The Future Gym - Yigal Pinchas

"It can be assumed that a combination of technological developments, economics, new management concepts, and a continuing desire to innovate, will change gyms of the future beyond recognition. Not only will they be transformed in appearance, but they will offer different equipment and require different types of instruction. The following is one scenario.

Instruction will be computerized – the gym of the future may contain special suits or uniforms with electrodes that activate various muscles in the body according to precisely timed, computerized programs. Personal data about exercisers, including physique, training goal, favorite landscapes, and aromas will be “fed” into the program and processed into an individualized training program. Exercisers will simply don a computerized suit and helmet, hold a joystick or bar, and find an empty seat. They can choose any type of warm-up, perhaps kayaking through white water.

Through their helmet they will see virtual training grounds and use the bar to perform rowing or kayaking movements in imitation of the movements that appear on the screen. Helmet speakers will provide background sounds of flowing water, chirping birds, or other sounds indigenous to the area, and a built-it sprinkler will spray a fine mist of water to give a feeling of the river water being churned up. The sprinkler can also give “whiffs” of vegetation characteristic of the changing landscape on the monitor.

The computerized suit will also cause relevant muscles in the body to vibrate and exercisers will be completely convinced that this is a real experience and not just virtual reality. After the predetermined time period, the warm-up will end, the helmet will bring in fresh air to dry the wetness from the face, and the training stage of the program will begin. In this stage, exercisers will be able to view themselves performing bench presses, for example. They imitate the movements using the bar, and throughout the training program, they perform guided movements according to what appears on the monitor. The computerized suit will vibrate the appropriate muscles in coordination with the display.

During the cool-down stage, exercisers will place the bar near the seat, lean their head back, listen to relaxing music of their choice, and relax their body. The computerized suit will massage the body gently and the helmet will provide a fine mist of relaxing aromas. At the conclusion of the session, a moment before removing the helmet and suit, exercisers will be able to access news, personal messages, and updates (and perhaps even commercials!) on the monitor.

Around the gym, exercisers will see others in various stages of training, wearing helmets and suits, gripping the joystick and, through them, performing exercises. During the training itself, exercisers will not have to converse with other exercisers; there will be no personal instruction and no social interaction of any sort.

Does this sound strange, or even plausible? Well, if it doesn’t, just think what a bodybuilder would have said fifty years ago had he been informed that, in the near future, exercisers would run, ride bicycles, or even ski in a gym. It may be just as absurd, fifty years hence, to hear that, until recently, people actually ran in city streets and inhaled polluted air for their “enjoyment” and health. On the other hand, one of the drawing cards of the gym is its function as a social meeting place and it is also reasonable to say that the gym of the future will not find a substitute for interpersonal interactions.

We need, and evidently will continue to need, social contact and interaction. If only for this reason, gyms will evidently continue to maintain a number of interpersonal elements of their present configuration."

  • Yigal Pinchas “The Complete Holistic Guide To Working Out In A Gym” (2006)