Sometimes a task or exercise will require a simple timer, and a neat example of this has been documented on the WTH blog. They've used a small Arduino-compatible board to drive a double-digit LED display, and with a little work the entire unit can become portable for gym or other use.
Even without a real-time clock IC an Arduino can keep time quite accuraltey, and for this purpose solves the problem neatly. You can always modify the code for various counting options or add a few more buttons to create a customisable count up or down timer. A demonstration of the unit can be seen in the following video:
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