GymKit launch continues with Virgin Active gym in London now supporting Apple Watch syncing

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

Last month we saw the first fitness club to deploy Apple’s GymKit technology pop up around the globe in Australia, and this week the Apple Watch workout syncing feature has gone live in the UK.

Metro reports that the Mansion House Virgin Active gym in London now offers exercise machines that work with Apple’s GymKit feature which lets you sync workout data between the machine and Apple Watch. In the piece, Apple’s fitness chief Jay Blahnik suggests we may see even more GymKit-compatible machines soon…

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GymKit in watchOS 4 solves the problem of Apple Watch having some data like heart rate and gym equipment but not knowing other data like speed and incline during indoor workouts. Simply wave your Apple Watch near the GymKit-compatible machine and start the session. No heart rate chest strap or fiddling with Bluetooth connections required.

The feature from Apple allows compatible gym equipment and Apple Watch to sync up and share data points securely and privately so you get the most accurate credit from a workout.

From Metro‘s report:

The Watch stores all sorts of info that you normally wouldn’t be able to measure whilst exercising in a gym, such as the incline of your run and how many storeys you’ve climbed when you angle a treadmill upwards, giving you a very accurate idea of how intense your work out has been.

After each session, the connection is broken by ending the workaround or simply walking away from the machine, and your data is stored only on your devices.

Like in Australia, the UK gym is using modern equipment from Italian firm TechnoGym, which offers high-end workout machines. Apple has said it is working with other brands including LifeFitness, Schwinn, and StairMaster, and Metro’s report which includes a brief interview with Jay Blahnik suggests we may soon see GymKit retrofitted on newer workout machines.

GymKit can also be retrofitted into equipment that’s been made ‘relatively recently’ at a low cost, meaning you are probably likely to see at gyms across the world in the coming months. Blahnik says: ‘It’s not something that clubs have to decide on because GymKit is basically built into the machines with touch screens that most clubs purchase. ‘What’s awesome about it is that when clubs get new equipment, it will just be built in with no extra charge to add it on.’

As a daily Apple Watch user who finds chest heart rate straps and manual Bluetooth connections a bit fiddly, I can’t wait to see GymKit available in more and more places. Apple Watch is excellent for tracking outdoor activity, but indoor exercises need GymKit for the easiest and most accurate data so it’s great to see it roll out in more locations.

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Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.