More content coming to revolutionary swim spa app
You’re at the gym, just finishing your treadmill workout. Before you jump off and head home, you check your workout stats — length, distance traveled, average speed and calories burned — on the treadmill control panel. Maybe instead you check your FitBit. This is what we’ve grown accustomed to doing with our workouts: We log, track and monitor how we’re doing, comparing our progress day-to-day or month-to-month.
This technology came available to swim spa users two years ago, when Master Spas introduced its SwimNumber App, or SNAPP, available on its Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spas. From an iPad (which can be mounted to the swim spa unit) or smartphone, users can manage their workouts. The app controls water speed, so not only does a user know what speed they are working out against, but they can also use preprogrammed workouts or create their own, with the water speed increasing or decreasing in timed intervals.
“We’ve become so used to fitness machines, whether it’s a treadmill or an elliptical machine, where we just plug in a workout or do a preset workout,” says Kevin Richards, vice president of sales and marketing at Master Spas. “It’s really easy for the dealers and the customers to say, ‘I use that already in the [fitness] arena, and that would be great [to have on my swim spa].’ When you’ve got a household that has multiple levels — maybe one person is good at swimming and one person is just trying to get fit — they’re using the swim spa in different manners. Now they’re able to set up their own programs and get the results they want.”
The Michael Phelps units are equipped with a variable-speed propulsion system. The SNAPP app allows the swim spa user to adjust the speed from zero (off) to 100. Master Spas uses the engineering data to relate that to the volume of water flow the propulsion system moves. The app can also track the estimated calories you burn, just like a treadmill, based on a mathematical formula.
“We tested this with several hundred people,” says Bob Lauter, president of Master Spas. The company chose a broad range of ages, sizes and fitness levels, and hooked them up to monitors to see if their actual numbers tracked with what the formula said.
Like other fitness equipment, you input your age, height and weight into the app before you begin your workout, and it estimates calories burned.
As many as 20 users can be stored in the app, so you can track previous workouts and customization is available for each user.
Working with physical therapist Dr. Rick McAvoy, and Bob Bowman, Michael Phelps’ swim coach, Master Spas has also been developing videos SNAAP users can access. Bowman’s videos offer simple stroke techniques, as well as how to maximize swimming in the swim spa. McAvoy’s videos show various workouts and provide exercises to help with specific ailments.
“In a lot of ways it’s groundbreaking, because we’re not just giving them an exercise program,” Lauter says. “We’re saying, ‘Do you have arthritis? Back pain? This is what you’re going to do. You wanna lose weight? Here are the exercises. Afraid you’re going to fall and break your hip? Here are the exercises.’ ”
McAvoy has worked with Master Spas for a number of years and uses a swim spa in his physical-therapy practice. Lauter says it’s important to back up claims of pain relief by showing customers what they can do to achieve alleviation in their swim spa.
“We’re investing in that part of it,” Lauter says, adding that it’s costly to create that kind of content, but that it shows the company’s commitment to the category.
“The more customers know what they can actually do in the swim spa, they’ll get better use out of it,” Richards says. “They’ll realize this is really what [they’re] looking for. Then we can make the sales, and they can get the results from working out in it.”
In 2016, Master Spas will focus on consumer awareness of the SNAPP app, with a detailed video explaining how to use the app.
“With any new technology, it takes time for the dealer base to adapt,” Richards says. “We’re beyond that now. The dealers are well trained on it, and this year and through the next they’re going to really be off and running with the SNAPP. We’re excited about the
product — and it’s certainly making a difference.”