Real Guy Fitness

UX Design
Developed in a customized software.
Arduino electronics.





My goal is to make fitness routine top-of-mind as a male’s daily routine while empowering teenage male through femnist activism.

Design Question: How weightlifting can influence the interaction of associate content? 

New York Times post a news titled ”masculinity in a spray” in 2015. Teenage male used beauty products to establish masculine traits insteading of showing off muscles.

Design Solution:
Real Guy Fitness sourced the social media personal stories on Tumblr and provides a dedicated training environment for sensitive male to man themselves up. Regular modes. The user follows the video to conduct the fitness experience & call out the vocal cues such as “rose hurricane”, “love yourself” and “Take care”. In challenge mode, the user can hold the dumbbell as long as they can. The social media post appears when the user holds the weight. 

This interactive  experience is intended to make users feel strong about themselves through physical and mental exercises.



1. Integrate curated social media posts.
Curate social media posts around a positive theme. 

The motion graphic below shows how curated social media posts could be integrated into an interactive user interface for dumbbell curling.

2. Incorporate positive “life quote”
Postive “life quote”
is the vocalization cues. When reading out by user during dumbell curling, it becomes the self-talk and build up the strength.

The wireframes below highlights how positive “life quote” is embeded within interactive user interface.

3. Structure two fitness experiences

There are two interactive modes: regular mode & challenge mode. Regular mode is designed to lead users to read out keywords and light lifting. Challenge mode is designed to bring out a strenuous fitness experience.

The image below shows the behavioral difference between two modes.

4. Distinct graphical difference between two fitness modes
Regular mode is designed to remember postive “life quote”. Social media posts appear together. It’s brainwashing. Challenge mode is designed to challenge the user physcially and mentally, it is necessary to finished the reading of one post, which takes 6-10s for one post. 

The image below shows the visual difference of consuming social media post.

Regular Mode Graphics

Social media posts appear together.
The user focuses on the flashy “life quote”.
Challenge Mode Graphics
The social media post is present until the dumbbell is lowered. It appears one by one.

5. Other functional details to elevate fitness experience.
Besides using a visual arm to embody the user into interactive experience, this system incorporates the visual instruction for inhale & exhale, and vocalization cues. Augumented graphics on the self-reflection makes the fitness experience playful and immersive.

The image below shows how these functional features mentioan above are embeded visually.


What if it installed at home?

The images below constructs a story: a sensitive male uses Real Guy Fitness system as a daily ritual after school.

Ideal physical components

The image below shows the ideal physical components to make this interactive concept to life. 

System diagrams

If we curated social media posts based on different themes & topics, we can still use this interactive functions to make a person feel stronger.

The image below shows the general design components to craft this social media empowering fitness experice.

Collage style is designed to keep social media posts feel authentic and original. Use weight to manupilate the interaction of associate content. If it is causal work but we highlight the key word, the user will remember it step by step. It influences the unconscious level. When it comes to strentous experience, the user would appreciate the associate way much more. When the physcial elements are incorporate into the interaction, it feels engaging , rewarding and memorable.

Real Guy Fitness: "You can still be a man" explored the tension between physical body image, embodied visuals, and teenage fears, within the ways youth consume social media content. Paying explicit attention to the fear of "less-man figure" and construction of teenage psychology, this project speaks to the fragility of adolescent masculinity and identity confusion in high school.


1. Indirect measure elbow movement
Benefit: Focus on interactive experience.  Distance sensor is reliable than flex sensor. The data is steady. 

The image below shows how to use distance sensor to measure elbow movement. 

2. Use Projection
Benefit: Play with the size of user interface. It makes spatial arrangement of physcial equipments easily. 

The image below shows the minium setup to bring this interactive experience to life.

The image below shows the proper prototype environment based on two key points mentioned above.


Prototype I
1.  Experiment with diffent visual contents
Prototype I is designed to create an engaging method for weight-lifting experience rather than using work-out music. 

Discover: Using text
The idea of using text-based reading experience is to give our brain an extra task to focus on rather than paying explicit attention to the pain of lifting.

Prototype II
2. Experiment with wording.
Prototype II is designed to discover which platform has stronger emotional attatchment with the millennial user. I experimented with implementing a platform via an e-newspaper, different social media apps, online diaries, and poems.

Discover: Using social media.
Discover: #masculinitysofragile #toxicmasculine
Feminists love social media post curated by #maculinitysofragile. It makes them feel rewarding and strong. Can it make sensitive male feel strong as well? 

Prototype III
3. Curated social media posts based on point of view 
& Reach out to fitness goers who are not interested in masculinity topic.
Prototype III is designed to discover what it means for other users besides feminists. I mainly curated two sessions: first session is based on hegemonic male’s voices on masculinity. Another one is other voices on masculinity. These voices are all pulling from #masculinitysofragile, #manisgreat, #toxicmasculinity.

Discover: Social media posts should be curated based on theme.
Discover: People love using a single arm as the avatar rather than a whole body.
Discover: Aggressive
tone of social media posts.
For the regular users, it is an educational experience for masculinity.

It makes sensitive male user feel uncomfortable if he can identify the arm avatar is from female. Extra muscular arm makes them feel uncomfortable as well. But there is an arm almost everyone would like to fitness with is the one I used for my final.


The images below shows how I installed see-through mirror to bring fitness experience to life. 

The image below shows the process of picking an arm. Use tape to define the area of visual display.

The image below shows how the present audiences may react to this interactive graphical fitness experience.

The image below shows how I used paper mock to attach sensor to the tester’s elbow.

The image below shows how I directed the tester to use the system.