Fitness Tip

Users can now purchase GAIN’s “digital trainers”—ranging from Pilates to interval training to bodybuilding—on; trainers purchased on the web will be auto-synced to mobile and can be used to train on either smartphone or desktop.

Previously, our amazing suite of GAIN trainer apps have only been available in mobile form (as iPhone apps).  Beginning today, eight of these fully customizable, content-driven programs and workout experiences are available for purchase or free download on our website, Prices range from $7-13 for digital trainers and $3-7 for content expansion packs, while some trainer downloads are completely free.


We’re excited to launch digital trainers on the web for three main reasons:

  1. Not everyone has an iPhone
  2. It’s now easier to workout anywhere (home, hotel or office)
  3. “It just works”

Not everyone has an iPhone

We get that not everyone has an iPhone or iOS device. We hear from (sometimes angry, threatening) Android owners nearly every day. We feel your pain.

As a company, we obviously want to make our products available to as many people across as many devices as possible, but that’s often not possible for a small, scrappy startup with limited resources. We have to focus our development efforts, and hone our expertise, in order to survive and thrive.

Almost everyone has access the web at least some of the time. So we’re inviting all audiences with Internet access to try out and train with the unique and awesome workout experiences that are Method Yoga, COREwheels, Road Warrior and others.

The brains (customizable workout programs) and brawn (audio-visual instruction) for each of these digital trainers were created by our brilliant, multi-talented, real-life trainer partners, including:

  • Pattie Stafford
  • Nate Miyaki
  • Reed Taylor
  • Ari Akerstein
  • DH Kiefer

web screen

Initially, two of our trainers are missing from the mix—Basketball Pro by Dr. Marcus Elliot, and WOD Unboxed, by CrossFit Coach Ranier Guadduang. There are some  additional technical difficulties in implementing those, but we’ll get them up and running on the web as soon as possible.

It’s easier to workout anywhere

Part of our mission as a company is to free fitness from constraints and roadblocks—you don’t need a full gym or fancy gadget to get a great workout in (although, if you have those, that’s great too!). Our users work out with their mobile devices in all kinds of places—at home, the office, hotel rooms, even outdoors.

In fact, only 40% of GAIN users workout at the gym, where the mobile form factor is ideal. That leaves the majority working out at home, an office or a hotel room, where access to Internet and a larger computer screen are common. When you have the luxury of more screen real estate and a steady web connection, we want to take full advantage. Now that is possible.

One caveat to note: not all of the audio guidance cues, which are an integral part of the mobile device experience, will be available on the web initially. We felt that, since the web is a much more visually guided experience, the audio component was not as important vis-à-vis the mobile device (which is often tucked away in your pocket during exercise). So let us know what you think, and rest assured that we’re planning to bring the full audio experience to the web ASAP.

“It just works”

We believe working out should fit seamlessly into your busy lifestyle. And that all the progress you track should be stored in a single, secure place, available anytime you want it, via any device. That’s why any item you purchase on either platform (web or mobile) will always, automatically synchronize with the cloud and be available on all other devices that run GAIN.

That’s a long way of saying, if you buy a digital trainer or expansion pack in one place, “it just works” in all other places.

WOD Unboxed launches on GAIN Fitness; new Pocket Mode feature enables kinetic data input without removing phone from your pocket.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—(April 12, 2013)—GAIN Fitness, the ultimate mobile personal trainer app platform, has announced the release of WOD Unboxed, an iPhone app created in partnership with certified CrossFit trainer Ranier Gadduang, to customize workouts and guide exercisers through interactive workout experiences.

This is a two part announcement highlighting a couple major launches expected to go live in App Store on Friday, April 12, 2013. One is a new app, WOD Unboxed; the other is a big new feature called “Pocket Mode” that makes tracking your training easier than ever.

All features and digital trainers are also accesible in our all-in-one app, GAIN Cross Trainer.


Part I: “WOD Unboxed” – The New App

At GAIN, we strive to bring the most cutting-edge, fun and effective training programs to the hands (and pockets) of our exercisers. And the most groundbreaking thing in fitness right now is high-intensity, highly varied, functional exercise.

