How to connect Apple Watch to exercise machines and treadmills

It is no coincidence that the Apple Watch belongs to the class of smart watches. These devices can communicate directly with various cardiovascular equipment in gyms.

It can be treadmills, exercise bikes, ellipsoids and t.d. As a result, Apple Watch will provide an improved and more complete set of important indicators: heart rate, running speed, distance, height and t.d.

In this material we will tell, how to use apple watch with exercise equipment, including on how to connect them with cardio devices. Our instructions will help you start and end such a workout, after collecting the necessary data.

What is GymKit??

Apple’s technology platform is known by this name, which allows you to include third-party cardio machines in the Apple Watch training mode: Treadmills, cross trainers, steppers and exercise bikes. And here are the spin bikes, weight training equipment and other equipment now «apple» not supported for hours.

Sync Apple Watch data with GymKit-enabled systems for the most accurate distance, heart rate, pace, power consumption and other possible indicators. Your heart rate is still being measured by a heart rate sensor, built in watch, but displayed on the simulator screen. Apple explains, that to ensure GymKit compatibility with these systems, only a software update and a small update to the NFC proximity sensor are required.

GymKit allows you to get important statistics and synchronize it between the clock and cardio equipment in the gym.

Separate information from the sports equipment used on the premises and the Apple Watch may be incomplete. Watches perfectly relieve heart rate, but they won’t be able to accurately measure distance and height on a treadmill. Similarly, no one calibrates their treadmill in the gym, even using a chest belt does not correctly account for calorie burning.

What you need to connect your Apple Watch to exercise equipment and treadmills

To use GymKit, the following is necessary:

  • Apple Watch Series 2 or later;
  • watchOS 4.1 or later;
  • cardiovascular equipment, supporting the GymKit program.

GymKit Support

GymKit officially debuted at the end of 2017. This feature is currently supported by several large gymnasium networks. Apple claims, which strengthened GymKit support from major fitness equipment manufacturers, which supply eighty percent of cardio machines, used in gyms around the world.

The largest manufacturer of GymKit-enabled simulators is Core Health and Fitness Holding (brand exercise machines: Cybex, SCIFIT, StairMaster, Star Trac, Schwinn and Nautilus).

GymKit is available in the following gymnasium networks:

  • Equinox
  • Life Fitness
  • Matrix Fitness
  • Octane Fitness
  • TechnoGym
  • TRUE Fitness
  • Virgin Active
  • YMCA
  • Woodway

How to connect Apple Watch to exercise machines

With NFC technology in the Apple Watch, you can easily connect your wearable device to compatible fitness equipment:

1. Activate the ability to detect simulators in the Apple Watch. Go to the clock in Settings → Watch training (or in my watch → In-app training «Clock» on iPhone), and then turn the switch «Hardware discovery» in active position.


2. Make sure, that there are exercise machines marked in the gym «Connects with Apple Watch» or «Connect with Apple Watch» (Connect to Apple Watch).

3. For quick connections, keep your watch a few centimeters from the NFC proximity reader on the treadmill, so that the display is facing the reader, as if you were using Apple Pay.

The training application should start automatically. You will feel a slight vibration and hear a beep to confirm, that the watch is paired with a simulator.

What will happen, if you do not enable the option «Hardware discovery» in the settings of Apple Watch?

Do not worry, you can still start your workout, running the application «Workout», and then bring the watch to the simulator – yet again, with display, facing the contactless scanner. GymKit logo appears on the watch.

The amount of data from the simulator, to be displayed on the watch, depends on the type of training chosen.

After jogging you can see calories, distance, time, average pace, height increase, average heart rate and rate of recovery. Like a regular treadmill, this is actually an exhaustive amount of data. It will be difficult for you to find a similar level of detail elsewhere when training indoors.

Cyclists will also be happy with this innovation. In addition to the same data, you will also know the power spent and the wheel speed. But even professional cyclists need such information. If you will work with a stepper, you will get information about the number of floors covered. Previously, it was not possible to measure using the Apple Watch alone.

Forgot to connect the watch with the simulator before training?

Again, this does not become a serious problem. Just bring the watch to the contactless scanner of the simulator during training, and watchOS automatically syncs data.

How to start and end a workout on the simulator, connected to Apple Watch

By connecting the watch to sports equipment, you can start and end your workout, using inline controls, not an application «Workout». Here’s how to do it:

  • Start workout: click «Start» (Start) on the simulator, to start training.
  • Finish workout: click «Stop» (Stop) on the simulator, to complete the workout.

As before, you can also start and end a session in the application «Workout».

After completing your workout, data from the equipment will appear in the training summary in the application «Activity» on Apple Watch and iPhone»

GymKit and privacy

You can choose at any time, what to share with simulators. After connecting your watch to a GymKit-compatible device, gadgets exchange data at the beginning of training and when it is completed. At the end of the workout, the simulator transmits its data to the watch.

In accordance with Apple’s privacy policy, GymKit, sports equipment must delete data, as soon as they are transferred to the watch. but, as stated in the privacy policy, the equipment manufacturer can collect and store data about your training, which are transferred from the simulator to your Apple Watch.