GymKit launches in New York City ahead of a wider rollout in 2018

Following its debut in Australia in November and subsequent expansion in the United Kingdom last week, Apple’s all-new GymKit platform for wireless workout data sharing between Apple Watch and compatible cardio machines has now officially arrived to New York City.

CNET reported today that this watchOS 4.1 feature is rolling out at Life Time Athletic at Sky.

At the moment, 13 ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bikes and stair-climbers from TechnoGym work with the GymKit feature. Life Time is planning to roll GymKit out to 130 other locations over time, starting next year with locations opened in 2017.

GymKit will be coming to Equinox in 2018 via Life Fitness equipment, with a new New York City location being the first early next year. In Australia, 5 Fitness First centers will be GymKit-ready.

GymKit lets you connect your Apple Watch wirelessly to treadmills and ellipticals by tapping it on a piece of gym equipment. This lets the watch exchange data like your heart beat with the cardio machine you’re using and receive data like incline and pace for more accurate calculations of the calories burned, distance travelled and floors climbed.

Your workout automatically pauses as soon a treadmill is stopped and all data is deleted from a piece of gym equipment the moment you stop using it. The data from the machine you’re using shows up as a workout on your wrist, nicely labeled with the brand of equipment used.

CNET describes the experience of using GymKit:

I tried it on my first GymKit workout and it worked just fine. One tap, and I was speed-walking. The treadmill’s display mirrored what my watch would normally show me, with extra data. Basically, the treadmill became a massive paired fitness device.

GymKit works with a simple tap-to-pair process: Tapping a ready piece of equipment starts the process, and Apple Watch brings up a confirmation screen. With treadmills, it asks if you want to record a walk or a run.

From there, everything on Apple Watch and the fitness machine’s readout are synced: heart rate, pace, active and total calorie estimates, and machine-specific data such as elevation and flights of stairs climbed.

Connecting your watch also means the machine shows calorie estimates calculated from your own height and weight data on Apple Health, without adding any extra setup steps on the machine.

Heart-rate data comes from Apple Watch itself, or from any connected heart-rate device that’s also paired to your Apple Watch, such as a chest strap.

It’s especially nice that you can perform pairing later on, or even when the workout is finished, and GymKit will still synchronize and record your workout into the Activity and Health apps.

Although GymKit in most cases requires new machines with NFC and software support for GymKit, Apple’s Director of Fitness and Health technologies Jay Blahnik has said that cardio machines made “relatively recently” can be upgraded to support GymKit at a lower cost.

Are you looking forward to using GymKit?

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