Then we tried it—the GAIN team got our hands dirty with a private class led by our friend and certified CrossFit trainer Ranier Gadduang. We loved it, and quickly came to understand that there is method to the madness, and that high-intensity, highly varied, functional exercise. can be adapted to make fitness both more fun and effective for almost anyone.

What Makes This App Awesome

At its heart, WOD Unboxed is a gamified approach to fitness—a fun, varied, efficient way to work out, a system of competitive social dynamics, and a collection of great exercises fused together with protocols that will push you beyond your comfort zones.

This style of training is guided by 3 key principles:

  1. Constantly Varied
  2. High Intensity
  3. Functional Movements

Squat Snatch

It employs exercises from traditional disciplines of Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Olympic Lifting and cardio conditioning, and combines them to prevent a sole focus on any one particular fitness quality. Power development, for example, might be mixed with cardio conditioning. Or strength may be mixed with balance and coordination. Some WOD Unboxed workouts mix everything together.

The movements used in WOD Unboxed are inherently safe and “functional” (although some exercises are technically complex and/or ballistic in nature, making them easy to get wrong without proper form development).

Each day, an exerciser is challenged with a new Workout of the Day—aka “WOD.” These diverse, seemingly randomized workouts very rarely present the same challenge. The sheer variety and challenge of WODs mean that your body will be constantly adapting. This results in a very intense fitness practice that elevates your well-rounded fitness to new heights.

Then there’s the scoring system, which forces a very public reporting of your WOD score on a whiteboard. Not for the faint of heart, this forces a competitive mechanic and builds a strong sense of community.

WOD Score

On the surface, high-intensity, highly varied, functional exercise. s not for everyone. The intimidation factor of reporting your score on the whiteboard is enough to scare many newcomers away.  Joining a gym also isn’t cheap, and even though some specialized gyms (referred to as “Boxes” for their gritty, bare bones feel) are sprouting up like weeds, there are still only a few thousand of these specialized training centers in the U.S.—not exactly in everyone’s backyard.

What Makes the App Awesome

Our new WOD Unboxed app solves both of these problems. Our software’s ability to custom-tailor workouts to your time, equipment, and fitness level means that newcomers can use  training methods with basic bodyweight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups and burpees, where risk of injury is low.

And with the app on your iPhone, you essentially get a digital  coach to carry along wherever you go, allowing you to do at your local Box, a standard gym or even at home.

The complex mechanics of this dynamic training style were what made WOD Unboxed such a fun challenge to develop. We dove in deep to understand high-intensity, highly varied, functional exercise, and worked closely with Coach Ranier to adapt the programming and competitive elements into the infrastructure and user experience of our app platform. We wanted the WOD Unboxed mobile app experience to mimic as closely as possible a trainer-led session.

Flow Mode 2

And we’re not done yet. We’re hard at work bringing more of the “coopetition” group dynamic that dedicated exercisers love to the app.  Stay tuned!

If you haven’t tried high-intensity, highly varied, functional exercise yet for any reason, now is the time to give it a go. And if you’re an experienced exerciser who has ever missed a class due to travel, schedule conflicts or whatever else, consider this app a way to double-down on your WOD consistency.

Part II: Weight Tracking Finds its Flow with “Pocket Mode” 

As part of the WOD Unboxed app launch, we’re unleashing a new feature called “Pocket Mode” that will change how GAINsters interact with their iPhones to track their training.

If you work out with your phone in pocket (the most common use case when tracking your training at the gym), you’re going to love Pocket Mode. When you finish an exercise, you can quickly “Double Pat” the phone (two light slaps in quick succession) to tell the app that you’re ready for the next exercise — without taking the phone out of your pocket!

This feature uses the iPhone’s motion-sensing capabilities, analyzing the motion patterns to determine whether the motion is a Double Pat and not just exercise motion. We spent weeks tweaking the variables of motion detection to get this feature to work just right. It’s already very good at distinguishing real Double Pats from false positives, but can likely still be improved. We’re looking forward to collecting user feedback once this feature out in the wild, so don’t hesitate to send us feedback:

Pocket Mode also gives you a second way to communicate with the app while it’s in your pocket: Vertical Swipe.  Just reach into your pocket and  swipe your finger upward on the screen’s surface to confirm exercise completion.

