FitTech Insider

How do you bring smartness into old school gyms?

With the help of sensors and software, analog strength fitness equipment can be upgraded into a data aggregating and gamified system. Stefan Schade is the CEO of Trackbar, which promises to deliver this solution. How can classic fitness equipment compete with new smart training devices?

With your Trackbar-sensors you digitize analog fitness machines and add AI-data analysis to them. Is that extension already smartness? 
In my view, that's the beginning of what might be called smartness. We add entire sensor solutions to selectorized (pin-loaded) machines and guide users through the whole workout session. Therefore, we look at their individual range of motion, allow different workout styles and combine the results in easy-to-understand stats. But at this moment, a big part of the smartness, I'd say, is still with the users and coaches who process this data and adapt the workouts based on the results.  

What else should be integrated in the definition of smartness?
That word has a huge range. So let me narrow it down a little. For me, "smart technology" is where technical support ensures that users receive personalized training and personalized support. We at Trackbar aim to build this kind of innovative technology that enables this personalization every day.

How do users experience that certain smartness with your products?
Our product brings guided workouts with the training curve to all selectorized machines in a gym, and we aim to expand further to the entire training floor. So, with Trackbar sensor systems, you will be able to equip entire facilities, which have worked in analog mode up to now, with a smart, digital experience. 

Stefan Schade: The Gym-ovader
Stefan Schade studied sports studies at Armstrong State University in Georgia and sports engineering in Vienna. After working as a software engineer in Germany, he co-founded the Startup Trackbar. 
(🤝 Meet Stefan at LinkedIn)

Trackbar: Making iron innovative again
Since 2019, Trackbar is working on its solution to optimize analog fitness gadgets for gyms or home fitness-fanatics. Once the sensors are put on strength equipment, it delivers feedback to the Trackbar-app. With the help of that, users and trainers can plan the workouts more personalized and get an overview about the training progress.
(👁️ Check out what Trackbar does)

How does that looks like in the gym?
Our sensors are built into the machines, where we measure the trajectory and the set weight. Our CURVE Workout App then does the rest. Users connect with the machine by scanning a QR Code and start their personalized training program. During the workout, we guide the users via a displayed curve on how to perform the exercises and give immediate feedback. 

Who are your biggest competitors then? Is it eGym?
It's other technology providers, for example, Sony Advagym. Also, Techno Gym or eGym deliver smart fitness equipment, but they are not really our contenders. We are more focussing on upgrading existing product lines and are the less expensive alternative for getting an entire studio digital. It will be impossible for most gyms to afford two or three dozen eGym-devices. If it is not an option for a studio to invest that much money, we are the perfect alternative. 

Which gym-goers are the typical users of your technology?
Our primary customers are fitness beginners and intermediates. With Trackbar, users are simply guided. Users get to know what to do with the device and how to perform the exercise. 

Your rollout will start in the fall. What feelings do you have in mind?
I'm really looking forward to it. Now, we are starting our complete production. We are also interested in seeing how users experience upcoming entertaining factors within the app. Strength training per se is not the most exciting thing for many people. Thus, we look forward to seeing more smiling faces when training on digital strength machines. 

What does the development of the smartness of gyms mean for personal trainers?
Of course, some personal trainers ask: Is this a competitive situation for me? I don't see it that way. The gadgets for digitization offer coaches to focus more on their unique strength: Talking with clients about their goals and problems and setting up perfect workout plans. We are 'just' there to guide and motivate the users to execute the plan the coaches have set up. Additionally, personalized training is just not accessible to everyone. We enable it.

What does smart development mean for the owner? 
First, with our solutions, owners differentiate against competitors. Second, gyms can currently address 10 to 12% of the population. However, the industry's potential is up to 20% or 30%. So let's make fitness more fun to address more people.

How do health and fitness technologies contribute to public health?
Nutrition, fitness, and mental well-being are vital components of overall health. Unfortunately, our 'normal' life often interferes with temptations to live unhealthily. Making healthy living fun, motivational and measurable is one aspect where health and fitness technologies can really support their users.

What will we read about Trackbar in 2023?
We will read a lot about expansion, new markets, and new partnerships. At Trackbar, we will continue to develop the products we love and make the experience in the software even more awesome.