What is GymKit?Apple first unveiled GymKit as part of its watchOS 4 preview in June 2017 and released it with watchOS 4.1 in October 2017. GymKit offers two-way synchronization between Apple Watch and gym equipment including “GymKit-enabled treadmills, ellipticals, stair steppers, and indoor bikes for more accurate distance, pace, and energy burn metrics.” Without GymKit, cardio equipment tracks pace and distance but relies on extra hardware for heart rate tracking, and Apple Watch accurately tracks heart rate but has to figure out distance and pace on its own. With two-way synchronization, workout machines and Apple Watch can share data points to offer the most accurate metrics including calories burned. As part of its initial preview, Apple highlighted seven partners committed to supporting GymKit: Life Fitness, Cybex, Matrix, Technogym, Schwinn, Star Trac, and StairMaster.
GymKit Fitness ClubsSo far we’ve seen the most GymKit news come from Technogym which makes high-end workout machines, and Life Fitness has highlighted fitness clubs where it has introduced GymKit equipment. In addition to select fitness clubs around the world, Technogym is working with Life Time gyms — which has 1.8 million members and 127 locations — across the United States to introduce GymKit equipment nationwide. Life Fitness says its GymKit equipment “will be gradually implemented into additional locations in the future” following its Hong Kong and Japan debut — which is good news for me as my gym Planet Fitness uses their machines.
GymKit at HomeBut what if you want to buy your own GymKit equipment for home use? GymKit is currently only offered on high-end equipment, so don’t expect to pay entry-level prices just yet. Technogym offers GymKit through its Unity console which is available on its Artis, Excite 1000 with Unity added, Personal, and SkillRun equipment — with treadmills starting at just under $14,000. Ultimately, it’s still early days for GymKit and Apple Watch. In the short-term, we should expect gyms to adopt GymKit equipment as new options hit the market and hardware leases are updated. Then hopefully the technology will start to reach cardio equipment closer to the $1000-$1500 range so more consumers can use GymKit with Apple Watch at home.
September 2020 UpdateTwo new pieces of data to share 2.5 years after this piece was originally published. First, Peloton has introduced GymKit support to its Bike+ home cycling machine. This enables cyclers to use the Apple Watch as their heart rate monitor while adding more accurate metrics to the Activity (soon to be called Fitness) app on the iPhone. Second, I’ve discovered real life GymKit in the wild! Hyatt Place in Titusville, Florida, near Kennedy Space Center is a newly constructed hotel with a truly state-of-the-art gym that includes GymKit treadmills and ellipticals. No Peloton Bike+ yet, but Hyatt Place may be a chain to seek out when hunting GymKit equipment. We update this story as GymKit hardware and fitness clubs with support become available. Have GymKit news to share? Get in touch at email@example.com or on Twitter @apollozac or Instagram @apollozac.
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