At Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) in Newtown, Penn., a member runs on a Technogym treadmill. A USB device, called a “SmartKey,” tracks the member’s progress, including how long they ran, how many miles they completed and how many calories they burned. The member is participating in Newtown’s “TechnoFit” program — a program that uses the Technogym SmartKey to track members’ workouts and provide them with customized exercise plans and feedback. The TechnoFit program is held in a specialized fitness area within NAC that exclusively features Technogym equipment.
The SmartKey, along with uniquely designing a workout for each member, is a complex program that records members’ past workout information and provides them with comprehensive trainer feedback. Upon entering the room, each member checks in using their SmartKey, plugs the key into every piece of equipment they use, and checks out at the completion of their workout — this allows NAC to track how many members use the equipment and in what way.
Under the direction of Steve DeAngelis, the TechnoFit director at Newtown Athletic Club, the club has seen an increase in visits to the Technogym area by more than 366 percent over the last two years. Two years ago, 900 members visited a month, and Newtown now averages 4,000 visits per month. “The club wanted to do something different,” explained DeAngelis. “We wanted to design a way to track workouts for members and SmartKey was a great way to track and follow up with members.”
DeAngelis promotes the program by hosting fitness challenges. Each month a “TechnoFittest of the Month” award is given to the TechnoFit participant who showed the most dedication — tracked by the SmartKey. Winners’ pictures are framed and posted on the TechnoFit area wall, with their accomplishments displayed alongside. DeAngelis uses the challenges and awards as motivation for members. “It’s a fun environment,” he said. “I try to make it a friendly atmosphere.”
Each member at NAC receives a complimentary SmartKey. According to DeAngelis, the TechnoFit program is ideal for those who need structured routines. “It’s a more controlled environment,” said DeAngelis. “It’s great for the 50 to 70-year-old demographic or someone who is new to a gym — it’s like a club within a club. It’s foolproof and very structured.”
Although the SmartKey is there to instruct members on what exercises they should do, DeAngelis is always there to answer any questions they may have. “They really like the fact that I’m there a good portion of the week, so when they have questions they have answers,” he said.
“Steve has taken our TechnoFit area to a completely new level of success and it is largely because of the TechnoFit tracking technology combined with his dogged determination to get people involved,” said Linda Mitchell, the director of marketing and PR for Newtown. “Steve is the perfect blend of charm and determination that engages our members almost without their knowing that he is pushing them to better themselves through a total commitment to the program.”
By Rachel Zabonick