GymKit for Apple Watch is 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 there are several models of workout machines that work with GymKit today, but you may want to seek out a fitness club with the right equipment for now.
What is GymKit?
Apple first unveiled GymKit as part of its 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 gym equipment including “GymKit-enabled treadmills, ellipticals, stair steppers, and indoor bikes for more accurate distance, pace, and energy burn metrics.”
Without GymKit, cardio equipment tracks pace and distance but relies on extra hardware for heart rate tracking, and Apple Watch accurately tracks heart rate but has to figure out distance and pace on its own. With two-way synchronization, workout machines and Apple Watch can share data points to offer the most accurate metrics including calories burned.
As part of its initial preview, Apple highlighted seven partners committed to supporting GymKit: Life Fitness, Cybex, Matrix, Technogym, Schwinn, Star Trac, and StairMaster.
GymKit Fitness Clubs
So far we’ve seen the most GymKit news come from Technogym which makes high-end workout machines, and Life Fitness has highlighted fitness clubs where it has introduced GymKit equipment.
In addition to select fitness clubs around the world, Technogym is working with Life Time gyms — which has 1.8 million members and 127 locations — across the United States to introduce GymKit equipment nationwide.
Life Fitness says its GymKit equipment “will be gradually implemented into additional locations in the future” following its Hong Kong and Japan debut — which is good news for me as my gym Planet Fitness uses their machines.
GymKit at Home
But what if you want to buy your own GymKit equipment for home use? GymKit is currently only offered on high-end equipment, so don’t expect to pay entry-level prices just yet.
Ultimately, it’s still early days for GymKit and Apple Watch. In the short-term, we should expect gyms to adopt GymKit equipment as new options hit the market and hardware leases are updated. Then hopefully the technology will start to reach cardio equipment closer to the $1000-$1500 range so more consumers can use GymKit with Apple Watch at home.
September 2020 Update
Two new pieces of data to share 2.5 years after this piece was originally published.
First, Peloton has introduced GymKit support to its Bike+ home cycling machine. This enables cyclers to use the Apple Watch as their heart rate monitor while adding more accurate metrics to the Activity (soon to be called Fitness) app on the iPhone.
Second, I’ve discovered real life GymKit in the wild! Hyatt Place in Titusville, Florida, near Kennedy Space Center is a newly constructed hotel with a truly state-of-the-art gym that includes GymKit treadmills and ellipticals. No Peloton Bike+ yet, but Hyatt Place may be a chain to seek out when hunting GymKit equipment.
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