| Home > Features > MYTRAK page 1
Ontario Racquet Club Offers Exercisers Instant Feedback with MYTRAK
A user-friendly display that gives instantaneous feedback on heart rate and level of exertion, will soon be as common in health clubs as treadmills are today.
by Al Valente
Why significant? Baby boomers and deconditioned exercisers need continual feedback and non-intimidating data in order to adhere to their exercise routines. Without it they will prematurely drop out of exercise programs due to lack of visible external progress.
Demographic segment targeted: Useful to all ages and both genders, but particularly beneficial to newcomers who don't understand exercise. Boomers will greatly benefit.
Revenue enhancement: A subscription service that is easily controlled by the simple issuance of an ID wristband. There is also a benefit in conjunction with personal training. Trainers can offer a value-added service where they interpret the captured exercise data on a periodic basis.
Investment / Cost: Rapid payback if a club charges a nominal fee for the use of the service.
Attraction of New Members: A great way to attract beginners to multipurpose gyms by giving them a concrete measure of what they have accomplished, also an ideal way for hydraulic clubs to attract members.
Retention of Existing Members: Absolutely critical for that first 3-4 months after taking up exercise when all the results are on the inside of the body and not visible on the outside.
With the target population of health clubs shifting away from the over-
saturated twenty and thirty-something "hard bodies" to the baby boomers and deconditioned, the mantra of fitness is about to take a major shift from "The pain is the gain" or "Burn, baby, burn" to a new one, a sign of the new times, "Go for Green."
Yes, the health club industry is on the cusp of change. No, not the continuous change that has been the mainstay for last decade, but a truly discontinuous change, one that will send the industry off in a whole new direction. This change will have technology provide continuous real time feedback and recorded data for every user on every piece of equipment, completely automatically.
The Ontario Racquet Club in Mississauga is the first health club to deploy MYTRAK, an outstanding informational and feedback layer, to its strength training machines. According to Jeff McCarrol, General Manger, "We installed MYTRAK in the main fitness area, just to start with. We put it on 12 pieces of our latest line of Life Fitness selectorized machines." MYTRAK appealed to McCarrol instantly because the feedback is highly personalized to each user, regardless of whether they are a beginner or an elite athlete. He added, "Members have shown a lot of interest right off the bat, wondering what it is, what it can do."
Discontinuous Change in the Fitness Industry
For the past 10 years, most of the changes in the fitness industry have been in the form of continuous improvement; the Japanese call it "kaizen". The props in the group fitness room may change, but they are really just different devices to step on or different shaped weights to lift and move. It' s just like dance - it's been around for years, but the choreography keeps changing.
The last major shift in fitness occurred in the mid-nineties when a sincere effort was made to simplify exercise for the deconditioned market and the hydraulic circuit training industry was born. Finally the un-fit market had a place to go where they felt comfortable and could achieve results, and they came in droves.
With the rollout of MYTRAK, we're about to enter the information age of fitness for the masses. And because it's so affordable and the benefits are so compelling, MYTRAK will soon be as ubiquitous in gyms as treadmills.
The Information Age Comes to Fitness
MYTRAK diverges from previous product development with its emphasis on biomechanics, per se, and offers an empowering information layer to any existing exercise machine. It's a computer- based system, with one part worn by the person, and the other part attached to exercise equipment and communicating with a central computer.
Suddenly new exercisers don't need a degree in kinesiology to know how to get results. The immediate, intuitive feedback of the system communicates via red, yellow, or green lights. What could be simpler?
MYTRAK uses a prescribed heart rate and exertion level for a particular individual on a particular machine. All the exerciser has to do is keep the lights green and voilà, they're at their most optimal point.
|McCarrol adds, "That's what they're looking for, feedback. Feedback is what keeps people coming back to the club and keeps them going. One of the biggest problems in our industry is that members have these goals and ideas, but then they get fed up, they don't see results and then they're gone…MYTRAK solves that!"
The Ontario Racquet Club Leads the Way
The Ontario Racquet Club has proven itself to be a leader in the industry. After 30 years in business, the 120,000 ft² multi-purpose club just completed a $4.5 million expansion that added another 20,000 ft² to the club. One of its new innovations was a club within a club, a women-only club that they call "Fit For Her." The club's most recent innovation was the installation of MYTRAK.
It started when McCarrol heard rumors that a simple color-coded feedback mechanism was being developed and inquired further. As are most club managers, McCarroll was constantly on the lookout for new ways to keep his members motivated and to help them adhere to their exercise programs. He summarized:
"We wanted to be able to track our members, monitor them, and show them progress reports and results, and MYTRAK did that and a lot more. The interesting component was that other similar products on the market just focus on the piece of equipment and report only on that one component, this does everything.
Go For Green
With MYTRAK, an exerciser needs only to know how to make the lights glow green.
For each piece of exercise equipment, MYTRAK displays two sets of lights, one for heart rate monitoring and the other for the force the person generates. (In addition, there's also a range of motion indicator).
The user's objective is to activate and maintain the green lights for both heart rate and physical exertion. An internal computer continuously tracks and collects data from sensors mounted to the exercise system's resistance mechanism. It instantaneously collects this data, calculates exercise exertion, tracks time, velocity, acceleration, load, power, energy and automatically provides the user with instant feedback on their workout via the lights.
Red: Training intensity is way too low, increase it
Yellow: Approaching your prescribed level
Green: Ideal, maintain this level
Flashing Red: Too hard, back off your intensity
At the end of the workout, all this data is sent directly to the club's main computer for further analysis and storage.
According to its inventor, "It's measuring the human exertion, but it's also comparing it to the expected goal of that member. When we say 'go for green', practically every member will be able to go for the green regardless of their physical condition, and regardless whether they're a beginner or advanced trainer."