NU students work on data tracking app for the weightlifting community


Illustration by Pavan Acharya

NU graduate student Scott Tsangeos is developing Project Olympus as an accessible app for weightlifters to track their workouts and data. An early version of the app is expected to be released in 2025.

Jack Austin, Senior Staffer

Dual degree M.B.A. and M.S. Design Innovation student Scott Tsangeos and a team of Northwestern students are currently developing Project Olympus, an accessible app for users to track and share weightlifting metrics.

Tsangeos, a personal trainer and self-described “gym rat,” said he was frustrated by the lack of effective apps available for the weightlifting community. He then assembled a team of innovators through The Garage to create an app to fill the void.

With several beta versions to be rolled out over the next few years, Tsangeos said he hopes an early version can be launched in 2025. 

While researching for the project, Tsangeos said he interviewed about 50 weightlifters and found just 10% used existing apps to track workout data. Most used Excel, a physical journal or the notes app on their phones.

“That tells me something’s clearly wrong with the way that these apps are designed,” Tsangeos said. “What we’ve found in looking at a lot of these is they’re not as flexible as we need in the gym. They’re not as customizable as what athletes need.”

Head of app development and McCormick sophomore Matt Lee said a main source of app inflexibility is paywalls. To remedy this, all basic Project Olympus features will be free, and users will be able to purchase deeper data analytics for a small monthly subscription, he said. 

Tsangeos also plans to host weightlifting influencers who can sell their workouts on the app. 

Multiple team members said they were inspired by Strava, an exercise tracking app popular with runners, when creating the weightlifting app. 

Weinberg sophomore Mia Scarpati, Project Olympus’ head of marketing, said the Strava feature in which runners can share routes and running data inspired her to run more than she typically would. She hopes Project Olympus can have a similar effect by allowing lifters to share workout programs, she said.

According to Tsangeos, The Garage has been key to the team’s progress. The space assigned a mentor, Rich Box, to advise him.  

Box, a Chicago angel investor and former IT executive, said the app may be successful because there is a large potential market with unmet demand. He added that the venture may also succeed since Tsangeo is knowledgeable of the weightlifting community as a personal trainer and other companies have addressed similar needs in their apps. 

As part of his mentorship, Box said he helped the team refine its product’s marketability and better communicate the company’s services to audiences, including investors, customers, employers and distribution partners. 

Weinberg sophomore and head of branding Tom Choi said he is employing sleek black and white designs with Greek architecture elements for the website and app. Tsangeos, who is of Greek descent, named the app Project Olympus for the historical connection between Greece and weightlifting.

Project Olympus would be one of the most accessible weightlifting apps upon launch, Tsangeos said. He said similar apps exist for D1 sports programs, like Team Buildr, but can cost thousands of dollars. 

Mike Raab, executive director at The Garage, helped Tsangeos prepare a pitch deck for the Kellogg Venture Challenge Pitch Competition, in which Project Olympus was a finalist.

However, the team primarily wants the app to forge connections and build community between weightlifters through shared workouts, Tsangeos said. 

Lee said he once wanted to try a friend’s lifting workout but could not go to the gym with him because they attended different schools and had no means of effectively sharing a workout. But, with Project Olympus, Lee said he would be able to try his friend’s workout. 

“This issue has left the weightlifting community fragmented and isolated,” Lee said. “I want Olympus to be the go-to app for interacting with the weightlifting community. I believe in its potential to better people both physically and mentally.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @JackAustinNews

Related Stories:
NU Alum Aaron Greenberg founds accessible storytelling app Biograph

Q&A: NU alum and Springrose founder Nicole Cuervo talks inspiration, bras

Q&A: NU alum Danny Ginzburg discusses plant research, Gates Cambridge Scholarship