SUNY New Paltz students now have the convenience of planning their time at the gym right at their fingertips.
Introducing upace: a free fitness app to help students and gym-goers alike stay “engaged and motivated by [their] recreation center,” according to its website. The app currently has locations at 17 different facilities in the United States and Canada, at both university and non-university recreation centers.
Thanks to Keith Kenney, Director of Wellness and Recreation, upace launched on the SUNY New Paltz campus on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Created and founded by American University graduate Rachel Koretsky in 2014, upace was envisioned after feeling constant frustration when going to the gym, whether it be having to wait for machines or being too late to sign up for a fitness class.
According to Kenney, the upace app allows students and athletic faculty to see the gym’s hours of operations each day. It also allows them to see how busy the facilities are in real time, between the Elting Gym and the Athletic & Wellness Center (AWC) East and West curves. The capacity of all of the facilities are tallied each half hour, with the app figuring the percentage per room.
“People can see how busy the gym is at certain times, and can see if that might dictate when they want to come work out,” Kenney said. “Some people like it really busy and others like it empty.”
In addition, the app yields descriptions of all fitness classes and allows students and AWC members to reserve a spot the day of. The previous policy for class sign-up was to come in 30 minutes prior and reserve a spot in person.
“This nails down your spot, and you can unreserve it if you so choose,” Kenney said. “This allows the instructor to know how many people are coming, tracks the usage of group exercise classes better and lets us know which classes are popular.”
Along with these features, upace sends its users fitness class reminders and cancellations as well as gym closings and special event announcements. Although there is already an option for it, there are no available equipment rentals right now. However, according to Kenney, this may be a possible feature at SUNY New Paltz in the future.
For active gym-goers like third-year communication disorders major Caity Fischer, knowing how crowded the gym will be is helpful in planning workout time as well as knowing when machines may be available. She also enjoys upace’s class reservation feature, citing popular classes like cycling or yoga, which fill up quickly. As a pilates instructor, Fischer also finds it helpful that upace tells her how many people sign up for her class.
“[This feature] is nice because I can see how many spots are taken,” she said. “If it’s a larger class size I can plan accordingly to that and if it’s not, I can do more [personalized exercises].”
For the future, Fischer suggests a student roster and photo feature showing instructors the names and faces of those going to their classes, as professors do for each of their academic classes. This could help with becoming more personal with students, she said. Her other suggestions include allowing students to enter their skill level, letting instructors know the difficulty they could make their classes that day and whether they need to incorporate modifications, as well as a “chat” option allowing gym-goers to find a buddy to work out with.
As a new app on campus, Kenney said there is certainly more to come for upace, and in turn, the AWC.
“It’s a young app, so there is a lot of room for it to grow,” he said. “I think [Rachel’s] team and her company are motivated to keep adding to it, and we’re hoping to grow with it as the years go on.”
This story first appeared in The New Paltz Oracle on Feb. 9, 2017.