Ever Needed Motivation to Work Out?

Has something gotten you down in the dumps? Have you been struggling to go to the gym on a regular basis? Or even at all? I have the perfect solution for you!

 

Gym or Game, or Both?

Working out can be considered an arduous chore, but it really should not be. Technology has enabled working out to be an exciting and enjoyable activity, as seen recently in New York. A new gym in Upper East Side and Battery Park City, named Asphalt Green has transformed what it means to get a great workout by really taking the emphasis off of working out. Their class AG6 resembles an arcade with flashy, changing, bright colors and huge shapes that react upon touch. Technology has made this transformation possible by integrating interactive touch floors and walls.  

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Named AG6 for the first letters of the gym name Asphalt Green and 6 for your sixth athletic sense, the class is a 45 minute, high intensity circuit training that focuses on measuring your strength and agility. Customers follow along by reacting quickly to randomly programmed LED lights embedded in the walls that respond to touch. This idea trains people to develop reflexes and muscle memory to result in a satisfying workout and heightened athletic abilities. Many plyometric exercises are built into the design of the entire gym, allowing gym members to experience a full workout. This class is so unique and beneficial in that it is fully customizable to cater to what the customer wants to improve upon. If the user wants to build stamina versus performing well in quick bursts, the LED system will be adjustable and can be programmed to set up certain movements that would serve to the user’s main interest.

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The Concept of Gamification

In the broader context, AG6 is a product of gamification. Gamification, a term that describes introducing game-design elements and principles into traditionally non-game contexts, has always been prevalent in the health arena. A common example that took the world over by storm upon its launch was Wii Sports, which allowed the user to physically mimic playing sports while tracking the user’s movements. Other ubiquitous examples include health/fitness apps that can be easily accessed on one’s smart phone, such as Dacadoo or SuperBetter. Dacadoo provides their users with a “health score” by incorporating every aspect of the user’s life into a score between 1 and 1000. Incorporated into this health score feature is the ability for the user to be quizzed on nutrition facts to encourage users to eat healthier. Creators of Dacadoo believe that users become competitive and want to set a new PR daily, motivating them to eat healthier, sleep more, exercise frequently, and increase their overall well-being.

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SuperBetter works in similar ways to Dacadoo, allowing users to complete “quests” and ultimately finishing a personalized challenge. (You can actually try playing SuperBetter right now: https://www.superbetter.com.) The UIUX is quite dramatic and places the user in situations to do thirty push ups and fifteen jumping jacks to get over the quest. In a study done by the University of Pennsylvania, it was concluded that playing SuperBetter for 30 days “improves mood, reduces symptoms of anxiety & depression and increases belief in the ability to successfully achieve goals” (SuperBetter).

 

Additionally, holistic gamification research has shown that there are notable positive effects, especially in the areas of motivation and enjoyment, thereby leading to increased perseverance. Many reviews for Asphalt Green’s AG6 echo similar sentiments, reporting that users were sore many days following their workout because all of them were incredibly focused and competitive among other members.

 

Health and Fitness Industry

The health and fitness industry is a hugely hot and growing industry. The idea of fitness is in right now with social media being flooded with workout videos. The new sexy, or basic to say the least, is to have a bonzai bowl with kale and veggies with a pumpkin spiced latte on the side. In 2014, over 54 million Americans paid gym membership feed in the United States. Memberships have grown 18.6% from 2008 to 2014, and growing even more in the past year. In the United States, there were a total of 34,000 fitness centers in 2014, which showed a significant increase since the past year. This industry has been growing through every business line and will continue to grow with the popularity and drive of social media.

 

Other Notable Examples

  • The Smart Jump Rope by Tangram Factory – This jump rope is embedded with LED lights that show the number of reps while you are jumping.
  • HyperAdapt 1.0 by Nike – The first sneaker to be able to tie your laces automatically and fit to your feet for ultimate comfort.
  • Spandex Leggings by Athos – Athos provides athletic clothing that is able to collect data and micro target any problem for improvements.

