y induction to Third Space gym in London’s Soho involves standing on a futuristic-looking weighing machine and gripping two metal prongs while an electric current passes through me (thankfully, I can’t feel it). On the screen, the outline of a figure begins to fill in, and readings show what percentage water, protein, mineral and fat I am. I won’t share the numbers, but it was certainly enlightening.
Weight is a crude reading of one’s physical makeup, while BMI (body mass index), derived from your weight divided by your height, is not much better. Using this calculation, someone muscular could be considered obese because muscle is heavier than fat. FITNESS TRACKERS TomTom Touch This fitness tracker measures body fat and muscle mass composition, steps, calories, sleep time and heart rate. You can also log your workouts and receive incoming call/SMS notifications so you don’t have to worry about checking your phone. £130, tomtom.com The InBody Analysis machine is more scientific, giving comprehensive readings of your entire physiology – whether your skeletal muscle mass is normal, how much visceral fat you have around your internal organs (not too much, hopefully), how much water is in your system (both intra- and extra-cellular), and the distribution of lean mass versus fat around your arms, trunk and legs. A typical gym induction might include a questionnaire about your lifestyle, the taking of a few vital statistics, and some advice on how to use the machines. At Third Space (thirdspace.london), which has four clubs in London, you won’t start training until your data has been analysed. The body scanner will also provide a meaningful map of your progress – work hard, and after a month you will see an increase in muscle and a decrease in fat. Third Space’s free “Out/Set” biometric assessment was developed by personal trainer Luke Worthington. For £150, you FitBit Charge 2 Standout functions include GPS connection to your phone and SmartTrack, which records activities such as cycling and hiking. It also shows your cardio fitness score and creates guided breathing sessions in time with your heart rate. From £130, fitbit.com can also take a DNA test to find out your genetic strengths and weaknesses. Worthington sets a series of exercises so he can see your movement capabilities – so if you don’t have perfect form when it comes to a hip hinge (effectively bending down to pick something up), he won’t put any deadlifts in your regime.
“The purpose is to get as much information as possible about people before setting them loose in the gym,” he says. “I come from a professional sport background so my idea was to bring some of what we did in that world to the public. The industry is very goal-oriented – get the beach body, run the 10k, get to point B, but without any conception of what point A is. That was where we were going wrong. Not all beginners are rubbish at everything, and even someone very advanced will have weak spots.” TRACK YOUR PROGRESS As the demand for personal training continues, we can expect more gyms to offer data-based programmes – and more body scanning machines in reception. Fit3D scanners have recently been installed in high-end gyms such as Equinox, which has dozens of locations in the US, UK and Canada, while Styku Moov Now Designed to “coach” you with voice commands and real-time stats, Moov Now’s 9 Axis Omni motion sensor will track your form in 3D. It can assess your boxing technique, swimming stroke rate and the landing impact of your feet when running to help avoid injury. US$60, welcome.moov.cc Samsung Gear Fit 2 This GPS sports band will track your running route independently of your smartphone so you can leave it at home. Its heart rate monitor will show you when you hit high-intensity zones and can tell the difference between cycling and elliptical trainers. £179, samsung.com