ANALYZING THE POTENTIAL TO COMBINE ENERGY GENERATING TECHNOLOGIES WITH STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCISE MACHINES
Our energy intensive lifestyle is damaging to ourselves and the environment. The developed world has established an intricate energy sector that is dependent on fossil fuels which relentlessly releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere leading to climate altering impacts and environmental degradation. Americans, in particular, have used this development to become more sedentary and ultimately unhealthier. This research project is aimed at realizing the potential to electrify the fitness industry by examining the potential to make strength training exercise machines a distributed energy source. In this project, three designs were analyzed to understand their unique drivetrain components and how they operate. These designs include the SportsArt ECO-POWR G575R Recumbent Cycle, the NordicTrack Fusion CST, and Tonal. The research uncovered that there is a shift away from traditional, real weights to the use of magnetic resistance to provide the resistive force for cardio and strength training exercise machines. Interestingly, the magnetic resistance component allows for the designs to harness some of the mechanical energy from the user’s workout and convert it to usable electricity; however, the electricity produced from this process was usually wasted as heat which raises the prospect of improving the design to capture that electricity. This research project found there was an adequate amount of potential to alter the designs of strength training machines to be net suppliers of electricity which could result in not only contributing to a healthier population, but this could also promote a more sustainable lifestyle.