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​The Battle Between Built-In and Portable Fitness Programs

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Sometime around the year 2000, fitness equipment manufacturers realized that to sell more, they needed to offer the latest technology that distinguished the latest model from previous models and established the newest models as the best. In this way, they started doing much of what the automobile industry has done for decades. Thus, the trend of building in capabilities such as exercise programs and various new measurements took hold. The attraction to buyers was to really have the latest and best equipment that really could help get better workouts.

This progress was not lost on new companies that sought, in various forms, to combine wearable fitness measurement with other portable technology such as iPhones. The advantage of these portable devices was that whatever results or other uses you were tracking while off your exercise machine you could also track on your machine. Thus, the lines were drawn for users attention and dollars: built-in to the exercise machine or brought to the machine by its user.

A key feature offered by both alternatives is the ability to store results and share it with anonymous others for comparison and competitive purposes. Such sharing can create a momentum and community that can help users stick to their routines. This feature has been promoted widely in health clubs, as well as in home equipment, such as treadmills and elliptical machines.

So which way is winning? With the spectacular adoption of smart phones with apps for a wide variety of purposes, it seems that those people likely to be attracted to such capabilities are already comfortable with downloading apps and using them through their phones. Thus, the latest home models have both built-in capabilities, as well as those that accommodate the user’s own electronics. This adaptability runs from a simple shelf to hold an iPad to a plugin capability to permit the built-in capabilities to display on the user’s own smart phone.

Where will all this go? Stay tuned for the latest developments!

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