From virtual reality experiences to data-driven tracking, these high-tech workouts are taking it up a notch.
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There's no shortage of ways to incorporate technology into your workout, from trackers and apps to high-end body analysis tools and even Workout Clothes That Double As Wearable Tech, but some studios are taking thing to a whole other level, bringing technology to their classes in unique ways. Ready for a high-tech workout? These gyms deliver.
CUTT at Crunch gyms
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The Crunch Ultimate Team Training program—rolling out in select Crunch gyms this year—is like going to a boutique fitness studio inside your big-box gym. The small-group program is all about heart rate based training. When you sign up, you'll get your own heart rate monitor chest strap that hooks up to a computer screen at the front of the room and shows your heart rate zone throughout the workout. You'll use props like kettlebells, slam balls, the agility ladder, and more as you move through the 50-minute bootcamp style workout. The trainer will push you to get in the right heart rate zone, even monitoring how long it takes you to recover and bring your heart rate back down. Compete with others for the highest "Sweat Score," or try to beat your own previous score. After class, you'll get an email with your stats from the workout.
Asphalt Green's AG6 class
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Lots of people have tried to gamify fitness (see: Zombies, Run!), but fitness club Asphalt Green in New York City may have finally nailed it. Their newest class, AG6, uses PRAMA, an interactive fitness system founded in Spain that basically turns the workout studio into a smart room, with pressure sensitive walls and floors with integrated LED lights and sounds. The 45-minute high-intensity class focuses on endurance, strength, balance, speed, agility, reaction time—but you'll feel more like you're in a video game as you work your way around the room completing different challenges and watching the studio come alive.
Photo: Asphalt Green
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Michigan-based Syphus Training uses statistics to get you in better shape. In each class, you have one hour to complete a series of tasks. You're scored on the difficulty of the tasks and the speed in which you complete them for a final score that's logged into the system to help you track your progress, compete against other people and even compete against other gyms (there are five locations). Trainers use your scores to help them understand where you are with your fitness level, how you're improving, and to help motivate you to be your best.
Photo: Syphus Training
Les Mills' The Trip
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Sometimes a spin class can feel as monotonous as an hour on the treadmill, but Les Mills immersive fitness programs are trying to turn your average cycling session into a journey. Their futuristic class, The Trip, takes place in a spin studio with a giant screen in the front of the room to create a virtual reality-like experience. The "road" ahead of you will move and turn as you cycle, making it feel less like you're in a dark room surrounded by strangers and more like you're playing Mario Kart, riding through uncharted territory. The class is currently available at 24 Fitness in Santa Monica and TMPL in New York City, with more locations coming soon to big gyms around the country.
Photo: Les Mills
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How do you make a boxing workout even more badass? Add in data. Instead of shadowboxing or punching a typical bag, Pact Park in New York City uses Nexersys machines, which calculate strike, accuracy, and power, so you get real-time feedback in class. The machine has seven padded targets so you know exactly where to kick and you don't need to worry about a swinging bag. The only bummer? You can't fake a hard strike in this high-intensity MMA style class!
Photo: Pact Park