No pain, no gain, right? At this gym, the new mantra may be “no pain, no power.” Just as the Sustainable Dance Club is turning dance steps into energy, French inventor Lucien Gambarota and Wharton grad and entrepreneur Doug Woodring are bringing clean, sustainable energy to the gym using good old-fashioned manpower. The two have joined forces with Hong Kong’s California Fitness, a subsidiary of 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, to launch a revolutionary concept in which energy burned off by exercisers is diverted and converted to power lighting fixtures, while excess energy is stored in a battery. The gym’s 13 step, cycling and cross-training machines in the “Powered by YOU” program are popular with members. As gym member Rita Wong states, “It’s very good motivation. You can watch yourself burning fat to turn on the light.”
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According to Steve Clinefelter, President of California Fitness, “One person has the ability of producing 50 watts of electricity per hour when exercising at a moderate pace….If a person spends one hour per day running on the machine, he/she could generate 18.2 kilowatts of electricity and prevent 4,380 liters of CO2 released per year.” We love the idea of burning calories in order to NOT burn fossil fuels. The “Powered by YOU” program enables users to improve their health and the environment—one step at a time.