Zwift is a fitness company born from gaming, created by fitness enthusiasts who just so happen to be experienced software and video game developers.
If you’ve ever sat there and thought that you’d rather sit on the Xbox or the PC than go to the gym or workout in the great outdoors, this is going to be right up your street. I know, I’ve been there – when you get sucked into playing The Sims, you can lose days without realising it.
Virtual / indoor cycling was the initial focus, but after the huge success of Zwift Cycling, the company have branched out and plan to take over the virtual / indoor running scene.
So what exactly is Zwift Cycle and Zwift Run? Let me tell you…
Zwift Cycle was the launch product by Zwift, combining fitness with the gaming experience. Particularly ideal now that the summer has been and gone and the colder, darker, wetter days are drawing in.
First things first, you need your own bike. It hasn’t got to be anything fancy, but you don’t want an old rickety one that’s going to break. The only upfront cost from here will be to purchase the required training gear to switch your bike to an indoor bike (n.b. these aren’t cheap, but there is one for £499 which is miles cheaper than the rest!) and you get a 12 month subscription to Zwift for free.
Once you’ve worked on your bike with the training gear, you’re all set to go. Simply open the app on your PC or Apple product to get going.
Bringing gaming into the fitness experience is simple. Through the app on your chosen device, you can select to cycle on whatever virtual road you’d like with the avatar you create. From virtual roads based on real locations, such as Central London, through to Zwift’s fantasy island of Watopia. You can cycle solo or with thousands by your side, on the road, through jungles and even inside a volcano. This is definitely one way to switch up your scenery.
When we say you can cycle with thousands of others, some are obviously computer-generated, but there are just as many real runners taking part with you. You can even choose to virtually cycle with your friends.
This fitness trend has given birth to over 150 Facebook community groups of up to 45,000 members. These include pro athletes in search of the best training experience and consumers looking for additional motivation.
Since revolutionising the indoor cycling market, Zwift this year rolled out their latest product – Zwift Run.
To get started, you need your own treadmill, which, while not the cheapest product to purchase, is a handy item for your home gym and home workouts. The only upfront cost from here will be to purchase a Footpod from Amazon for £34.95. You can then link up your treadmill to most devices, from PC’s and Macs to iPads, iPhones and Apple TVs. The app itself is currently free to use, so that’s a little money-saver for the time being.
From what I can gather, you’re accessing the same world through Zwift Run as with Zwift Cycle. So you’ll have all the same virtual roads to run on as you would’ve cycled on.
Whether at home or in the gym, Zwift Run will make your indoor running experience more social, more motivating, more structured and more measureable. – Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder
The whole experience is about making fitness more enjoyable and boosting motivation. They’ve teamed up with a number of elite coaches to craft workouts (as they did with Zwift Cycle). Programmes are tailored to work with your fitness levels, they’re easy to follow and you’re able to delve into post-run metrics. Whether you just like to run or you have an event to train for, you pick the programmes that work for you.
What’s more, you can connect to a variety of third-party apps, including Strava and Garmin Connect.
If this isn’t a great way to combine two worlds, I don’t know what is!