Fitness technology gets more connected, streamlined

Manufacturers are giving customers the networked fitness they crave. Whether via a Netpulse or Preva Net platform, users are surfing web, running virtual courses and tracking their workouts. Learn about the latest developments.
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Your customers like to track their workout data.

Whether it’s with Fitbit, Nike+ or mobile apps like MapMyFitness, your customers are tracking workouts through various platforms.

Now software and media companies, such as Netpulse, are offering platforms to help your customers streamline all that data, using one mobile app or one ID to store information from both gym and outdoor activities.

“People aren’t in the club all the time,” said Kurt Weinsheimer, vice president of business development for Netpulse.

Many of the manufacturers on the IHRSA trade show floor offered networked fitness, on platforms from Netpulse or Preva Net, to allow users to surf the web, run through virtual courses and have an easy, streamlined way to track their progress — even on equipment from different manufacturers or from outdoor exercise.

The concept behind Netpulse, Preva Net and the networked fitness solutions from Life Fitness is that users have one ID under which they store data from various manufacturers’ equipment, mobile apps and tracking devices they use regularly for workouts outside the gym.

Life Fitness and Precor launched their own mobile apps for users to track workout data in one place.

Netpulse launches NetpulseOne
Netpulse has been waiting for this moment in the fitness world for well over a decade.

After a rocky start — the company filed for Chapter 7 protection in 2001 and was resurrected later that year — the software and media firm successfully has integrated aspects of its programming into equipment from several of the industry’s heavy hitters, including Life Fitness, Matrix, TechnoGym and Octane Fitness.

Netpulse launched the trend that Doug Johns, global marketing and product manager at Precor, calls “networked fitness.”

The company has grown from offering stations that allowed club members to surf the web while working out to creating integrated systems for clubs that allow users (each of whom has a unique identification number) to track all types of workouts. The new NetpulseOne club branded social platform is the key.

“The idea is, we want to provide one solution that helps [clubs] manage all the new technology and data that members,” are using, Weinsheimer said.

“Members are going to use all kinds of tracking devices and clubs are going to be getting all kinds of fitness equipment from different brands,” Weinsheimer said. “Members are going to use mobile apps to track workouts and this is confusing when you have data all over the place and the club has no part of it.”

Xcapture is another component that makes storing data in one place easier for consumers. The technology allows users to snap a photo of any exercise they do on non-Netpulse-enabled equipment. The workout then gets analyzed and stored to their account.

With NetpulseOne, Weinsheimer said, customers can track and store their nutrition data, too, as it has partnered with My Fitness Pal, the No. 1 diet app.

LifeFitness connects
Not all Netpulse partners are integrating every element of NetpulseOne. For example, Life Fitness has its own programming in technology, in addition to a few features for which it’s partnered with Netpulse.

Like Netpulse, Life Fitness gives users a unique identification card that they plug into the equipment to track their workouts. Now it’s launched the LFconnect mobile app that users can plug into equipment instead, which gives them access to past data and the ability to track current workout data.

In addition, the company launched an LFconnect website, where exercisers can see all their data, share their workouts on Facebook and design workouts and console displays.

Precor Seeks to Motivate
Netpulse isn’t the only game in town when it comes to improving networked fitness applications.

Precor uses Preva Net for the networked fitness it provides, and at IHRSA the company launched Preva enhancements such as the Preva Token, an RFID-enabled fob that allows exercisers to sign in to Preva on any networked cardio equipment by swiping the token rather than entering information — similar to Life Fitness’ and Netpulse ID cards.

The common goal of all networked fitness applications is to motivate users to continue to work out. Seeing progress over time is one of the main reasons the tracking trend has taken off with consumers.

In response to this trend, Precor has partnered with a few organizations and companies to help users track their workouts on its Preva Mobile iPhone app. Two of the partners are Cooper Aerobics, which is helping Precor build content for personal trainers, and Every Move, which will help members receive tangible rewards for reaching workout goals.

EveryMove partners with other companies (like FitBit and Nike+) so users can use workouts logged on those devices toward reaching their goals set on Preva Mobile.

--Ana Trujillo

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