Startup puts personal trainer in your smartphone

January 25, 2013 10:39:50 PM PST
A San Francisco startup wants to help you keep your fitness goals by putting a real, live personal trainer in your pocket.

If you ever wondered what happens when you put jocks and nerds together in the same office, you get something like gain fitness -- an iPhone app designed to replicate down to the finest detail The experience of working out with a personal trainer.

"It's sort of this sense that I've got someone here with me, they're coaching me through it, they're making my form better," Gain Fitness founder and CEO Nicholas Gammell said.

Gammell is an engineer and former football player. He set out to build the app for himself, so he could stay in shape while traveling for business.

A year and a half later, the app now has eight trainers you can buy and download, for $1-$7 with styles ranging from circus arts to yoga.

The app uses a trainer's pre-recorded voice to give you encouragement during your workout, and also to tell you when that 45 seconds of rest is over. Meaning if you actually listen, the pain will be over more quickly.

"You know a real trainer talks to you in a pretty normal flowing kind of a way, getting an app to do that is kind of tricky," lead iPhone developer Patrick Barry said.

That's where the nerds come in -- turning real human trainers into thousands of lines of code that come up with smart workouts based on your goals and then walk you through them as if the trainer were actually there.

"We actually record the trainer saying the same cue, maybe keep your back straight, 2-3 times, so it comes off a little different, it doesn't feel robotic, it doesn't feel unnatural," Barry said.

And if you don't think an iPhone can make you sweat, just ask former wrestler and pole vaulter Sam Goldstein.

"I was testing in the office the other day and after 13 minutes of testing this workout, I was just drenched and spent, it was awesome," he said.

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