract, an antioxidant-rich herbal extract with significant circulatory and nootropic benefits. By improving NO production and protecting against free radical damages across the braina and body, Pine Bark Extract accomplishes both short- and long-term exercise benefits. Paired with L-Citrulline, this herbal extract may take your muscle pumps to the next level.
Poor oxygen intake, low energy reserves, excess oxidative stress – under these conditions, it doesn’t matter how awesome your VR setup is: your body simply won’t comply with your exercise demands, making all of your VR investments a waste.
This pre-workout supplement may help you get the most out of your VR workout.
Performance Lab SPORT Post-Workout
While pre-workout supplements tend to get the most attention, as they tend to supply more “feel good” excitement than any other types of supplements, post-workout recovery is just as essential (if not more so) as pre-workout enhancement. And Performance Lab SPORT Post-Workout offers a unique mix of post-workout energy, antioxidants, and rehydrating salts that promotes greater muscle growth than exercise alone.
High-intensity training is a double-edged sword: yes, while the exercise is essential to getting fit, the muscular stress and depletion may have counterproductive effects on muscle growth if left unaddressed. Performance Lab SPORT Post-Workout addresses these issues with the following ingredients:
- Creatine (as Creapure® pH10) – more creatine energy enhancement for additional muscular support and repair, promoting a favorable anabolic metabolism for growth and development.
- Pomegranate Extract (as P40p™) – a potent source of polyphenols, antioxidants that help regulate inflammation, improve circulation, and eliminate exercise-induced oxidative stress that impairs muscular growth.
- Himalayan Pink Salt – while maintaing hydration during and after workouts, these salts also restore lost electrolyte levels for improved amino absorption and water balance.
- Organic Coconut Water Crystals – these electrolyte-rich crystals help defend against dehydration, which deteriorates muscle growth and strength.
Energy for repair, antioxidants for protection, and electrolytes for rehydration. This post-workout combo is a simple, yet unique supplement stack that helps maintain your exercise gains following an intense VR workout.
Performance Lab SPORT BCAA
Branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, are a foundational sports nutrition trio used to accelerate anabolism (muscle growth) while decreasing catabolism (muscle breakdown). The noticeable effect of BCAA is a decrease in exercise-induced soreness.
In other words, supplementing BCAAs helps prevent the soreness of yesterday’s workout from impeding today’s workout. It helps maintain momentum for long-term fitness.
Performance Lab SPORT BCAA supplies the trio in the preferred 2:1:1 BCAA ratio, which amounts to 1,500mg L-Leucine, 750mg L-Isoleucine, and 750mg L-Valine. Altogether, these three aminos comprise about 1/3 of the body’s protein content. Taken in supplement form, BCAAs rapidly absorb into muscle tissue to promote growth and repair by stimulating growth factor hormones for increased protein synthesis, stimulating insulin for enhanced amino uptake, and sustaining cognitive performance following an intense workout.
Many supplements use inferior BCAA forms and ratios, limiting the effectiveness of these aminos. Performance Lab SPORT BCAA supplies a fermented sunflower lecithin form of BCAAs for easier amino absorption and enhanced bioavailability.
Performance Lab Vision
One understandable concern with frequent VR training is eye strain. While traditional, non-VR workouts typically only strain the exerciser’s eyes insomuch that the exerciser likes to watch his/her bulging muscles in the mirror, VR training requires heightened visual demand.
Of course, your mileage may vary here – not everyone suffers from eye strain whereas others tire from reading an article on their computer screen (like right now, right!) – yet, for the VR exercisers who need it, Performance Lab Vision offers macular eye health support.
Under age- and genetic-related conditions of macular degeneration, certain visual and motor skills decrease, contributing to poor focus, reaction time, hand-eye coordination, night vision, sunny-day vision, and more. While certain VR exercises may athletically improve hand-eye movements, the long-term effects of daily staring at a screen in front of your eyes may be detrimentally tiresome.
Performance Lab Vision supports eye health with its potent stack of antioxidant compounds that help form macular pigment, protect against photoreceptor-damaging free radicals, and improve circulation to the eyes. The Lutein + Zeaxanthin combo (as FloraGLO®) in particular seems to benefit eye health and vision by countering the damaging effects of “blue” light, or high-energy visible (HEV) radiation, which emits from computer, tablet, and phone screens.
Performance Lab Sleep
In addition to increasing oxidative toxins in the eyes, blue light also negatively impacts sleep quality, especially when engaged immediately prior to sleep. Do you stare at your phone in bed before restlessly trying to sleep? Likewise, do you do your VR workouts in the evening?
If poor sleep occurs as a consequence of blue light overexposure, Performance Lab Sleep may help you attain those Zzz’s that are so important to your workout recovery.
After all, brain and body recovery predominantly occurs overnight. And if you’re not receiving sufficient sleep, it’s almost a bad idea to submit your body to high-intensity training.
What’s great about Performance Lab Sleep is that it isn’t your run-of-the-mill melatonin supplement. Many sleep aid stacks simply supply a cheap, synthetic, often overdosed form of melatonin that leaves the user foggy and groggy in the morning. By supplying natural melatonin as CherryPURE®, a 50:1 concentrated extract of melatonin-rich montmorency tart cherry, Performance Lab Sleep offers a healthier, more consistent approach to better sleep. Paired with L-Tryptophan (as TryptoPure®), a precursor compound to 5-HTP and serotonin, this stack’s melatonin helps the user sleep without sacrificing emotional wellbeing.
Additionally, the stack supplies the mineral magnesium, which athletes often lack due to sweating. Magnesium deficiency contribute to poor sleep quality and various metabolic imbalances, and it’s often the case that habitual exercisers are deficient in magnesium.
SIDEBAR: Replenish Your Micronutrients
Just looking at a dumbbell, whether virtual or real, causes me to sweat. Not out of anxiety or fear. I’m just a naturally, exceptionally sweaty exerciser, which I actually don’t mind, except when it comes to my vitamin and mineral levels.
Sweat depletes the body’s minerals. And if you’re an athlete or exercise who’s prone to sweating, you might want to consider a multivitamin supplement stack to replenish your micronutrient level. The three most discussed micronutrients impacted by exercise are zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6, which comprise the ZMA sports nutrition trio. Under conditions of ZMA deficiency, the body may struggle to maintain anabolic muscle growth, healthy testosterone levels, and adequate sleep recovery. While the Performance Lab Whole-Food Multi supplement splits into separate “For Men” and “For Women” formulas, both supply a comprehensive multivitamin stack for whole-body metabolic support.
Mix-&-Match Your Personal Performance Stack
Really, the specific goals of your workout regimen will determine which supplements you’ll need to boost your VR fitness results. Trying to lose weight? Add a fat burner weight loss stack. Looking to regain your youthful vitality and stamina? Toss in a testosterone booster.
The quote-unquote “best” supplements for VR fitness listed above are the best not only because of their exceptional quality but because their benefits are universal. However, one of the most impressive meta-designs of the Performance Lab supplements is how you can mix-&-match their products to create your own personal performance stack.
And you can stack them without fear of negative ingredient interactions or overdoing it on certain ingredients. These formulas work well together.
Better performance, better results, healthy recovery – these are the targets you want to shoot for with your VR fitness supplement stack. The perception of exercise pain may decrease with a VR headset, yet the post-exercise soreness and pain will hit you with a vengeance. Stay on top of it and keep your momentum grooving with these supplements.