I told you so: Training data to your iPod


“Treadmill” by maHidoodi

Nike reports that Apple and Nike teams up with health clubs and gym equipment manufacturers:

Nike and Apple are working with major gym equipment manufacturers such as Life Fitness, Precor, Star Trac and Technogym to make their cardio equipment Nike + iPod compatible so health club members can easily track workouts on cardio equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes and stair climbers. Nike + iPod users will simply plug in their iPod nano into the equipment at the start of their workout to automatically record their progress. Users can then connect their iPod with their computer to upload the workout to www.nikeplus.com.

This is great news, and something I predicted three years ago (March 2005), in a post called “Running and training online” on my Mac-site brilliantdays.com:

It defines what kind of training I’m doing (weight loss, muscles etc.), what kind of the body the exercise is for (lifting weights trains the biceps etc.), how many repetitions or how far (12,4 kms on the bicycle), and with what “weigth” (which gear on the bicycle, how many kilos lifted etc). It’s like MIDI for exercise. This way, different producers of training equipment could hook up to the same standard, and people could move their data with them. Software makers could make software that reads the data from the digital IDs or the websites, so people could use their data at home, analyze them, publish them.

A good start – but still work to do!

The Nike/Apple project does not go all the way. They still lock your data to iPod and Nike’s training website nikeplus.com. But it’s a huge step in the right direction, and I can’t wait to see how this is implemented.

The next steps for Nike and Apple should be:

1) Open the format for other manufacturers of small gadgets. I want GPS with my running data. And heart rate.

2) Make the data exportable from nikeplus or iTunes to other training sites, like gymnee and traineo.

3) Make the format a real-time format: Training equipment should be able to send the data to other “gadgets”, both the iPod, game consoles and other equipment.

4) Contact game developers for Xbox360, PS3 and Wii to make them compatible with the format. Running the treadmill is boooooring…

Who is in?

The list of manufacturers is impressive, with both Life Fitness, Precor, Star Trac and Technogym on the project. If you live in Norway, both S.A.T.S and Elixia, the two biggest groups of health clubs, use Technogym.