Apple's GymKit: What it is, who supports it, and where you can find it

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in Apple Watch
You may have heard of Apple's GymKit for the Apple Watch -- but what is it exactly, and how can you actually take advantage?

GymKit

A primer

First launched alongside watchOS 4.1 in October 2017, GymKit is a platform that enables bidirectional sync between Watches and compatible cardio machines. That might seem redundant, but in practice it's an acknowledgement of the limitations of indoor workout tracking.

The Apple Watch doesn't do that well at tracking pace and distance indoors, for example, since what it normally uses is a combination of GPS and wrist motion. Cardio machines are excellent at that but bad at monitoring heart rate, since they depend on awkward hand rails that people often avoid touching.

GymKit eliminates these pitfalls by combining both sources of data. Before starting a workout, Watch owners pair wirelessly with a machine much as if they were using Apple Pay. Once a session is ended data is kept on the Watch, but wiped from gym equipment.

GymKit pairing


If your Watch isn't finding anything, you may have to turn on "Detect Gym Equipment" from the My Watch -> Workout menu in the iOS Watch app.

Which machines support GymKit?

Several kinds of cardio equipment support the technology, including treadmills, ellipticals, stair machines, and stationary bikes. Sadly, weight machines are out of the picture for now.

TechnoGym Skillrun Unity 7000


You also won't find GymKit on any (affordable) home equipment, at least not yet. TechnoGym for example supports it on multiple treadmills, but those run upwards of $14,000. That's several times the cost of the Peloton Tread, albeit without any subscription fees.

Confirmed brands so far include:
  • Cybex
  • Life Fitness
  • Matrix
  • TechnoGym
  • Schwinn
  • Star Trac
  • StairMaster
  • Nautilus/Octane Fitness

So how can I make use of it?

For now you'll probably have to seek out gyms that can afford state-of-the-art equipment. In New York City, for instance, you can find machines at Life Time Athletic at Sky. Toronto's Equinox is a Canadian example, and there are various supporting gyms scattered around Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, the U.K., and Australia, where the technology made its public debut at Fitness First.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,816member
    Hopefully Precor equipment and the standard gyms that use their stuff will get with the (fitness) program soon!
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    gutengelgutengel Posts: 340member
    2019 and 14K trademills compatible with Apple Watch still uses safety belts/string? How difficult is to add a proximity/weight sensor that would stop the mill from rolling if you fall?!
  • Reply 3 of 7
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,690unconfirmed, member
    Obligatory Apple should buy X post.

    Seriously, I see gyms adopting the tech so slowly that Apple might as well either buy a Gym franchise or the largest gym equipment manufacturer to roll this out quickly in a year.

    C'mon Apple reach in your couch for that pocket change!
    christopher126steveauwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    This reminds me of flat screen TV's. I wouldn't buy a treadmill, elliptical w/o Apple integration. I wouldn't buy a car that either doesn't support Apple CarPlay or worse, charges a fee for it! Hello, BMW? :)
    steveauwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    gutengel said:
    2019 and 14K trademills compatible with Apple Watch still uses safety belts/string? How difficult is to add a proximity/weight sensor that would stop the mill from rolling if you fall?!
    Weight sensor would be unreliable as you are constantly shifting weight and/or even be off the treadmill for a split second. That split second to detect between a positive and false positive might be the split second you need to stop the machine. Further proximity detection is variable as well so hard to code logic for to determine when to stop the machine. When running you sometimes deliberately 'wide step' and go back a little. You don't want the machine to stop then. Straps and belts make sense, although unorthodox.  
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 6 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,293member
    For serious runners this is a serious upgrade -- they track the duration and intensity of each work out and compare heart rate (intensity) with speed and climb.  They can do that outdoors pretty well with their Apple Watch or Garmin.  But on a treadmill, only the treadmill knows speed and climb.

    But, the grandma walking on the treadmill probably won't care.  I would say 2/3's of treadmill users fall into this camp where the most they measure is how many minutes they spent.

    I hope that U.S. will get away from this ridiculous time based "150 minutes a week" recommendations and take a more sophisticated and effective approach to exercise -- which inevitably will involve a tracker such as the Apple Watch.
    AppleExposed
  • Reply 7 of 7
    I have this at my gym and it’s fantastic! Occasionally I have to restart my watch before it will connect with the equipment so they still have some bugs, but the accuracy it gives you makes it essential for me and if I ever move gyms I’ll be checking the equipment has gymkit before signing up. 
    watto_cobra
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