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Using an Apple Watch in the gym is suddenly more accurate than ever.

One of the big gripes with gym equipment, even the best stuff, is that it isn’t that accurate. It only measure your heart rate if you grip the handle just right, and it takes its time to report its findings even then.

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More accurate calorie-counting requires you to input personal data like age and weight before you start.

And if you have an Apple Watch or other fitness tracker, the exercise credits you get when using gym machines are muddled at best.

Earlier in the summer, Apple announced GymKit, a response to how popular fitness tracking has become for Watch users, eager to close their exercise rings every day.

GymKit allows the Apple Watch to communicate quickly, effortlessly, wirelessly with compatible gym equipment, and in the last few days, such equipment has gone live in Australia, the UK and now the US.

Technogym is the launch partner, though more companies will follow soon. And it’s not limited just to the newest machines, around three quarters of Technogym’s existing equipment can be simply upgraded to work with GymKit.

As Enrico Manaresi, TechnoGym Global PR Director, told me, the equipment in the first British club to be upgraded was modified in a matter of a couple of hours. ‘Digital connectivity and connectivity in these products makes it a successful lifestyle solution for people. All the new equipment we make will have this capability built in and we’re upgrading existing machines as quickly as we can. It’s a way to connect to a new community and make that connection even more personalized,’ he said.

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Virgin Active and Apple Watch, Virgin Active, London, 07/12/2017

This was Virgin Active in Mansion House, London, and Andy Birch, Virgin Active’s Product and Fitness Director, is clear that there are many benefits. ‘This is about the bricks-and-mortar world of the health club going digital,’ he told me. It means that extra data can be gleaned, which club members’ personal trainers can analyse in more detail, for instance.

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But it’s still useful even if you don’t have a personal trainer. Here’s how it works:

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Apple Watch is linked with the Technogym equipment thanks to GymKit.

You tap the Apple Watch on the NFC tag on the left of the treadmill (or stair stepper, exercise cycle or elliptical trainer). The Watch buzzes so you know the connection has been made. And then you start. That’s it.

The Watch has told the treadmill who you are, how old you are and so on, so it can calculate how many calories you’re burning with much greater accuracy.

And the treadmill tells the Watch your angle of incline, running speed and the like, so it’s more accurate in its measurements, too. After all, though the barometric altimeter in the Watch is great at giving you credit for running uphill outdoors, the lack of change in the air pressure in the gym means it needs extra information to be precise.

I tried the Technogym running machine and the system worked seamlessly. In fact, the only awkward part of the picture was me, huffing and puffing as I ran.

Apple told me the idea was to make the system gym-proof, which sounds like code for idiot-proof to me. It’s designed to be as simple to use as Apple Pay. And it is.

One of the coolest features is that if I forget to tap the NFC panel at the beginning of my workout, all is not lost. At any point in my run, right up to the last seconds, I can make the connection and the two machines work out the data for the entire session.

Check the screen on the gym machine as you finish, compare it to the Activity app on your iPhone and the two are identical.

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Seamless syncing between Apple Watch and Technogym with one-touch connection.

It’s a great way to make the best of each system’s strengths, combining them for an outstandingly accurate result.

As you step away from the machine, every vestige of private data is wiped from the gym equipment – hardly a surprise given that this is Apple we’re talking about, which values privacy.

It’s even made sure that your personal data can’t be hacked by anyone else – this is information for your eyes only.

In practice, using Apple Watch with Technogym is seamless, straightforward and in my sweaty experience, satisfying. You can see information much more easily on the big Technogym screen and it’s a brilliant way for two sets of hardware to each have access to data they previously lacked, taking the best features from each source.

So, where can you try it out? These are early days so venues are only just coming onstream, and I’d say this can’t come fast enough.

The Virgin Active Mansion House club is the first in the UK, while in the States, for now you need to visit New York.

The first location is Life Time Athletic at Sky. It’s live now with Apple GymKit-enabled machines from Technogym. There will be 14 new Life Time clubs in 2018 all with Apple GymKit, plus they will retrofit many of their other clubs with software upgrades and more will follow within their 130-club network.

Equinox will also be rolling out this technology throughout 2018 and all of its new clubs will be fitted with Apple GymKit-enabled cardio equipment from another gym equipment company, Life Fitness. Orchard Street in Manhattan, opening in the first three months of 2018, will be the first Equinox club to open with Apple GymKit technology.

As you might expect from Apple, the result of GymKit is an improved exercise experience that is utterly frictionless and works perfectly, quietly, simply to make your workout that bit better.

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MORE FROMDavid Phelan, Contributor

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/news/gymkit-arrives-in-us-apple-watch-gets-smarter-at-the-gym-heres-all-you-need-to-know/ar-BBGI4XE

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