Pocket Mode Tutorial

At first, Pocket Mode will only be available for WOD Unboxed. Tackling the high-intensity, highly varied, functional exercise experience really drove the creation of Pocket Mode, since the time-driven nature pushes you to transition between exercises as fast as possible. But we plan to soon bring these two new features to other apps in the GAIN Fitness family in order to reduce tracking friction and bring a more continuous “flow state” to your various workout experiences!

Expanded Platform Offerings Drive Massive 2,000% Growth in January; 2M GAIN Users have Completed More than 4M Workouts

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—(January 29, 2013)—GAIN Fitness, the ultimate mobile-digital personal trainer, has announced five new trainer apps over the past five weeks, and today released their new trainer marketplace pages on The company plans to release a new trainer app each month going forward.

GAIN’s emphasis on new, customizable content created by top fitness industry experts, delivered via the GAIN iOS app, is part of the company’s focus on creating the ultimate digital fitness platform; an “iTunes for Fitness.”

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 7.19.38 PM
GAIN saw a huge surge in downloads and user workouts in January, with over 2,000% growth, driven by new product launches and New Year’s resolutions. To date, GAIN has more than 2M users who have sweated through more than 4M trainer-quality workouts.

The GAIN platform now gives users the opportunity to download diverse workout packs within the app, with celebrities, trainers, and organizations offering the latest training styles, including weight-lifting, bodyweight training, yoga, cross-training, sport-specific training, pilates and even circus arts. The workout content, which includes real voice instruction from the expert creators, can be downloaded directly into the GAIN app, where users access cross-platform features to help motivate their fitness—dynamic scheduling, workout streak, performance data and social sharing.

The new GAIN platform officially launches today, with 8 different trainer apps to-date, including the following:
·      “Basketball Pro Digital Trainer” by P3 (Peak Performance Project)
·      “Circus Strength, Pilates, Athletic Intervals” by Method Yoga
·      “Shockwave Protocol” by Dangerously Hardcore
·      “Road Warrior” by Nate Miyaki
·      “Butterfly Yoga” by Pattie Stafford
·      “CoreWheels” by CoreWheel Fitness

GAIN will continue to add content in the form of premium apps frequently.

“One of the core benefits of our platform is blending features of mobile computing—tracking, analytics, and multimedia consumption—with real-world tools like gyms, yoga mats and ab rollers, to help people achieve their fitness goals. Technology has made everyone a lot busier and more sedentary, we want to turn that around and use it as a force for greater good.” said Nick Gammell, founder and CEO of GAIN Fitness. “We create apps in partnership with top trainers and fitness brands that emphasize goods, gear, workouts, and programs. The personalization with respect to an individual’s body, goals, time and resource constraints is really amazing. Our apps eliminate every practical excuse for not having the body you want even the most limiting time and resource constraints.”

“We’re building a platform that opens up more opportunity to trainer partners by giving them distribution to a wide user base, and gives our users more targeted and specific workouts to choose from,” continued Gammell. “The personal training industry has historically been limited to people with time and money; we want to make fitness available to anyone with a smart phone and a few bucks.”

The personal training industry is a $7B industry in the US alone and is estimated to grow 30% over the next five years. The average annual spend of a person using a personal trainer is $1,400. GAIN Fitness users have generated over 4M workouts to-date; and on average, GAIN Fitness customers spend $25 each. The company predicts that, with theirs and other new technologies coming onto the market, over 40M US adults will have personal trainers by 2020, a 700% increase and about the same number as US adults who now have gym memberships.

GAIN’s most recent partner is Reed Taylor, who leads bootcamps at Equinox in San Francisco and developed “Method Yoga” after leading international teacher trainings with It’s Yoga for more than a decade. “We are at the cutting edge, where the most transformative content meets the newest technology,” says Reed. “I waited to launch Method Yoga until I found an app partner that has the capability to deliver my content just like I would with my students. To build people from where they are now to advanced levels in a progressive way using modern insights and technologies on devices they’re using every day. No one else is doing it like this. We have the same vision. I couldn’t be more pleased working with the GAIN team.”

