If you own an Apple Watch, you may already be motivated to go to the gym thanks to the watch’s various fitness features, including heart rate monitoring and automatic exercise detection. However, Apple is planning to incentivize owners of the Apple Watch even further by partnering with gyms to offer perks like discounted membership fees and even gift cards for frequent visitors of the gym. Apple’s plan is called “Apple Watch Connected,” and in order for a gym to partner with Apple under this plan, they need to meet a set of standards set by the technology company. In order for a gym to be granted Apple Watch Connected branding, it’ll need to offer four things: an iPhone and Apple Watch app that presents information like class times; Apple Pay support; perks like membership discounts for Apple Watch users; and equipment that supports GymKit, a system Apple uses to sync Apple Watch data with machines like treadmills and ellipticals.
The partnership should improve the gym-going experience for Apple Watch users, who already enjoy the benefits of continuous heart rate tracking and tracking of other statistics while working out. By using a treadmill that supports GymKit, for instance, gym members can record exact data about their distance and speed while walking or running. The partnership should also encourage more gyms to develop their own apps, which should improve the workout experience for technology fans. In theory, the partnership should benefit Apple as it should expand the number of gyms that support its products, but also the gyms themselves, as the partnership could help them attract and keep customers.
As of today, four gyms have already announced their participation in the Apple Watch Connected program, which are YMCA, Crunch Fitness, Basecamp Fitness, and Orange Theory. Initially, the program will only apple to select locations, but Apple hopes to expand its network of participating partners as time goes on. The perks that are offered to Apple Watch customers varies by gym; Crunch Fitness offers membership discounts to regular visitors; Orange Theory is offering gift cards; and the YMCA will donate classes to kids. Apple recognizes that one of the primary appeals of the Apple Watch to consumers is its ability to function as a fitness device, and seeks to capitalize on this demand by giving its customers as many reasons to visit the gym as possible.