Canadian-made Mobile App Pump Up Helps Users Get Fit on Their Own Terms

Posted by Jared Lindzon

Want to get fit but don’t know where to begin? No problem. Don’t have much time? Don’t sweat it. Don’t have access to equipment? That’s all right. You can still reach your fitness goals with the help of Pump Up.

Though there are approximately 13,000 health and fitness apps available in the iTunes App Store alone, none can offer a customizable workout plan quite like Pump Up.

Upon opening the iOS app users will be asked to enter in basic data, such as age, weight, and gender, as well as their workout goals, the equipment they have access to (either at home or at a gym), and the amount of time they can dedicate to each workout. Pump Up then builds a customized workout plan, including graphics and images that help instruct users on how to do each exercise properly.

Garett Gottlieb, CEO and cofounder of Pump Up, says the idea came to him while looking for new exercises to add to his routine. An avid gym goer and Computer Science student at the University of Waterloo, Gottlieb naturally looked to the App Store to help build his exercise regimen, but was disappointed by what he found.

“All the apps I found were either exercise libraries or lists of workouts, and none of them really fit me,” Gottlieb explains.

Though Gottlieb was able to find endless lists of exercises he could try, there was no way to know which one would help him achieve his fitness goals. That’s when he got to work building Pump Up.

“The real difference with our app is that we understand that people don't really know what they're doing, and if they don't know what they're doing how can they know which exercise they should do?” Gottlieb explains. “That's a big barrier for people.”

Gottlieb later took his idea for a customizable workout application to the University of Waterloo’s VeloCity incubator, where he was given some startup capital and the opportunity to dedicate one semester of his fourth year building the application.

Today, Pump Up has been downloaded 15,000 times, but Gottlieb believes that number will skyrocket this fall when a “really good episode” of Dragon’s Den airs. Though Gottlieb can’t reveal the outcome of his meeting with the Dragons, he promises that he “put on quite a show,” and expects another 10,000 to 50,000 downloads as a result.

Before that episode airs Gottlieb is concentrating on introducing the app on Android devices, and implement a social feature that will allow users to share their workout progress via social media.

Those willing to shell out $5 a month or $30 a year for premium features can essentially have access to a pocket personal trainer, which uses the phone’s accelerometer to count reps and a voice coach to encourage users to push through their last few lifts.

Since the app comes with instructions for how to execute 500 different exercises—a number Gottlieb hopes to double before summer’s end—users can customize their workout plan to only include exercises they are comfortable with, while still achieving their fitness goals. The app practices the lean lifestyle it preaches, explains Gottlieb, because unlike other workout applications that require hundreds of MB of space, Pump Up only downloads the exercises you use, keeping the initial download at about 20 or 30 MB.

So whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds before beach season or bulk up before a big wedding, Pump Up will build a customized workout plan to help you achieve your fitness goals.

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Jared Lindzon

Jared Lindzon

Jared Lindzon holds a MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario, as well as a BA in media studies, and a minor in creative writing. As a freelance journalist, he is regularly featured in the small business and tech sections of the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. He also covers breaking news for the National Post in and around his native city of Toronto, and contributes to a... more



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