I was at the gym yesterday in the suuuuper cool bat-cave like "Cardio theatre" room at my gym. I've heard of cardio theatre rooms before but this one is special (at least compared to the other ones I've been in) because it's DARK! It's brilliant, 'cause it's cooler, you can see the television screens better and the other people working out can't really see you - you're free to sweat and make exer-face in relative privacy! In this case it's even better, 'cause all the other people at my gym work at the same company as I do, and, well, some privacy is nice. Let's just leave it at that.
Anyway, maybe it's because it was dark and almost casino like in there, but I thought of the most excellent fitness system. A combination of the Sport Brain & a casino loyalty card thing that you can swipe on each machine you go to! To catch you up, the Sport Brain was this awesome little digital pedometer that you wore all day, then cradled at night so it could upload your step/mileage info to a web site that you could access and manage/track your distance, etc. I bought one about 5 minutes before they went out of business.
You know what I mean by the casino loyalty cards, right? The little magnetic stripe cards that casinos hand out so you can insert them into the slot machines so the casino can track your usage and you can get the equivalent of frequent flyer points?
Ok, so now, imagine that every piece of gym equipment everywhere (including maybe places like golf courses, batting cages, swimming pools, etc.) had a card swiper and a wireless uplink (suspend cost issues for now). While you work out, you carry your little card on a rubber springy key cord or a zip badge holder or whatever (acutally better yet, it would be a tiny RFID chip built into your watch, shoes or something, but anyway). When you get on the treadmill, you swipe your card, and when you complete your workout the treadmill wirelessly uploads your info to your workout repository. Then you go over and do your weight routine, swiping your card at each machine (or maybe a central place) - maybe the weight machines are also profile enabled so that they automatically adjust to your settings - including upping your weight or resistance based on your preset performance goals (with a manual override, of course). Maybe when you go to the cafe at the gym and get a smoothie you swipe your card and the calorie info is also uploaded.
Later, you log into your fitness portal and see where you stand against your goals. You learn that you're over-calories by an average of 100/day, maybe you learn that if you changed your cardio up by 10 minutes or 2 levels of intensity for the next week you could lose an extra 5 pounds. Perhaps you decide to accept that change, your profile is updated, and tomorrow when you get on the treadmill it automatically speeds up to enable you to meet your goals (again, with a manual override, of course).
Expensive? Yup. Cool? a-yup! Maybe Nike could develop the standard and build a tiny pocket for the RFID into their shoes. Then they could license the standard to exercize equipment manufacturers so that all the machines would support the system. The web interface would be a subscription service through - well, not sure it matters. AOL could offer it, Nike could offer it directly and really build a great, active digital community. Or Polar - yea, they should totally build this thing.
I would so totally use this. Maybe it would be best as a small pedometer-like device so that non-swipable activities like hiking and daily walking could be easily captured. It could still have the profile/settings info stored on it, or it could just hold the unique identifier and (where used) the machines could get it and query the web server for settings info.
Either way, I want it, and I put it out here in the hopes that someone will tell me that it already exists, or that someone smarter and richer than me will go create it then turn around and sell it to me.
Oh, and while we're at it, I want the exercise bikes & other machines that have video games built in and linked so that the harder you pedal the better you do at the game. Come on already! I understand there are whole gyms full of these in the UK.
Posted by: Chris Lukasik