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Technology companies have definitely seen the opportunity and potential in gamification, which is a testament to the industry’s adoption of digital components in every facet. It is promising to see that exercising can be integrated with video games and technology in an exciting and motivating way. Since I will be visiting New York for a friend’s birthday in a few weeks, I will be sure to try out AG6 and perhaps write a blog on my experience.

 

8 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your article this week. I am from NYC and I have heard about AG6. I have not taken a class but know people that have. I know that technology and social media have definitely influenced the work out world and have given our society a different look on working out. I know you mentioned gamification and how AG6 really strives to make the work outs not focus on working out which I feel will motivate many people to get involved.

  2. I really enjoyed reading your post. Gamification is an interesting topic- particularly around working out and physical exercise. I wonder how this impacts the type of person who uses exercise as a way to get away from technology and media, rather than get more engrossed into it. However, I do believe that this will have the potential to expand the fitness industry even more than it has already. Based on the information on AG6, it seems like the potential is endless. Furthermore, the other notable examples that you provide are quite mind-blowing… spandex that provide detailed data on how to improve or a jump rope that counts your reps?? all amazing what people can do with technology. It seems like running outside and enjoying your environment is no longer enough! It will be interesting to see how this impacts group classes as well- if people are able to leverage things like LED jumpropes- people may opt for that solo workout rather than in a class setting.

  3. cattybradley · ·

    I think the influence of gamification on the health/fitness industry is large and growing. Over the past few years with the introductions of Fitbits, multiple health apps, etc the whole healthy lifestyle has turned into a game. I get competitive about getting my 10,000 steps in every day solely because of my data showing me that I haven’t reached my goal. I think it is so cool to see the gamification move into a physical workout space at Asphalt Green and Six. The videos make it look super engaging and I am sure the competitive aspect pushes participants. I am looking forward to seeing how this movement spreads, especially in the outdoor space.

  4. adamsmea89 · ·

    This was a great post, I had not heard of AG6 before reading this post. I think that anything that can be done to motivate people to be more active, eat healthier, and sleep more is a great thing. However, it does seem like a lot of different platforms have emerged that claim to be equivalent to a “work out” but do not really compare to going for a run, or swimming laps in a pool, or taking a spin class. As long as people are aware that things like Wii Fit are great for you mentally, which can then help you physically I think it is beneficial, but it should not be a replacement for all other physical activity. With that being said, I would definitely try AG6 next time I am in NYC!

  5. Very interesting post. We have been using gamification across my company for things like training and sales for sometime, but I love the approach to gamifying fitness and think a lot of companies are doing this very well. Your AG6 example just looks like a lot of fun! Gym class, but way better :o)

    I have also been a Fitbit user for a number of years now and find that competing with friends is a great way to motivate a group. We’re also seeing this with the raise of fitness challenge and people’s (especially millennials) desire to compete.

    I actually just found out about Moov (http://welcome.moov.cc/). They are looking to provide real-time feedback on fast paced workouts and just received $12M in series B funding.

  6. fernaneq4 · ·

    In my opinion, if workout classes or gyms don’t embrace technology they won’t last in the future. I go to Flywheel and EVERYTHING is through technology. I purchase my classes through the app, I then view the schedule and reserve the individual bike that I will ride on (I do have a preference to be closer to the door so I can fight for a good shower spot following the class), following the class I can not only review my instructor but I can see all my statistics for the class. I can then compare my stats (distance, resistance, calories burned etc.) to myself from past classes AND to the national averages of people my age, weight and height. It truly tracks everything and not only pushes me to do better in my workouts but allows me to really become educated on my fitness. AG6, fitbit and apps like these are the future to working out. Great post!

  7. Tyler O'Neill · ·

    I really enjoyed your post! It’s interesting that the fitness industry has benefitted from turning the polarizing activity of working out into a game. Your post made me consider how other industries may be able to benefit from implementing games to make the users’ experience more fun and entertaining. Additionally, it’s fascinating that Super Better is able to have such a profound impact on the lives of people simply by tracking their success in meeting workout goals. With a growing trend of health and fitness in America, alongside new developments in technology, it will be interesting to see how the fitness industry has been changed from technology 5 to 10 years from now.

  8. Nice post. Glad to see technology is helping get people more active. That’s one of the real benefits of small, cheaper, more immersive technologies.

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