Historically, fitness has always been a rather analogue affair – you go to a gym, run the treadmill and/or lift some weights, and that’s pretty much it.
The folks over at TFX, however, are planning to change that.
Located on the top floor of the recently reopened Funan mall, TFX is the latest offering from homegrown fitness brand True Group, who you might know from the True Fitness and True Yoga franchises.
At this point you might be thinking “wait, if there’s already True Fitness, why would the company create a second brand of gyms?”
Well, TFX sets itself apart from other gyms by utilising something called Technology-Enabled Training, which — as the name implies — uses state-of-the-art-equipment to help people achieve their fitness goals more efficiently.
21st Century Fitness
The centrepiece of this Technology-Enabled Training is the MyZone Heart rate monitor, which comes free with every TFX membership. Working in tandem with the accompanying MyZone app, this device tracks your heart rate in real time and displays them on screens scattered around the facility.
The benefits of this are two-fold: it gives members a certain sense of accountability (you’re less likely to slack off when literally everyone in the gym can see when you do), and helps trainers to see if anyone is pushing themselves too hard as well.
Now, this isn’t exactly a revolutionary concept — boutique fitness studios like F45 and Anthem have been doing the “track your heart rate on a giant screen” thing for awhile now. But while TFX might not have been an early adopter, they make up for it in variety.
“If you go for a spin class at a boutique, but then you decide you want to go for a yoga class after that, you’ll have to join another boutique.” said True Group Director Sean Tan. “Variety and diversification is the strength of TFX – it offers sort of everything for everyone.”
Considering that TFX offers everything from Spin to Yoga to HIIT under one roof, I can’t really argue with them there.
Equipment-wise, you’ll find everything that you’d expect to find in a regular gym, with a slight twist. The weight machines, for example, include digital displays that help track the number of reps you’ve done/have left, while the treadmills have access to programs such as Spotify, Twitter and Netflix, and can even transmit data straight to your Apple Watch.
Help, Or Hindrance?
I had the opportunity to spend a day training at TFX, and while I have no doubt that some aspects of Technology-Enabled Training has its benefits (trust me, the heart rate display really does light a fire under you), I couldn’t help but have some concerns at the same time.
When using the treadmill, for example, I spent three minutes logging into my Spotify account, which naturally added three minutes to my workout. I consider myself a pretty tech-savvy guy, and if less proficient people were stuck on the wealth of options available on the home screen, would they spend more time fiddling with the machines than actually using it?
It turns out that TFX management has already anticipated this, and will have dedicated staff on hand in the opening months to help orientate members with the new features. Depending on usage patterns, they might even hide less popular programs to declutter the user interface.
And while Technology-Enabled Training is definitely a step in the right direction, will it attract or push away people who don’t already go to gyms? Sean believes its the former, saying that the gamification of fitness could very possibly usher in a new generation of gym goers.
“I have a friend and colleague who doesn’t go to gyms, he only runs. But he bought a FitBit, and now he’s always posting about his heart rate, his duration,” he said. “He’s motivated to keep on bettering his score, he shares it, and it gets him to continually exercise.”
It looks like the folks at TFX have identified the potential problems that come with adopting a new technology, and taken the steps to solve them as well.
“We want to let members use technology in a very easy to use way, and from there we want to use it for different kinds of workout programmes to make them realise that they can get so much more out of their workouts, if they’re interested.” Sean said.
“If they’re not, then we still have our True Fitness gyms that are not so technology-driven, so we’re trying to do a bit for everyone.”
One might think that all this futuristic equipment would come with a premium price point, but membership is actually a mere $15 more than one at a True Fitness gym. So if you’ve been meaning to integrate some tech into your fitness, TFX might be worth checking out.
Header Image Credit: TFX / Vulcan Post