I’m a mediocre runner at best, and I’ve taken to blaming that on the dearth of idyllic running spots in my particular corner of New Jersey. For schlubs like me, the key to true fitness may lay in something like FitTrip, a Kickstarter project that vows to liven up the experience of working out indoors.
The concept is a simple one: FitTrip is an app for your iPad that attempts to simulate the experience of running down a trail in Utah or zipping along on a bike in the Rocky Mountains from the safety of a treadmill or stationary bike. Once you lash your tablet to the workout contraption of your choice and fire up the app, you’re given the option to choose from a slew of locales to immerse yourself in. From there, you’re treated to a video of your chosen course to take your mind off the intense physical discomfort you’re feeling — throw in a few electric fans to simulate the wind whipping your hair around and it’s almost like you’re enjoying the great outdoors indoors.
Sadly, FitTrip can’t actually control your workout equipment, so there’s no way to automatically ramp up the resistance to match the intensity of the setting you’ve chosen. The team has cooked up a pretty savvy solution though — the app is capable of connecting with a handful of popular heart rate monitors, so the harder you work out, the faster your heart beats, and the quicker the video plays. The end result (they hope) is an experience that manages to approximate the sensation of exercising in a gorgeous foreign locale, or at least distracts you from the drudgery of your surroundings.
The FitTrip app is still in beta so it’s hard to get a feel for just how immersive these videos can actually be, but at the very least they’ll be better than watching Judge Judy reruns on a 6-inch television screen mounted on an elliptical at your local gym. Access to all these trips comes at a price, though: after the Kickstarter campaign wraps up, curious consumers will have to pay $5.99/month to access FitTrip’s library of scenic videos. Naturally, early backers can lock up longer-term subscriptions at lower rates — $25 will nab you a six-month package, with deals getting sweeter the higher you climb up the backer spectrum. Fortunately, the FitTrip campaign has already blown past its $7,500 funding goal in under a week, which means backers should receive their doses of digital escapism in a few short months.