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The Tech That Helps You Out in the Gym

Kelsey Pommer, Manager, Digital Media, Consumer Technology Association

Fitness technology has become one of the most popular tech categories in the past few years. While many companies are focusing on wearable tech for measuring fitness, Consumer Technology Association (CTA) member ShapeLog looks at fitness and tech from another angle, measuring output instead of effort.

We had a chance to talk to the ShapeLog team about how their technology enhances their customers’ workouts and what is next in their future.

What is ShapeLog?

A better strength-training experience. We collect strength performance data at a resolution that nobody’s ever seen, without asking users to wear or carry anything. Our data platform helps gyms and trainers make more money by delivering better client experiences. We’re launching at CES with a product for hosting next-generation group strength classes and personal training.

Vic Katch, our team member who literally wrote the book on exercise physiology, keeps asking where this product was 30 years ago. It’s a strength-training experience that seems obvious, but genuine simplicity is hard to achieve.

Image provided by ShapeLog

What problem were you trying to solve when you created the company?

The strength-training experience for average people stinks. If you don’t have a coach or personal trainer, you’re winging it. Strength training helps you live longer, look better, sleep better, improves bone density, lowers your blood pressure and is a great workout. Strength training is the second most popular form of exercise — right behind walking — but there's no clear path to sustainable results. We’re combining technology with storytelling to improve the strength-training experience.

Gyms hate seeing clients slip through the cracks, too. Technology provides gyms with an opportunity to re-establish themselves as the hub of the fitness community. Our data facilitates better conversations between trainers and clients and gives the club a unique experience to offer members.

How does ShapeLog work, and how can it improve your customers’ lives?

Trainers and fitness clubs clip our strength trackers onto existing weight equipment and consumers get all the benefits without wearing or carrying anything. Our data platform collects, organizes and displays everything in real-time to enable small-group strength classes, make personal training better and keep people coming back.

ShapeLog isn’t a wearable device. We measure output, not effort, so we can tell when it’s time to pick a different weight and give very objective feedback on your performance. People love our real-time data visualizations, but data for the sake of data isn’t enough. The customer experience, the stories they can share and the results they see are more important.

Mike Stashak from Wahoo gave us advice at CES last year that has become our mantra: data accuracy and creating a “frictionless user experience” are the two things we’re unwilling to compromise on.

Image provided by ShapeLog

What is the most challenging thing about starting a business? The most rewarding?

People aren’t inclined to trust something new, so articulating your vision and building trust are big challenges. Your only hope is to build something people really want, be bold and deliver on every promise you make.

Trying to do everything at once will sink you. Our first product is a group fitness and personal training platform — it’s easy to understand, generates revenue for clubs and is a low-risk investment for consumers. Making our early partners a lot of money and delighting early customers will give us an opportunity to pursue bigger, more transformative ideas down the road.

But starting a business is so much fun. All of our team members have been founders in other successful companies — we all relish the opportunity to get up and tackle the biggest challenges every day. My teammates all create 20 times the output of an average employee, which is fun to watch up close. It’s why we’ve been able to accomplish a lot in such a short time.

What’s next for ShapeLog?

The product we’re launching at CES helps fitness clubs and trainers make more money and keep their clients happier. Our primary goal is to let clubs and trainers know we’re here and ready to do business.

A secondary goal for the show is to explore partnerships with other data providers. Open data is key to a future where fitness is transformed and everyone is healthier. We’re in the business of using data to tell great stories about the path to fitness and deliver a 10 times better strength-training experience. CES is the best place to have conversations with potential partners and build relationships to make more interesting things happen.

We’re grateful for the opportunity to participate in an industry that truly makes people healthy and happy, at a time when such big changes are possible.

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