Retired Olympic decathlete Bryan Clay has partnered with Ed Leonard, former chief technical officer for DreamWorks Animation, to create a fitness app that measures success by the effort you put into a workout.
The PK Fitness app creates a workout journal that displays real-time effort during any activity, tracking activity type, duration, map, distance, pace and calories. Users need to have a heart rate monitor.
Leonard’s technical skills and Clay’s fitness background complemented each other as they formed Bred Ventures, a company with a vision to create health and fitness products, Leonard said.
“PK Fitness is a simple approach with some quantifiable data,” Leonard said. “It’s not about how fast you are or how far you go; it’s about effort. We want to change the face of fitness.”
About 1,000 people are using the app, which has quietly been available for about a year. But since the app is in the testing phase to work out bugs and make improvements, Leonard and Clay haven’t advertised the product. Currently, it’s only available for iPhones and can be downloaded for free from Apple. Leonard said the basic features will always be free, but premium services, such as personal coaching, will be available for a fee.
“We’re growing slowly by intention,” Leonard added. “By late summer or early fall, we plan to launch worldwide. First, we want to address user feedback. It’s been fun and exciting.”
The best part about the app, according to Clay, is that it “levels the playing field,” he said.
“The one-size-fits-all mode, where everybody does the same workout, doesn’t work,” he said. “It’s OK to compare, but it has to be apples to apples. When I’m running with my wife, sometimes she is working harder than me based on her effort.”
Tommy Gibson, 36, of Glendora, Calif., began using the app about a year ago. “I wanted to get in better shape,” he said. “I’ve accelerated my workouts and have tried more challenging things.”
Gibson uses the app whether he’s boxing, running or engaging in intense interval training. He tracks his regular activity over time, like his Sunday “jog with the dog,” he said. “That way I can improve on time, effort levels and calorie burn.”
Gibson also does a 5-mile hike regularly and has noticed improvement by using the app to monitor his effort levels.
“Compared to other apps, I feel like it gives factual information,” he said. “The app gets to know me and my abilities. When the numbers go down, I know that I’m getting in better shape.”
Gibson uses the social media component on the app to share his progress. “It motivates me to push harder,” he said. “You don’t want to record a wimpy workout.”
Caroline Sakanashi, a 39-year-old San Gabriel, Calif., resident, got results right away.
“When I started using it, I immediately lost weight,” Sakanashi said. “I use it anytime that I exercise. The accountability pushed me to do better. It lets me know how well I’m doing and when to move on to something more challenging.”