High-tech Gym


In general fitness centers are relatively low-tech. Maybe this is the charm of a gym, its rawness. Still there is a lot of technology that can actually make our training more effective and efficient. This article will discuss several of those technologies.

Nowadays, technological progress allows more and more sensors to be manufactured on a microscopic scale due to MEMS technology. The basic idea of a sensor is that it detects changes in the environment and provides an output.

For instance, “the beast” is a little device that is suitable for all exercises and gives results in real-time. In theory this is supposed to motivate and prevent you do the wrong movements when you lift. This beast sensor is configured as a small magnet, which enables it to be easily plugged any gym equipment. The beast is originally developed for pro athletes and coaches, yet an initiative on Indiegogo crowdfunding platform wants to make it publicly available.

Another example of sensor use that could be implemented in the Gym is “the Dash”. It’s a pair of Bluetooth in-ear headphones that also offer up performance tracking via in-built health and body sensors.

Next to sensors, there are a lot of application and web-based initiatives that help us with our workout and corresponding diets. Examples are Traineo, and Wellsphere. Also the smart watches and other wristband will join our Gym. Look at for example PushStrength, which will be available from this fall onwards. This device will track, visualize and optimize your results.

Furthermore, one of the biggest burdens in a gym is the occupancy. Try to go the gym around 6PM. For most gyms – especially low-budget gyms, which basically have no limit on members – it’s nearly impossible to get you workout done around that time. A problem so obvious can be reduced significantly if one would just build an app that shows the occupancy at the gym at a certain time.

I, for one, would welcome these technologies at my Gym. I would be great to see how these technologies would change (and improve?) our time at the gym.

http://www.pushstrength.com

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hellobragi/the-dash-wireless-smart-in-ear-headphones

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/beast-the-sensor-that-tracks-your-workout-performances

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2 responses to “High-tech Gym”

  1. valeriekovalenko says :

    Thank you for your reflection on the topic which is of particular interest for me also!

    I have always though that modern gyms are not modern at all. Because, you still have to queue for a place on the toe cam and people are still helping each other when one is doing the breast press.

    I see some interesting and promising ideas in your post. Especially, I would point out the idea with the application which will show the occupancy of the gym. That would help sportsmen a lot!

    However, I would like to raise some questions and doubts which I encounter myself when think about the topic and which I had after I read your blog post.

    As far as I know there are already many applications that are built in order to help people to orient in the gym. For example, Nike Run or Nike Fit or Seven Minutes or Cross-Fit. So, the question is whether they are popular or not? My confusion is that, probably there are a lot of applications which can help you in the gym, but they are not used.

    Another question is why they are not used. To my mind, gym has no incentives to advertise any application unless the founders of the apps pay for that. And founders for sure will prefer huge chains of gyms or some luxurious sport centers, because there are more customers and more smartphone users. So small or budget gyms will stay away.

    The question of habits arises. People are so much attached to their every day routine that probably just do not want to change anything. That works majorly for the elder generation. And I suppose that the majority of gym-visitors are people from this very generation.

    Finally, I suppose the application, which can be utilized in the gym are rather controversial in terms of security. Although there have not been any serious cases registered, from my personal experience, applications can be rather distracting. Additionally, the music which almost always goes with the application can also draw you from the exercises and all that leads to quite a dangerous situation.

    Sources:

    http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/running/nikeplus/gps-app

    http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/womens-training/apps/nike-training-club

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/7-minute-workout/id650762525?mt=8

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocket-wod-crossfit-enthusiasts/id492100601?mt=8

  2. 343077ks says :

    I liked reading this blog, because I recognize these problems as well. First of all, when you go to the gym and use one of the devices, you cannot always keep track of how you are doing the workout. Especially, when you practice on strenghtening your muscles, you do not know whether or not the workout is going well. For instance, at the gym at Erasmus University, you cannot keep track of your performance while training your muscles. Your suggestion of implementing ‘the Dash’ is a nice solution for that problem.

    Furthermore, you state that it would be nice to have a system that shows how occupied the gym is. Then you know before you are going to leave to go to the gym whether or not you will be able to make use of the devices you want to train on/with. However, you do not state a suggestion for a system that can do so. Maybe, a gym can implement the same system as the Erasmus University Library has? On the website of the library of the Erasmus University, you can see how many study places there are (www.eur.nl/ub, 2014)). In my opinion, this could also be used at a gym.

    Moreover, you mention that more and more applications appear on the web that can advise you on a work out and associated diet. However, you do not mention whether or not you would like the gym to promote these applications. I would advise the gyms to give each member a list that contains useful applications such as the ‘Dash’ and an application that advises you on a workout and associated diet. Also, the list can provide links to useful apps such as a stopwatch and workout programs (http://www.windowsphone.com/nl-nl/store/top-free-apps/fitness/fitness,2014). That way, each gym can offer an extra service component to its members. As a consequence, the gyms can become more high tech.

    Resources
    http://www.eur.nl/ub/
    http://www.windowsphone.com/nl-nl/store/top-free-apps/fitness/fitness

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