Lithuania’s Trainer X: Disrupting the gym

Lithuanian start-up Trainer X has teamed up with Kaunas Science and Technology Park’s EVOLUT 4.0 programme in order to pursue its goal of disrupting the fitness industry with a new wearable product that could make personal trainers obsolete.

Trainer X’s products are essentially workout gear: a long sleeve shirt and a pair of trainers. But what separates them from other gym gear are the six sensors which record body movement and other parameters. A companion app then interprets all the data and provides real-time training instructions for the wearer.

“Generally speaking, it is a virtual personal trainer, which, based on the physiological reaction of the body in real-time will select the most suitable physical activity, adjust the bio-mechanics of exercises and movements, and ensure a safe and effective training process,” says Mindaugas Balčiūnas, one of the co-founders of the start-up.

According to the start-up’s founders, the need for such a product comes from simple statistics about fitness and gyms, not least the fact that nearly 50 per cent of gym goers drop out after less than two months of membership. One of the main reasons for quitting is a lack of proper training support, and hiring a personal trainer can be prohibitively expensive for many people.

“In order for a person to feel supported during workouts, to see the training results and tangible progress, a trainer is needed. However, not everyone can afford to hire a personal trainer. In fact, stats suggest that only one in ten visitors to a sports club hires a trainer,” says Mr Balčiūnas.

“Therefore, the idea was born to create a technology that could be a personal trainer, which is always near and closely follows your body’s reactions.”

Current solutions for real time tracking of physical activity at the level Trainer X hopes to reach are too expensive for mass market use, and targeted mainly at the specialised sports research and sports medicine sectors. So the company wants to simplify this technology and bring it to the mass market where any ordinary gym goer could benefit from it.

Right now, Trainer X is testing its prototypes and is looking to gradually move towards the commercialisation stage. It is proving to be an interesting, albeit difficult, challenge, according to Mr Balčiūnas.

“The main lesson we learned very quickly when working on the virtual trainer was that well-functioning stand-alone technologies may not work so well when combined into one integrated circuit,” he explains.

With the EVOLUT 4.0 programme to help them along the way, the process could speed up. This leadership and new product development programme teaches start-up founders how to solve problems: both technological and operational.

“We are very satisfied with the EVOLUT 4.0 programme, its content, lecturers, and organisation. In general, I would say that this is a compulsory basic course for any start-up creator,” Mr Balčiūnas says.

The road ahead for the fledgling wearables start-up includes the smooth completion of its prototype, bringing it to market and finding investment so that this Lithuanian-made virtual fitness trainer can become a common sight in the gyms of the world.

More sweat, it could be said.

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