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Web Exclusive - March 2017

SUNY New Paltz Gets a Jump on Fitness

By Deborah L. Vence


Students at the State University of New York at New Paltz, also known as SUNY New Paltz, are taking advantage of a new fitness app. Called upace, the new mobile app provides users with greater control over their exercise and provides data to operators of fitness and recreation facilities so that they can create a more convenient exercise experience. The app was launched on the campus in late January.

"Upace is the first customizable mobile fitness platform that focuses on improving facility usage while concurrently enabling direct, remote communication with members. Facility usage is a core indicator of success for most recreation centers and gyms," said Rachel Koretsky, founder of upace, who said the name reflects the belief that fitness is about finding your own pace—the schedule, mix of classes, types of equipment, etc., that work for you.

"It reflects member engagement and operations performance, both of which have substantial implications for revenue," she said. "Being able to seamlessly collect data that empowers substantiated operational decisions—like hours and staffing—as well as effective marketing strategies—like how and when to communicate with members—is a huge advantage."

She added, "The platform automates data collection for quick analytics to ensure you are continually enhancing the member experience. Plus, members are primed for engagement because the upace app gives them a new level of control over their fitness routines with occupancy, scheduling, reservation and other functions."

The goal at SUNY New Paltz is to give the students the ability to take control of their fitness lifestyle with absolute ease.

Koretsky explained that the upace occupancy feature automates fitness counts for facility directors and managers while communicating real-time information to members about how crowded the center is overall, as well as in specific areas like the gym, basketball courts, studios and pool.

"Members rely on this feature to find their optimal workout time. Some people prefer a crowded gym because they're more motivated when surrounded by others who are exercising, or they want some social time to be part of their visit," she said. "Others may be shy, or feel more focused or more comfortable in a sparsely populated gym. Whatever the member's preference, upace helps them match it."

The professional staff uses upace's occupancy data to make informed operational decisions on hours, programming, staffing and expansion.

In a January press release, Koretsky stated that "Our goal at SUNY New Paltz is to give the student body the ability to take control of their fitness lifestyle with absolute ease and convenience, while empowering the administration with concrete tools and data to enhance operations."

The upace app is available in Apple and Google Play stores and is free to SUNY New Paltz students, faculty, staff and alumni. The company and the university worked closely to customize the application, ensuring that it meets the university's specifications and the needs of its fitness center users.