Gym-goers are no stranger to the disappointment that arises when they arrive to a packed room with no free machines. Because if they had known it would be that busy, they would have come at a different time. And in the Digital Age, why shouldn’t they be armed with this information? Soon, students at colleges and universities around the country could have that very opportunity thanks to GymSnap, a Boston-built app that analyzes athletic facilities’ traffic in real time, giving users a snapshot of their gym at any given time.
The idea for GymSnap came to co-founder David Stanton, a Colby College alum and current DraftKings customer experience associate, when he himself found the weight rooms and basketball courts were already full after he’d walked all the way to Colby’s athletic center. He wondered: Why couldn’t there be a better way for students to see if the gym was busy ahead of time?
Making fitness less frustrating
By the end of 2014, he had built the basic wireframes for the app and began conducting research at schools around New England. When he brought it up to high school friend Joe Rockland—who is based in Washington, D.C.—he was just as enthusiastic about the concept, so Rockland came on as a consultant, and shortly thereafter became a co-founder. Currently, Stanton is working on GymSnap in the mornings and after he gets home from his customer experience day job at DraftKings.
“Once we started to move along with our idea we quickly realized we needed to make a key decision – to hire developers or learn to code ourselves,” Stanton told BostInno in an email interview. “While I think coding is a really awesome skill, and I have plans to learn how to code, I was way too excited to get the idea off the ground. My co-founder and I quickly realized we could best serve the student populations at colleges by hiring developers and focusing our efforts on forming partnerships with colleges and universities.”
Gaining traction through local schools
Here’s how it works. If a student’s school has partnered with GymSnap, they will find a page for that college or university’s gym on the app along with a wealth of general information about it, including hours of operation and a calendar with upcoming events. They can also see how busy all facilities are, such as the weights room, basketball courts, squash courts and pool. Users may also receive messages from their schools so as to stay up-to-date on everything happening at their rec centers.
Until now, GymSnap has been in private beta, but was unveiled to the public at the Massachusetts Association for Recreational Sports Workshop at Salem State University June 24. Stanton says that he plans to launch the app at a handful of schools in New England and the Mid-Atlantic just in time for the upcoming academic year. The ultimate goal? To get GymSnap at every college in the U.S.
“We’re working on creating a more personalized experience,” added Stanton. “We want to go beyond just information and help students connect better with each other … That’s probably what I’m looking forward to the most – gaining insight from our first year to find out the ways we can best serve the students and their universities.”
All images provided by GymSnap.