No chip, no gain

Just when you thought it was safe to sneak out of the health club, leaving your New Year’s resolution behind, technology has stepped in to block the exits.

FitLinxx has developed a system that monitors your overall progress as well as your form on individual weight machines. Users log in at a kiosk, where they can view their personal information and the day’s workout. They then goes to the first weight machine, which has a small monitor attached to it. After entering a password, the amount of weight and the number of repetitions is displayed.

The screen will alert the user if he or she is going too fast, has the wrong amount of weight or is not doing the proper range of motion — all of which are personalized by the trainer.

“It has the same impact as having a human trainer watching and giving instant feedback,” says John Colbert, director of product marketing for FitLinxx. “This system does not replace human trainers, it enhances their relationship with the customers.”

New users go through the typical orientation process with the trainer. Instructions are given on how to use the computer system and the equipment, and a program is developed that will help achieve fitness goals. That information is entered into the computer and the person is ready to begin.

Trainers can spend more time explaining the benefits and nuances of each exercise, rather than counting reps — a chore now handled by the computer. Exercisers have access to their information and can monitor their progress.

Most health clubs see a 50 percent dropout rate of new members each year. With FitLinxx, the computer will warn trainers when a person is skipping workouts or has stopped coming all together, allowing them to intervene to keep the person on track. For a club owner, a 1 percentage point difference in membership can result in $50,000 in revenues. How to reach: FitLinxx, at or (800) 410-1110

Three phases of exercise

0 to 3 months The person is new to exercise and probably not familiar with the equipment. He or she can be intimidated by the spandex and banging weight plates that fill the facility, needs a lot of attention and may be too embarrassed to ask questions.

3 to 6 months The program may need some fine tuning. A facility with FitLinxx would have the computer identifying members in danger of quitting their exercise programs. The trainer can intervene to get them back on track.

6 months and beyond If someone makes it this far, he or she is starting to change lifestyles. The person may need extra motivations to keep exercising and some form of competition to keep going.

Source: FitLinxx