To workout with GAIN Fitness, go to: or download the app in the iTunes App Store:

About GAIN Fitness
GAIN Fitness launched in 2011, joining complimentary, fast growing fitness technologies like Nike+, Wii Fit, FitBit and Runkeeper. GAIN partners with cutting-edge fitness experts to deliver personalized, time-efficient workout experiences that fit into busy lifestyles.

Based in San Francisco, GAIN is a small team of designers, developers and data analysts that includes two former Google employees, a former NASA developer, a serial entrepreneur and a body hacker. GAIN is supported by investors and advisors from Google, YouTube, Facebook, PayPal, Crunch Fitness & TRX Training.

We’re excited to push out another HUGE release: GAIN Fitness 4.0 (on iOS). Our guided workout experience is better than ever with three new features:

1. Workout Shares Ever come across a workout and think, “Hey, that would be perfect for so-and-so.” Well, we just made it drop-dead easy to customize and swap workouts with all your friends — via email, text message or Tweet — regardless of their mobile devices (Androiders: we’re lookin’ at you). Our new “Remix” and “Share” features work in tandem to empower your workout sharing. A simple “Edit” button allows you to tweak and design workouts for friends (or trainees). You can add/delete exercises, incorporate circuits, and change sets, reps or rest times. Then choose your share channel and let ‘er rip!

We created a beautiful, interactive workout overview that works across all mobile devices and is useful even before you’ve downloaded the App. Whether it’s a gift or a wakeup call, the more you share, the more fit everyone becomes. It’s a win-win!

2. Workout History  We’ve captured a vast amount of workout data over the past year. But we hadn’t established a clear and simple way to show you all your workout data…until now. Your workout logs will now present as read-only overviews on the “Insights” tab. AKA, you’ll be able to look back at the history of all the workouts you’ve done, the days you did them, and whether or not you hit your rep goals. It’s a great way to keep tabs on your old self. Viva la data!

3. Audio Commands (GAIN Strength)  We’re constantly looking for ways to improve UX and make GAIN easier on both the eyes and brain. We’ve found that, the fewer times you interact with your mobile device, the smoother your workout goes. This holds true whether you’re pulling your iPhone out of your pocket, cocking your head to check your armband, or unsheathing your device from your hip holster (hey, everybody’s got their own style). Our solution: audio commands. We’ve beefed up the audio instruction in “GAIN Strength” (our versatile, freebie version), so the app now calls out sets and reps, rest times, and a host of other cues that rally you through your workout. This makes for a much more hands-free experience. And of course, these commands play nicely with iTunes, ducking your songs gently so you stay in the groove while you get your fit on.

Bonus: We also updated and optimized all our screens for the longer and sharper resolution of iPhone 5 devices.

We regularly receive messages from users ranging from sweetly inquisitive to somewhat threatening in tone.

“Hi there! I’m lovin the app… Great UI and features. Way better than most paid apps! It would be even more awesome if I could customize the workouts or create my own…”

“You REALLY need the ability to allow the user to edit the default sets and reps. I for instance need a 5 set workout, it is impossible to do at this stage. For now I cannot use this…”

The ability to modify GAIN workouts will soon be in your pocket

We’re excited to announce that the “Modify” feature is in the works, and we have screenshots to show for it!

  1. Upon building a system generated workout, users will be able to click on an “Edit” button, which will reveal options to add/delete/change exercises and circuits, and shift around their order:
  2. We’re adding a clean and simple interface for you to search for, browse or select exercises by bodypart and location/equipment filter:
  3. Users will also be able to click on each exercise to edit the sets, reps and rest:

We expect the new Modify feature to go live within the next 3-4 weeks.

So Why did it take so long?

The short answer is: we’ve been very busy working on other stuff. The longer answer has to do with our vision and the natural tension that exists between personal trainers and exercisers in the real world.

