You Can Now Earn Perks Just for Working Out with This New Apple Watch Program
Gym membership discounts, Apple and Nike gift cards, and the opportunity to earn back the full cost of your Apple Watch? Sign. Us. Up.
If you already own a fitness tracker, chances are, you know how practical it is for exercising outdoors, going for a run, and hiking. But, if you don't have the luxury or convenience of getting outside and have to sneak in a workout when you can (lunch break sweat sesh, anyone?), a visit to your local gym or boutique studio is likely in the cards. And, let's be honest, using the data from a wrist-worn tracker while using gym equipment like a stair-climber can get tricky since the barometer in your tracker can't detect actual steps since you're not technically gaining altitude. *Sigh.*
Well, Apple is now providing Apple Watch wearers a way to improve fitness tracking at the gym or in a studio with the launch of Apple Watch Connected. The brand is helping to bridge the gap between life inside and outside of the gym by partnering with four fitness chains—including Orangetheory, Basecamp Fitness, YMCA, and Crunch Fitness—to offer customers more accurate ways to track workouts with their Apple watches, as well as real-life rewards for meeting fitness goals. (Related: The Best Fitness Tracker for Your Personality)
“We’re thrilled innovative and progressive health clubs and gyms are putting Apple Watch at the center of their digital ecosystem through the new Apple Watch Connected program," said Jay Blahnik, senior director of fitness technologies at Apple, in a press release. "Apple Watch continues to help people live a better day by being more active and this deep integration with the device offers members an unparalleled gym-going experience.”
So, how exactly does Apple Watch Connected work, exactly? And how can you cash in on these perks? First, the participating gyms offer three things: an app for iPhones and Apple Watches, support for Apple Pay (so you can buy water, snacks, a new membership, etc, on the spot), and an "Earn with Watch" incentive program that rewards wearers who meet their goals with perks, like membership discounts and free swag. A fourth offering is that some of these gyms will also have fitness equipment that supports GymKit, so that you can wirelessly sync your Apple Watch directly with treadmills, ellipticals, StairMasters, and other equipment to more accurately log your workouts. But the best thing about GymKit? Not only do the cardio machines share data directly with your Apple watch (think: calories, distance, speed, and pace), so there are no discrepancies in information, but you're now also able to track your elevation gains on the treadmill when you tackle an incline and even flights climbed with a stair-stepper. (Related: 3 Ways Apple GymKit Can Boost Your Workout)
Each of the gyms partnering with Apple have the freedom to choose their own fitness goals, and they are meant to be challenging yet realistic enough for members to actually achieve. Rewards for crushing your goals vary from discounts on gym membership fees to essentially earning back the cost of your Apple Watch.
Crunch gym-goers can earn a deduction in their membership dues, up to $300 over two years; at Orangetheory, members can earn Nike and Apple gift cards; in the case of Basecamp, members receive an Apple Watch Series 5 upfront and if they attend three classes a week for a year, they can earn back the cost of the watch or at least a portion of it; YMCA members can feel good about their health challenge earnings going toward community initiatives, such as the children's swim program. (Related: What My Apple Watch Taught Me About My Yoga Practice)
Don't own a fitness tracker, but thinking about investing in one? The Apple Watch Series 5 should definitely be a contender. In addition to chatting with friends, tracking workouts, streaming music, and being able to measure your heart rhythm with an EKG or ECG test, the Apple Watch Series 5 (from $384; amazon.com and apple.com) boasts some pretty amazing features like cycle tracking (never forget the first day of your last period again), a built-in compass to track longitude, latitude, and elevation, and an always-on screen so you don't have to pause your workout to check your stats in real-time.
It's now easier than ever to pick a gym or fitness studio where you can make the most of your Apple Watch—all while earning some pretty incredible rewards. If being able to super accurately track your workouts (and not just the calories you're burning) isn't enough of an incentive, you can now get perks just for working out. Seriously, though, what will Apple think of next?