The Pursuit gamifies exercise by pitting you against your spin-class peers

the pursuit by equinox gamifies spin class exercise thepursuit1
We’re just a month shy of New Year’s Resolution Season, when gyms across the country are flooded with newly fitness-minded folk eager to kick off 2015 with a healthier mindset and a steady exercise regime. Of course, by February the vast majority of that gym-warrior army will have gone AWOL, burned out, and found themselves back on their couches, hunched in front of their favorite game consoles.

The graphics provide the opportunity to visualize performance.

Or maybe they could be gaming at the gym.

Equinox, a line of high-end fitness clubs, is fusing cycling classes with gaming in a new class called The Pursuit. The spirited sweat session features in-studio gaming with data visualization scientifically designed to push riders past their personal bests.

Divided into two high-intensity options, The Pursuit: Build and The Pursuit: Burn, each class has specific, targeted goals in mind for its riders.

Build’s focus is to increase endurance, foster strength and improve riders’ ability to hit their peak performance level for a lengthier amount of time, while Burn aims to amplify performance and torch calories through precisely timed HIIT (high-intensity interval training) intervals.

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All well and good you say, but this sounds like work. What about the gaming element? The real draw is the interactive nature of the classes and the digital components, taking eyes off the clock and onto the graphics and leaderboards projected onto the wall in front of the riders. Data from bike consoles provides real-time class performance statistics. No more second guessing about the right gear to turn to, or deciphering the often unintelligible, insufferable shouting of a spin instructor. Your results and energy expenditure are right there, plain as day, with the instructor acting as more of a host and motivator than carnival barker.

Games and challenges are divided up into solo stints and team tasks, forcing participants to both work together and try to kick the ass of a neighboring rider. To keep the competition healthy, after each round the top eight riders in separate male and female categories are ranked and displayed, allowing for ample opportunities for trash talk.

And the competition is real, friends.

We previewed The Pursuit: Burn at Equinox’s Santa Monica, Calif. Location, and let’s just say the peer pressure to win among these journalist-types was palpable.

No more second guessing about the right gear to turn to.

The real-time performance stats on display are encouraging (if not a tad bit frustrating as amateur riders are trying to catch up with the overachieving Tour de France hopefuls) and the graphics provide the opportunity to visualize performance, as opposed to guessing how well you’re faring overall.

Both cycling enthusiasts and impartial gym dwellers will find this take on the traditional spinning class anything but, and the interactive nature of The Pursuit doesn’t have to end in the studio. Equinox is also launching a new digital coaching platform called Connected Cycling, which works with both The Pursuit as well as their other cycling classes, allowing members to follow their performance over time and communicate with other Equinox riders.

The Pursuit by Equinox launches December 1st in select New York and Los Angeles Equinox locations, and will roll out nationwide in early 2015.

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