Meet Your Makers: Easy Intervals

Product: Easy Intervals
Maker: Erik Hjertholm, CEO, and Founder of Easy Intervals

Photo courtesy of Easy Intervals

– When did you start and what gave you the inspiration to create your product? 

The idea behind Easy Intervals came when I was doing my previous master’s degree. The thesis we wrote was very big and challenging and it made it hard to find time to work out. I then started doing a lot of research into what’s the most efficient way of staying in shape, and I was quite disappointed when I discovered that High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) was the answer, as I really hate interval training.

There is a ton of research proving that Interval training is one of the best things you can do for your body, but there are so many things you have to pay attention to while doing it, and it’s really hard to find the right resistance to keep you in the different zones you’re supposed to be in, as well as figuring out what type of interval you should do. I decided to find a solution to these problems combining what I already knew about electronics and automation with the latest research on the topic.

– Do you consider yourself a ‘maker’? Do you make other things outside of this? 

I would definitely consider myself a maker. As long as I can remember I have opened things and put them together in new ways to solve some kind of problem I had. Like when I was a kid my older brother didn’t wake up from his alarm, but I did. I took some parts from the garage and an electric motor and made a contraption that shock his whole bed in the morning. It worked like a charm, and I was never bothered by his alarm again. I must have made hundreds of small contraptions like this, and although most of them were merely a curiosity or something just for fun, it thought me a lot about how to make stuff and this has helped me a lot in developing Easy Intervals.

Photo: Torleif Kvinnesland

– Tell us a little more about the product: what makes it unique, where it is made and any special techniques? 

We decided to make a system for exercise bikes first, and after a lot of prototyping, hundreds of 3D-prints and consultation with doctors, exercise scientists, physiotherapists and professors in cybernetics and automation, we now have a working prototype as well as a letter of intent from a potential customer in the field of physiotherapy.

It really makes for a whole new experience when it comes to interval training, as it tackles all the negative aspects of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a top athlete or have never worked out before as it automatically adjusts itself to your individual fitness level and takes care of everything during the whole workout, even how fast you should pedal. One of the best features of the system is that although it makes sure you reach the required heart rate that is needed, it actually won’t allow you to do more than what is necessary. Intervals really can’t get any easier than this, and I’ve actually started to like them!

– What has the area of Trøndelag bring to your making? Could this be possible anywhere else? Would it look different if it was? 

The development of Easy Intervals would have been really hard to do anywhere else than here. The combination of scientists at the Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) at St Olavs Hospital, professors and experts at NTNU and maker spaces like the Omega workshop supplied both the necessary knowledge and means to develop something like this. It really is a multidisciplinary project that requires expertise in many different fields, and all of them can be found right here.

Photo: Torleif Kvinnesland

– And is there something unique to the people behind it and outsider wouldn’t necessarily know, but is cool?

We are extremely stubborn! Not many people know how much effort is required to start a new company, but it is challenging in every way imaginable as you have to learn everything at once and make hard decisions every day. This requires a dedication and stubbornness you don´t find in most people. Although starting a company undoubtedly is really hard, it is also the most rewarding thing I have ever done, so it kind of balances out.

Where can we find you online?

Our website is easy-intervals.com