Four Canadian Startups Creating the Future of Fitness

As obesity rates reach all-time highs, a new culture of health and fitness is emerging to rally against sedentary lifestyles.

Fuelled by new technology and the rise of the “quantified self,” the future of fitness combines apps and analytics with good old-fashioned iron pumping to deliver optimal workouts and the motivation necessary to pull them off.

The next generation of exercising is here. Below are a handful of Canadian startups who are making it happen.


For people who are inclined to skip a gym day or two when they’re feeling lazy, PumpUp may be one of the apps that can keep you motivated. Using the same sort of motivational power that a gym buddy might give you, the app acts as a social community for workout enthusiasts and encourages them to follow other users, upload pictures after workouts and even create custom workouts for themselves that other users can see if they choose to make it public.


Targeted at gyms and their trainers, Gymtrack products are composed of an ecosystem of three devices: a smart pin attachment that replaces current pins on weight stack machines and detects the weight, reps and sets you’ve done; a barbell attachment that tracks how much weight you’ve done; and a wearable that detects what exercises are being done and counts reps for dumbbell, barbell and body weight exercises. By keeping track of the progress of members, the devices allow trainers in the gym to monitor progress and provide feedback.


It’s similar to Instagram in that you can like, comment and follow people, but what makes OneSet unique is their helpful categorization model for people building workouts. Rather than sifting through hashtags in Instagram, which can be messy and include irrelevant pictures of people with protein shakes, users can explore workouts based on categories like muscle group, or by workout style like fat-burning, yoga, power lifting and crossfit. They can then customize their own playlists to suit them, and because the app is community-driven, popular workouts are pushed to the top.


An “iTunes of fitness” app that targets gym trainers and fitness enthusiasts. Users can follow trainers that inspire them, go to their “workout store” where they can purchase published workouts based on individual goals (which start at 99 cents) and users can even request customized workouts and meal plans from trainers. They also offer free workouts from trainers that can be unlocked by sharing with friends.

With files from Jessica Galang.