Recently I went to the launch of MYZONE, a really exciting new way of measuring exercise, which can already be found in several gym chains (and is being rolled out across lots more). MYZONE’s strapline is “making movement measurable”, and that’s exactly what it does. You wear what appears to be a heart-rate monitor strap around your chest and… that’s it. No watch, no USB stick (just as well, since I always lose those and never remember which one is for my Garmin), no faff. Just the chest strap.
The idea is that gyms, or workplaces, sign up to the MYZONE system, and members then get access to MYZONE. You’d then register your belt to the MYZONE cloud and, whenever you’re in the gym (or wherever your MYZONE “hub” happens to be), the info stored in your belt is uploaded to the cloud.
So, what does MYZONE measure, exactly? After all, haven’t we already got pedometers, heart rate monitors and all manner of sat-nav based systems?
MYZONE has developed MEPs (MYZONE Effort Points) as a metric for measuring activity. MYZONE users gain MEPs by spending time in the five effort/intensity zones, which are initially set based on each person’s maximum heart rate. The more effort you put in, the more points you earn. But a long walk would soon boost your points, too. And that’s the point: the MYZONE system measures everything, whether you’re in the gym or not. For people with coaches and PTs, this enables your PT to get a true look at what you’re up to in all those training hours when they’re not there with you.
As well as the MEPs, MYZONE calculates calories burned, duration and time of activity. Every time you’re in the gym, you pop on bioimpedence scales, and your account is updated with weight, muscle mass, body water %, metabolic age, body fat % and other important values.
All of this automatically get recorded on your own online account, and all you have do to is “clock in”. No fiddling about with synching things or finding a USB stick and charging various bits of kit up all the time.
The chest strap stores hours and hours of data, enough that you could go on holiday for a fortnight and have all your data safely stored ready to upload when you get back. You can log in to see your account anywhere in the world.
For coaches/PTs, it’s a great system for gaining a truly valuable insight into your clients’ progress 24/7. For gyms, it’s a great USP, creating a real sense of community and giving you a differentiator. For workplaces, it’s a brilliant employee benefit and shows dedication to the whole employee wellness thing.
As for me, I hopped on a spin bike at the press launch and got to see how the system would look in a gym setting. Only the MYZONE participants who were “in the building” were shown on the big screen, so I could see how hard the people on the bikes next to me were working, and which colour zone we were all in. It creates a really good sense of camaraderie, competition and community. I really wish my gym was signed up! Maybe one day :) In the meantime, watch out for MYZONE coming to a gym (or, if you’re really lucky, an employer) near you. I’ve a feeling it’s going to be big!
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.