You may feel good about your gym routine, but wouldn’t you feel better if you were saving the environment at the same time?
Inside a converted storage warehouse in Sacramento sits a unique fitness center called Sacramento Eco Fitness. It includes all the equipment you’d expect find a typical gym, including free weights, battle ropes, sleds, medicine balls, and more. Upstairs, you’ll find what appears to be a regular cycling studio — but upon closer inspection, these bikes come with an added bonus: a kinetic converter to turn their movement into electricity.
The gym, which runs on clients’ energy output from those convertors, calls itself “the first human powered fitness facility in California.”
“Everything we do, every movement we make, every step we take is kinetic energy being produced,” Jose Avina, co-founder of the gym, told Energy Upgrade California in a recent video. “Why not harness that energy?”
To capture that energy, Avina utilizes equipment like the SportsArt Fitness cycles, which cost between $1,000 to $3,000 apiece and come with a converter that allows the gym to store the energy you are producing with each pedal stroke.
According to Avina, the move to eco-friendly bikes helped them drop their electric bill from $680 a month to just $30. One cycling class can power two refrigerators for an entire day.
“The goal one day is to power a city,” Avina said.
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Working out and making gains is important to the gym’s members—but they also embrace its mission to make the world a better, more efficient place.
“The thing that keeps me coming back is the ability to contribute to the sustainability project and putting my workouts to some greater good,” gym member Kasmian Campa added in the video. “It helps you appreciate the energy in a tangible way because you are putting in a lot of work. You see the numbers go up and it really helps you appreciate how much energy it takes to run a house.”
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The gym’s co-founder doesn’t think that he’ll be the only self-powered fitness box on the block for very long. “I believe that the future of the eco-gyms and green technology is just getting starting, it’s just now blooming,” Avila said.
Though the green gym movement isn’t exactly widespread yet, there are a few boutique offerings around the country, including The Green Microgym in Oregon, which also comes with bikes and ellipticals that can transform human energy into electricity.
That’s not to say there won’t be more coming. According to a 2016 survey by SportsArt, 62.4 percent of consumers prefer to work out at a gym if it uses environmentally-friendly equipment and more than 63 percent of consumers claimed they would be more motivated to push themselves during workouts if they knew their energy was converted into electricity.
This survey should be taken with a grain of salt because it was conducted by the manufacturer of eco-friendly bikes, but it’s still a pretty solid indication that people who want to get swole want their workouts to benefit the greater good, too.
If you’re looking to get in a green workout now, but don’t have an eco-friendly gym nearby there is one solution: Go free-range with your routine by working out in the great outdoors, sans equipment. Here are some equipment-free workouts you can do just about anywhere to help get you started.
By Stacey Leasca