Apple leverages NFC to deliver exclusive rewards to Apple Watch gym users

Apple Watch Connected app with cycle tracking
NFC-ENABLED: The Apple Watch Connected gym program provides exclusive rewards

Apple has introduced a new Apple Watch Connected gym program that provides users with exclusive rewards at gyms that make use of the wearable device’s NFC payments and tap-to-connect capabilities.

To join the program, gyms are required to provide an exclusive incentive or reward for Apple Watch users and an app that provides them with a way to track their fitness, see classes and log in at their gym.

They must also accept Apple Pay, and — if they provide cardio equipment — it must be compatible with GymKit.

Launched in 2017, GymKit lets Apple Watch users pair and sync data with NFC-enabled gym equipment and then view their workout data in the Activity app on their Apple Watch or iPhone.

Makers of GymKit-compatible equipment include Octane Fitness, True Fitness and Woodway.

As of June 2019, some 50,000 pieces of GymKit-enabled equipment had been installed in 1,500 locations across 100 countries worldwide.

Membership of Apple Watch Connected is free of charge for gyms “so long as they meet Apple’s criteria,” CNBC reports.

“Launch partners are Basecamp Fitness, Orange Theory, YMCA and Crunch Fitness.

“Crunch will give you $3 to $4 in weekly credit if you meet certain goals, like working out a certain amount of time per month. The credits apply to the following month’s bill. You can hit those goals either by working out inside or outside of the gym.

“Orange Theory will offer gift cards to Apple and Nike for hitting certain goals. Basecamp Fitness will give you an Apple Watch Series 5 GPS model that you can pay off by participating in three classes a week for an entire year.

“At the YMCA, your workouts will go toward providing free classes for children, like swim lessons.”

Rolling launch dates

“Basecamp will launch Apple Watch Connected to all of its clubs over the next year,” CNBC adds.

“The YMCA will start with its greater Twin Cities locations this week, followed by 22 additional YMCA branches in the coming weeks before expanding further.

“Crunch Fitness is launching Apple Watch Connected in two Manhattan gyms this week with more coming. Finally, Orange Theory will deploy it in all US facilities in 2020, starting with two Manhattan locations on Thursday.”

“At our Apple Watch Connected locations, members have access to Apple GymKit technology, so with a quick tap of Apple Watch to select a range of treadmills, ellipticals, stair machines and stationary bikes, members get the most accurate measurements possible and the metrics on the machine match what they see on their wrist,” says Crunch Fitness.

“Members are also able to quickly check-in to the club by loading their member credentials from the Crunch Member app into Wallet, and these clubs accept Apple Pay as a convenient method of payment for retail items and personal training.”

“An overwhelming majority of our members choose iOS as their mobile platform of choice and we’re seeing widespread adoption of Apple Watch by members in our club,” the gym chain’s Chad Waetzig says.

“With the convenience and great fitness and activity tracking features of Apple Watch, we feel we’re able to bring our members next-level integration by building an entire experience around this device.”

“Today, everything is digital and Apple Watch helps our members achieve a healthy and active lifestyle,” adds Crunch Signature CEO Keith Worts.

“This new program takes Apple Watch a step further for our members with Apple GymKit technology, club check-in capabilities, online class bookings and fitness incentives and rewards. This whole experience helps our members keep track of their fitness goals in a fun and innovative way.”