At GAIN, our mission is “to be the most personalized, effective and frictionless way to reach your fitness goals.” Our broader vision is to create a platform for fitness where anyone can access expertise from top trainers in a given fitness specialty to become their “digital personal trainer.”

While it feels like we’re still in the 1st Quarter here at GAIN HQ, it was clear that we needed to develop a really robust and flexible architecture for various trainers (who represent different training styles) to plug into, with the ability to handle a vast array of expert recommended, personalized workout experiences. So, for the past year+, we’ve been working primarily on getting the technical details for that right.

A Natural Tension between Trainers & Trainees

Smart trainers have a logical, science-based rationale for every component in a recommended workout program. From exercise selection and ordering, to sets, reps and rests assignment, to workout and recovery days—it’s all drawn from exercise physiology. Many factors go into building an anatomically balanced, goal-specific, highly efficient workout, and we’ve spent a lot of time to codify that all into flexible recommendation algorithms.

Meanwhile the end-users of these so-called “perfect plans,” exercisers themselves, have various reasons for wanting to tweak the details of their workouts. While some reasons are valid, others are problematic.

Good reasons:

  • Avoiding injuries
  • Exercise equipment not available
  • Lack of ability or confidence

Bad reasons:

  • Muscle imbalancing (to an unhealthy extreme)
  • Misconceptions about what’s safe and effective
  • Avoiding the road to progress / Taking the easier route

For these and other reasons, it’s not surprising that exercisers often call for tweaks, while smart trainers generally insist on “doing the workout as written.”

Have your Protein Shake (and Eat it Too!)

So, while we’ve always been planning to do this, only now that we’ve got a strong, expert-grade foundation in place are we ready to embrace workout mods. In fact, we believe this is a critical element for making our system even better (i.e. more personalized, more effective, more frictionless). We know there’s no perfect expert, and we’re banking that smart users who make tweaks will feed good data back into the system. We’ll eventually build the intelligence to learn from all that data (using machine learning techniques), along with various inputs from other fitness experts, and funnel it back into our recommendation system, so that workout generation improves over time. It all comes back to creating a system that builds the best matched workout program for you, based on your body, goals and schedule.

So that’s the scoop. We hope you enjoy these new features, and we’re excited to continue working with you towards a fitter future where you can truly get the body you want with the time and resources you have. One day, we hope fitness will become as simple as turning on your GPS navigation system and following the audio cues and on-screen guidance to safely and effectively arrive at your desired destination.

Want to stay in shape, but don’t have time? Bored with your usual routine? Shake it up with some high intensity intervals and get more results for less time in the gym. Sound too good to be true?

Recent research has shown that you can get many of the same physiological effects from high intensity interval training (HIIT) as you can from more time-consuming, moderate endurance workouts. These effects include fat loss, improved muscle cell function, increased oxygen consumption and improved anaerobic capacity–all for a fraction of the time spent.

What is HIIT?

High intensity interval training is any activity that alternates short bursts of maximal activity with brief periods of low to moderate intensity exercise. For example, a brief interval of fast running followed by an interval of walking, or brief interval of fast cycling alternated with an interval of slower cycling at a recovery pace. The aim is to push yourself beyond upper end of your aerobic zone, which trains both your aerobic and your anaerobic energy systems. On a scale of 1-10 of perceived exertion, high intensity can be considered anything over an effort level of 7.

What are the benefits of HIIT?

Burns more fat. The effect of the brief, intense exertion causes a significant afterburn. That means that your body will continue to burn more calories in the hours following your high intensity workout.

Doesn’t require equipment. HIIT doesn’t require any special equipment. Just put on your running shoes. Even simpler, you can do any plyometric exercise like jumping lunges or jumping jacks.

Saves time. For example, one study showed that 20 minutes of HIIT three times a week was found to be comparable to multiple, hour-long sessions of moderate endurance exercise, even though the HIIT workouts involved about 90% less exercise time. In both cases, exercise performance was increased. (Little, 2010)

How to do HIIT

Read More

Most of the fitness programs on the market today take a one-size-fits-all approach.  The overweight office worker just starting out should follow the same exact routine as the advanced athlete?  Yup.

