As noted by Fortune, the 2019 International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) report estimates that fitness is a $34 billion industry, and estimates 20% of Americans have a membership to some kind of fitness club.
I was part of this 20% for years. You too?
In fact, I used to exercise at the gym three to four times a week, mostly with a personal trainer.
Like many, I wanted to improve my overall health as well as my endurance, strength and balance and to do so in a way where I wouldn’t hurt myself.
Lockdown reality check
I was totally in my groove when COVID-19 first appeared. The gym closed. Then it reopened. And, as you probably know, it’s been a revolving door of closings and openings ever since.
From the first closing, I decided not to go to the gym anymore. I simply didn’t want to risk getting sick. But, like I said, I had my groove on, so I was determined to continue my workouts, outdoors and at home. But, slowly, slowly, I lost my enthusiasm. It just wasn’t the same.
So, there I was in March 2020, afraid to go to the gym, not wanting to book personal trainer appointments for social distancing reasons, but knowing that I needed to continue, somehow.
In my perfect world there would be a personal trainer that could see me and help me to do things correctly, but wouldn’t be in the actual room with me. A girl can dream right?
Then I remembered the Our Crowd conference I attended in February 2020, along with 25,000 other people. It was wall-to-wall people. Yup, definitely pre-COVID days.
My first impression
I was walking down one of the isles of this one-day event when I noticed a very big crowd watching a guy doing jumping jacks. I thought, what on earth is so exciting here? I weaved my way to the front of the booth to learn that he was in the middle of a workout with a virtual personal trainer (VPT). “Cool,” I thought.
This VPT was created by a company called Kemtai, founded by a masters swimmer, a Pilates teacher and a runner. The latter two are also computer vision experts.
Kemtai is available to everyone worldwide and as it turns out, it not only cool in theory but in practice too.
My Kemtai journey
I started working out with Kemtai in March 2020. Here are my three major findings:
Firstly, I can work out with a personal trainer, whenever and wherever I want. For me, 11 am in my kitchen works great. There is a wonderful selection of customized workouts to choose from, of various intensities, all uploaded by real-life personal trainers from around the world. The virtual personal trainers are based on these real life trainers, so you can enjoy the differences in style and workouts based on who you choose. This makes the interaction more human and I’m never bored.
Secondly, all I need is my laptop. I didn’t have to order any special equipment to use it.
Thirdly, but most importantly, I feel like my virtual personal trainer sees exactly how I am moving and is instructing me accordingly. In fact, I had a real ‘wow’ moment, the first time the system scanned the outline of my body. You have to experience this yourself.
As the VPT uses computer vision and artificial intelligence, unlike my real life trainer, the recommendations were precise to the exact angle. Like my real life personal trainer, my VPT encouraged me throughout and wouldn’t let me quit.
The system also scores your performance. So if you are competitive, you can either compete with yourself or have a friendly competition with friends and family. FUN!
And, no, it’s not expensive, in fact fractional to what I was paying before.
Kemtai formally launched only a couple of months ago and is constantly evolving with new work outs, exercises and trainers all the time.
The final details
If you are looking for ways to continue exercising or start up again and you want to mix it up with the standard online classes, it’s something to know about and consider.
Full disclosure, I liked Kemtai so much that I reached out to see how I could help tell their story for their benefit as well as the millions worldwide like me, looking for ways to stay fit and sane, especially these days, where social distancing is crucial.
And even when COVID is history, Kemtai is likely to be an ongoing choice. According to this August 2020 Fortune article, nine in 10 Americans who exercise regularly say they will continue with at-home workouts even after they feel comfortable returning to a gym in the future.
All I can say is – try it and if you want, share your experience with me. I’d be happy to know your thoughts.