Thursday, 22 May 2008

Why are gyms still in the stone age?

Why do most gyms and health clubs still use the paper and pencil method of recording workouts?
In this modern technological age, it amazes me that a workout program is designed by the instructor on a piece of paper, and the user is expected to tick the exercises done during a visit, or record times or distances run. Most gym managers to whom I have spoken believe that this offers a "more personal approach", and that systems would make it more impersonal and alienate members. Instructors are concerned that the systems will replace them, when they really should be embracing them.

Polar heart rate monitors are fantastic little gizmos that you wear around your chest on a strap, and they transmit your hear rate to the treadmill, bike, or a Polar watch. They have done this for years, before bluetooth or wifi, but still we struggle to get the data from the equipment. Any cardio machine will ask your age, weight, how far/long you want to run/bike/etc for, and then tell you how many calories you burnt, along with other stats as you get off. Systems exist to record this data, but they are not used in most gyms, so if you want to record your time/kcal/etc, you need to write it on your program card... coh!

Exercise management systems are a no brainer for improving fitness, motivation, competition between members, retention, and the member experience. So why are they so underused???

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