There are two major problems with this approach, and it’s the reason why most programs on the market fail to produce real results:

  1. The program is not appropriately matched to a person’s specific GOAL.
  2. The program is not appropriately matched to a person’s specific LEVEL.


The market for “fitness that works for anyone” is large, and many DVD makers and group exercise instructors have pushed this approach for years. The problem is, this market is non-existent, despite what the infomercial makers have trained us to believe.

Many uninformed trainers make the same mistake:

  1. The boot camper who has you do every gut-busting drill he can think of just because he’s so darn tough.
  2. The meathead or fitness diva who has you train 4 hours a day and “squat til you puke”.
  3. The functional guy who has you do every complex exercise on a balance ball, even though you have no need to function like a circus performer.

Are you working out to impress people or get results?  “Getting your butt kicked” is much different than a properly targeted and progressive plan—one that actually helps you gradually develop your gluteal muscles, for example, if that’s what you’re going for.


That’s where GAIN is different.  Not only does it match your training program to your goals, time parameters and available equipment, but it also matches your program to your training level.

We have 5 different user levels, and we’re building progressions into each one, which means we have the right programs for you—from complete beginner to advanced athlete, and everyone in between. And we’re constantly tuning and tweaking our levels and workout recommendations, based on real workout data.

Don’t misunderstand us, your workouts should be challenging, but within the confines of the appropriate level.  And we’ll work with you to progress you as you “level-up,” introducing new, more advanced exercises, adding reps and volume and intensity, but only when you’re ready. You’ll “learn as you do,” and eventually you end up a fitness expert yourself.

Today we welcome DeAnn Teixeira as a first time guest blogger. DeAnn is a certified trainer (NSCA) and Wellness Coach (WellCoaches) who does training and nutrition coaching in Menlo Park, California.

DeAnn Teixeira

Let’s face it, after a while our fitness routine feels a little…routine. That push we count on from our inner athlete seems to feel more like a nudge. We start to worry that we’ll slip and turn into a couch potato. It doesn’t take an Olympian to know that our minds and bodies are good at adapting to a routine, then quickly get bored. Whether we are exceptional athletes or weekend warriors, we need to beat the boredom–to shake it up and regain our fitness momentum.

Here are a few tips to propel you over that ho-hum hump:

1. A Little Goes A Long Way
By increasing your workouts by 10% each week, you’ll challenge your body and mind to stay focused. I.e. If you do 40lb dumbbell chest presses at 12 rep max sets, try 45lb dumbbells at 8-12 rep max sets the following week.

2. Stop The “All Or Nothing” Attitude
If one day of running and two days of weight training is all you can commit to, so be it. Good things can come in small packages. Plus, down the road, you may find time to add more.

3. Have Fun!
Health and fitness are a lifetime commitment, so find workouts that you look forward to. Check out dance lessons, recruit a fitness partner, or sign up for an adventure race.

4. Set Goals, Not Limits
Each workout should have a purpose. You could plan to run 10% further for every 30 minutes you hit the pavement. Or, maybe you want to burn an additional hundred calories at your next exercise class.

The sky is the limit when it comes to spicing up our fitness regimens. We all need something new to keep our body and mind interested, and to avoid that comfy spot on the couch. Figure out what’s going to get you going. Then look your “inner athlete” in the eye and say its time to get back to it…no push required.

If you’re having trouble gaining muscle through strength training, it’s because IT’S HARD TO GAIN MUSCLE THROUGH STRENGTH TRAINING. It takes time, people. You’re attempting to transform your body. Give it a second! (Or really, a few weeks at the very least.)

The problem is: Going to the gym and doing a bunch of random exercises (re: following the latest training fad) is NOT going to cut it. True body change requires serious effort, consistency and, most importantly, proper programming.

But alas, there’s good news. Despite this hard reality, you are not doomed to spend the rest of your life in Puneyville! With proper targeted training, you will see results.


Most often, when someone says “I just can’t build muscle; no matter what I do”, it comes down to the fact that their training program (diet & exercise) is not aligned with their goals. For example, if your goal is to build visual muscle mass (aka “hypertrophy,” in trainer geek-speak), you need to train specifically for that.
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