Major fitness brands now offering workout incentives through Apple Watches

Crunch Fitness, Orangetheory, YMCA and Basecamp are the first to rollout new device integrations and workout rewards as part of the Apple Watch Connected program.
By Dave Muoio
03:23 pm
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A handful of fitness and workout chains will begin doling out monetary rewards to members who have connected their Apple Watches or other Apple-branded services to the partner company’s digital ecosystem, according to the Cupertino tech company.

As part of the newly unveiled Apple Watch Connected program, Crunch Fitness, Orangetheory, YMCA and Basecamp have kicked off incentive programs with rewards varying from gift cards (at Orangetheory) to membership due deductions (at Basecamp) to funding for local community initiatives (at YMCA).

“We recognize many of our members are using Apple Watch in the Y and we are thrilled to offer our members this new cutting-edge digital health experience as well as the opportunity to join our ‘Move for Good’ health challenges,” Nathan Maehren, SVP of digital at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, said in a statement. “Members who participate in ‘Move for Good’ during monthly challenges with their Apple Watch not only benefit their health, but also help send kids to life-changing programs at the Y like swimming lessons, camp, sports and the Y’s signature Youth in Government program.”

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Alongside the Watch-based rewards, these and future program partners will be offering their members apps on the iPhone and Apple Watch, will be accepting Apple Pay and — with the exception of studios designed around rapidly changing workout machines, like OrangeTheory — will be outfitting their equipment with Apple GymKit so that users can more easily track their workouts.

Crunch Fitness, Orangetheory and YMCA have all launched these capabilities at certain locations with plans to expand over the course of 2020, while Basecamp has sent its program live at all six of its existing studios.

WHY IT MATTERS

Apple has long positioned its smartwatch as a fitness aid, and has added no shortage of features over the years to encouraging users to stay active. An incentive-driven integration with these fitness brands further cements these devices in consumers’ minds as a core component of their workouts. Similarly, these programs could tip the scales for existing studio members who are in the market for a new device — especially if benefit setups like Basecamp’s, which allows members to gradually earn back the monetary value of a Apple Watch Series 5 GPS, spread to other partners as well.

THE LARGER TREND

Today’s news comes not too long after prior announcements from brands like Peloton and, again, Orangetheory highlighting new integrations with Apple Watch devices. Fitbit hasn’t exactly shied away from cutting deals with brick-and-mortar fitness brands over the years either, although these are generally more focused on app integrations than monetary incentives.

Both companies have also been steadily embedding their devices into wellness programs from plans and employers, many of which feature incentives not dissimilar to those of the new Apple Watch Connected program.

ON THE RECORD

“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,” said Chad Waetzig, EVP of marketing and branding at Crunch, said in a statement. “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. And we’re fully intending to expand the Apple Watch Connected program across more Crunch Signature and Crunch Fitness gyms in 2020 and beyond.”

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