Health

GAIN launches ‘iTunes for fitness’ to whip users into shape

GAIN Fitness iTunes for Fitness screen shotI got creative with my fitness in Thailand, cobbling together home routines based on my personal preferences and minimal amount of expertise.

Popular exercise app GAIN Fitness today launched its “digital trainer store” to provide professionally-designed, customizable workouts to people exercising at home. The company is taking an “iTunes for Fitness” approach by offering separate workout packs within the platform. Today, it features 8 options and plans to release a new one each month.

Always eager to test products that can mix up my usual regimen, I headed over to the GAIN Fitness office for a demo. They told me to wear my gym clothes and come ready to sweat. I initially thought that we would start off with an introductory chat, but CEO Gammell was ready to go. He opened GAIN on his iPhone and handed me the device.

I was prompted by a questions about my personal physical fitness and goals. I indicated that I wanted a 15 minute workout geared towards health & longevity, had no equipment, and wanted to focus on my core. The app then pulls up exercise plans that fit those criteria and the user can mix and match to build their own workout. Nick and I chose to start out with an intense “Road Warrior” set, followed by a core-strengthening pilates circuit, and ending with a yoga routine.

I like to think I am physically fit. I exercise almost every day and do a range of activities. However, 2 minutes into road warrior, I was already feeling the burn. I couldn’t meet my initial target of 20 push-ups, but I entered that into the system to adapt accordingly. For the next round of push-ups, the app cued me to do a more feasible, but still challenging, 15. GAIN provides tracking and analytics so people can see their work units, calories burned, and progress over time.

Data is a big focus for Gammell. After growing up as a tri-sport athlete, he struggled to maintain a regular workout schedule while working as a management consultant for Deloitte. He worked nights and weekends to build a product that leveraged exercise science, mobile technology, and data analytics to help people achieve their fitness goals. The app combines content created by technology experts with proprietary algorithms that pull up exercises that match your criteria. For free, users can access 350 different exercises that are able to build hundreds of thousands of different workouts and access data about their efforts.

“I wanted to build technology that takes away pen-and-paper aspect of planning a fitness routine,” he said, during our water break. “I wanted a fitness routine customized to my real time situation that considered what I did two days ago, what my overall goal is, and what I like to do. You can get a super efficient workout in a short period of time, as long as you know what to do.”

Today with the launch of the store, users can buy apps specifically developed and produced for GAIN with content that includes weight-lifting, bodyweight training, yoga, cross-training, sport-specific training, pilates, and even ‘circus arts.’ The app has audio cues, so you know when to stop, and includes useful features like scheduling and social sharing.

“Every fitness program out there wants to claim to be the end-all-be-all, but in reality, it is important to understand your own body, your goals, your lifestyle, and get a workout program tailored to that. How to do this is beyond the fitness understanding of a majority of people.”

Gammell said that technology is one of the contributors to America’s obesity epidemic because it encourages people to live sedentary lifestyles. He wants to turn that around and use technology to encourage healthy habits. With the popularity of the Quantified Self movement, consumers are taking an interest in their body’s mechanics and using that as a guiding force.

Devices like the FuelBand, Jawbone UP, and Fitbit monitor your physical activity, while apps like RunKeeper and MapMyFitness track your performance over time. Services like Wello link exercisers to personal trainers via live video feeds, and then there are apps closer to GAIN’s option like iPersonalTrainer and Skimble.

Needless to say it is a crowded space, but the first trainer apps were well-received by GAIN’s users. The company has seen significant growth and Gammell believes these partnerships with top trainers and fitness brands will help the company grow even more.

GAIN Fitness is based in San Francisco and raised $1 million in 2012 from Keith Rabois, Ben Ling, and InterWest partners.