Photos: High-tech workout for teens
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Overtime, one of the country’s first teenager-only gyms, opens this Saturday in Mountain View, Calif., and plays up virtual-reality fitness. Unlike a Gold’s or the YMCA, Overtime restricts access to members ages 13 to 18–little kids and parents must wait in the lobby.
Overtime is located off Highway 101 in Mountain View, Calif., a stone’s throw from the Googleplex, a Togo’s sandwich shop, a WiFi-enabled Starbucks and a Gold’s Gym (where the older set works out).
Inside, the club has a rock-climbing wall, high-definition flat-screen TVs, weight-training gear, two classrooms for yoga and kickboxing, a TV lounge and a health-food cafe. The “Flex Arcade” lets kids play Xbox 360 games by using their body as the joystick, working out their abs and upper body.
The Cybex Trazer is an interactive virtual-reality machine. The player first puts on a belt, which includes an infrared sensor that can track his or her movements and heart rate. The video game “Jump Explosion” encourages the player to jump up to hit balls that appear on an overhead video screen, scoring points when the virtual version of the player reaches a ball. The workout builds cardio and muscle strength.
To enter the private space, teens must be identified by thumbprint, with a biometric reader (pictured), which calls up a photo of the member on a PC screen and unlocks the door to the gym.
Spark bikes, shown here, were developed by Silicon Valley start-up Expresso Fitness. The stationary bike includes virtual-reality software and a Web-based tracking system so that two riders can race each other on the same 3D course. Cyclists must steer their stationary bike in order to stay on the virtual-reality road, and if a course goes uphill, gears will naturally tighten. rn
rnThe machine also tracks cyclists’ heart rate, speed, elevation and calories burned. Players can plug in their iPods, too.
Teens can boogie by playing Roxor’s “In the Groove 2” arcade game, which is much like “Dance Dance Revolution,” but with more music, according to Patrick Ferrell, CEO and founder of Overtime. Kids move their feet constantly to keep pace with the beat.
Kids can sculpt their abs and upper body on the Exer-station Pro, otherwise known as the Kilowatt Station. The system, which is hooked up to an Xbox 360 and a high-definition TV, essentially forces the player to be a full-body joystick, using the abs and upper body to move a virtual player in the game.