This Philly-Area “Smart” Gym Uses Robo Machines to Come Up With Your Ideal Workout

The Exercise Coach, a high-tech fitness studio incorporating two, 20-minute workouts per week, opens tomorrow in Wayne.

The Exercise Coach, a smart gym that tracks your performance with computerized machines, opens tomorrow in Wayne. / Photograph courtesy of the Exercise Coach

We all have excuses for skipping the gym. From being too busy with work to hitting snooze on the mornings we had planned on waking up early, sometimes we feel that a 45-minute to an hour workout is just not a realistic item on our already chaotic to-do lists. Plus, sometimes gym equipment can be super intimidating, adding to our hesitations.

A new smart gym in the Philly ‘burbs is looking to remove all your gym-going excuses. The Exercise Coach, which opens tomorrow in Wayne, is a high-tech fitness studio that shortens your workouts down to just 20 minutes. Even better for those who claim they don’t “have time” to exercise: You only need to visit the Exercise Coach twice per week, meaning you’ll dedicate a total of 40 minutes every seven days to getting fit.

Sound too good to be true? Possibly, but the goal of the Exercise Coach’s intense interval program is to leave you feeling like you’ve just spent an hour at the gym. That’s because the space utilizes high-tech, robotic machines to personalize and adapt your exercise regimen based on your capabilities, conditions, and comfort level. In addition to the bio-adaptive exercise technology, each workout is monitored by certified coaches, who make sure you’re getting the most out of your personalized strength and cardio interval training.

Here’s how it works: Each of the machines at the Exercise Coach, including the spin bike, leg press, and lat pulldown, is hooked up to a computer that tracks and stores your performance every minute of the session using technology known as Exerbotics. During your first visit, you’ll put in work at each machine, and Exerbotics will average your best three attempts so  you have a benchmark for all the equipment. After that, you just plug in the proprietary code given to you, and the machines will come up with curated workouts just for you. Your two, 20-minute sessions per week might involve a workout completely dedicated to specific muscle groups, like an upper body workout with shoulder and chest presses, or a combo of cardio and strength training with exercises like bike sprints, leg extensions, and core sculptors.

The Exercise Coach began in Chicago in 2000 and has now become a national and international franchise. Pete and Laura Austin, the owners of the Wayne location, wanted to bring the Exercise Coach to the Philadelphia area to make strength training more accessible and less intimidating, especially to those reluctant to enter a traditional gym for any reason. While Laura has been a member of gyms in the past, she didn’t find them particularly motivating. Additionally, Pete was hesitant about equipment-related injury after having a knee operation. The Austins say they have “a lot of empathy for the clientele [they] will be attracting,” and hope to positively impact their local fitness community’s quality of life.

You can visit the Exercise Coach starting tomorrow, September 26th, at 985 Old Eagle School Road, Suite 515, in Wayne.