Your Gym Is Watching You. Counting. Monitoring. Waiting.


Instead of just barking “100 more crunches (and faster)!” at you, some trainers are now electronically tracking their clients with devices like Fitbits. And if you’re training somewhere like Life Time Fitness, your coach will text you if your exercise band says you aren’t sweating like you’re supposed to be.

As if in-person judgement wasn’t enough, according to the New York Times, gyms are encouraging clients buy Nike fuel band-like electronic devices to constantly record all of their movements both in and out of the gym to heighten their work-outs. After the wild popularity of Nike’s fuel band, fitness companies across America have been trying their hand at integrating similar gadgets into their clients’ workouts. But since no one but Nike engineers know how the hell those fuel bands actually work, chains like Life Time Fitness and Equinox are picking the athletic company’s competitors. It all really gives another meaning to “The Man is Watching.”

The upscale gym chain Equinox sells Jawbone’s Up24 device, Crunch wants members to buy Exerspy and Reebook Sports Club/NY and Sports Club/LA encourage clients to use the Polar Loop. The trend is spreading and fitness clubs are moving to include virtual coaching with membership fees, thanks to the 24-hour access each of these fitness bands provide. But all of this technology isn’t perfect just yet, some apps don’t depict the correct amount of calories in connection with the amount a person has actually burned. However a group called the Fitness Industry Technology Council is working to make calorie counting standardized across devices. But Bryan O’Rourke, president of the aforementioned Council, says all of this technology integration is not really about the people who are already in the gym, it’s about those who aren’t. Ironically, despite the constant onslaught of weight loss pills, exercise machines, fat flushes, juice cleanses and the sheer number of gyms across America, the exercise industry feels it still hasn’t reached most Americans.

“The gym market has long wanted to extend beyond its present reach,” said O’Rourke. “There’s going to be the merging of the digital and physical worlds from a service perspective, just like it is in retail shopping.”

So instead of just hopping on a treadmill for 30 minutes, these bands will track your walking, measure your sleeping habits and even the energy you exert during sex — Fitbits has measured sexy time from “light” to “vigorous.” Here’s to vigorous, eh? Other bands will even indicate if you’re too stressed or haven’t had enough sleep to exercise and should maybe hit your couch for a nap instead. But for those who can’t bear to tell your trainer the truth about what you’ve really been doing, all of these bands will do one thing and that is, tell on you.

“I know if they’re keeping me from seeing the data, they’re probably up to no good,” said Angela Harrigan, a Life Time Fitness trainer in Michigan.


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