Apple Watch Connected: What to know about Apple's new gym program

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Ever wish you were rewarded for making it to the gym? Apple's new Apple Watch Connected program, announced today, wants to make it easier for Apple Watch wearers to track workouts and earn perks when they frequent certain fitness facilities.

As its name suggests, the Apple Watch Connected initiative is built around the Apple Watch. The company's latest fitness endeavor integrates it wearable with gyms to improve fitness tracking and offer goal-based rewards. When you visit a participating gym, your Apple Watch should work seamlessly with any GymKit-enabled exercise equipment.

Four major U.S. gyms chains are participating at launch, although more will enlist in the program in the future. There are no fees for gyms to earn an Apple Watch Connected certification, although they must meet certain criteria. 

If you use your Apple Watch for fitness, you might want to consider joining an Apple Watch Connected gym, given one is in proximity. Here's everything you need to know about the program so you can start earning benefits for your sweat. 

Which gyms participate in the Apple Watch Connected program?

The four gyms offering Apple Watch Connected experiences are Basecamp, Crunch Fitness, Orange Theory and YMCA. Starting January 23, select locations will offer benefits for its members who own Apple Watches.  

Benefits include discounts for memberships when workout goals are met and the ability to book classes directly from an Apple Watch. 

How does a gym become eligible?

Apple has set specific guidelines for fitness facilities to become eligible for Apple Watch Connected. 

First and foremost, the gym must have both an iPhone and Apple Watch app that allows users to monitor fitness and see class schedules. The gym also has to accept Apple Pay, which would let members purchase things like water or clothing using their wrists. The goal here is giving gym-goers the option to ditch their phone during workouts. 

Each gym has to offer a "earn with Apple Watch" promotion, meaning its Apple Watch-wearing members will receive tangible rewards for hitting exercise goals. Crunch is giving weekly credit stipends, while Orange Theory will deal Apple and Nike gift cards. Basecamp Fitness is letting you work off the price of an Apple Watch Series 5 GPS model by taking three workout classes a week for one year.

GymKit: How does it work?

An optional perk Apple Watch Connected gyms can offer is GymKit support. GymKit machines, like stair-steppers or ellipticals, are able to sync a workout to an Apple Watch. This should provide more accurate fitness data when using stationary equipment. 

MORE: For additional tips, tricks, and how-tos, be sure to check out our complete Apple Watch Guide.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.