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Apple's GymKit arrives in Hong Kong and Japan with Life Fitness integration

Apple's slow GymKit rollout continued this month with new integrations in Hong Kong and Japan, where Apple Watch users can now share workout data with cardio equipment made by Life Fitness.




Announced last week, Pure Fitness of Hong Kong and Anytime Fitness in Japan installed Life Fitness machines compatible with the Apple Watch data sharing platform. The two clubs are the first in the region to feature GymKit support, according to Life Fitness.

"There are nearly 1 billion workouts per year on our cardio machines across the globe, and we know that exercisers want workouts that are personalized, motivating and with easy data tracking to drive better outcomes," said Jaime Irick, president of Life Fitness.

With GymKit, users can tap their Apple Watch on a compatible machine to enable a two-way sync of data that includes distance, speed, workout incline and an estimate of calories burned. Bluetooth and NFC communication technologies are used to share data between Apple's wearable and stationary equipment, the goal being a more accurate representation of tracked workouts.

For example, Apple Watch contains a barometric sensor to detect inclines and declines, stairs climbed and altitude, data that informs Apple's specialized workout algorithms. That information is lost when working out on equipment like treadmills and stair-steppers that merely simulate inclines and other conditions.

GymKit was announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference last year and rolled out with watchOS 4.1 in October.

Fitness clubs in Australia were the first to gain access to GymKit equipment in November, while a UK rollout followed a month later. It was also in December that users in the U.S. gained access to the technology thanks to integration at Life Time Athletic in New York.

In addition to Life Fitness equipment, manufacturers Matrix, StairMaster, Schwinn and TechnoGym support GymKit in select machines. Earlier today, TechnoGym in an announcement said it has deployed more than 5,000 GymKit-compatible machines at hundreds of clubs around the world.