GymKit for Apple Watch is a brand new technology that will hopefully one day be in all gyms and personal fitness equipment, but for now you need to know where to look to find it. The good news is that there are several models of exercise equipment that work with GymKit today, but you may want to seek out a fitness center with the right equipment for now.
What is GymKit?
Apple first introduced GymKit as part of 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 fitness equipment, including “GymKit-enabled treadmills, ellipticals, steps and indoor bikes for more accurate calculations for distance, pace and energy combustion. ”
Without GymKit, cardio equipment tracks pace and distance, but relies on additional heart rate tracking hardware, and Apple Watch accurately tracks heart rate, but must determine distance and pace itself. With two-way sync, exercise machines and the Apple Watch can share data points to provide the most accurate calculations, including calorie burn.
As part of its first preview, Apple highlighted seven partners committed to supporting GymKit: Life Fitness, Cybex, Matrix, Technogym, Schwinn, Star Trac and StairMaster.
GymKit Fitness Clubs
So far, we̵
In addition to select fitness clubs worldwide, Technogym is working with Life Time gyms – which have 1.8 million members and 127 locations – across the United States to introduce GymKit equipment nationwide.
Life Fitness says that the GymKit equipment “will be implemented gradually in several places in the future” after debuting in Hong Kong and Japan – which is good news for me as my gym Planet Fitness uses its machines.
GymKit at home
But what if you want to buy your own GymKit equipment for home use? GymKit is currently only offered on advanced equipment, so do not expect to pay entrance fees yet.
Technogym offers GymKit through the Unity console available on Artis, Excite 1000 with Unit added, personal and SkillRun equipment – with treadmills starting at just under $ 14,000.
Finally, it’s still early days for GymKit and Apple Watch. In the short term, we should expect gyms to use GymKit equipment as new alternatives come on the market and hardware leasing is updated. So hopefully the technology will start to reach cardio equipment closer to the $ 1000- $ 1500 range, so that more consumers can use GymKit with the Apple Watch at home.
Update September 2020
Two new data to share 2.5 years after this piece was originally published.
First, Peloton has introduced GymKit support for Bike + Home Cycling. This allows cyclists to use the Apple Watch as a heart rate monitor while adding more accurate calculations to the Activity (soon to be called Fitness) app on the iPhone.
Secondly, I have discovered the real GymKit in nature! Hyatt Place in Titusville, Florida, near the Kennedy Space Center, is a newly built hotel with a truly state-of-the-art gym that includes GymKit treadmills and ellipticals. No Peloton Bike + yet, but Hyatt Place can be a chain to seek out when hunting for GymKit gear.
We are updating this story as GymKit hardware and training clubs with support become available. Do you have GymKit news to share? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @apollozac or Instagram @apollozac.
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