Personal trainer apps aren't the only popular technology helping clients stay motivated and active these days. Personal trainers are now primed to keep clients even more loyal to fitness with the explosion of wearable technology in 2015.
The Fitness Industry Technology Council, FIT-C, reports the wearables market is poised to grow from 14 million devices shipped in 2011 to 171 million devices shipped by 2016; 60% being fitness related.
With new devices launching whats seems to be almost every week, it can be overwhelming for trainers to trust which ones will truly add value to their practice.
As the industry adjusts to new technology faster than ever before, client expectations of what their trainers will deliver are on the rise.
With the growth of the networked fitness, trainers who share valuable and original content online with new prospects- in addition to training a current book of business- are becoming the gold standard in maintaining a competitive advantage.
SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM THE PACK
Technology’s influence on personal training has advanced light years since NASM began in 1987.
In developing the OPT model for example, some of the brightest minds in exercise science utilized cutting edge research and technology to empower trainers in providing world-class exercise with their clientele.
Early adoption of fitness wearables in training practices are at the beginning stages of a similar progression.
With a thirst for progress, Equinox, which operates high echelon health and fitness clubs in nine different states, was the first national fitness chain to partner with Apple when it launched its HealthKit app in June last year.
Harvey Spevak, president and CEO of Equinox Fitness, notes that for trainers, the rise of digital health technology represents a massive opportunity more than a threat. He foresees that as more people integrate digital health devices into their workout, it will boost interest in those who want to get fit by making it easier for them to track their progress.
Equinox took it one step further in 2014 by integrating its own digital platform with Apple.
This has proved to be highly successful in allowing their personal trainers to track, adjust, and truly customize a member’s experience based on physical activity data in real time.
“What most people don’t know is how to use that information,” Spevak said. “We can track our members’ information. Starting this year we’ll start giving them customized information around what programs and services are better suited for them.”
Through wearable technology that fundamentally increases mindfulness, progressive trainers are now being armed with the digital tools to step up their game and make an even greater impact in their client’s lives.
INTEGRATING INTO PRACTICE
In the 168 hours during a week, the most challenging for some clients are the 165 they aren’t with their trainers.
Among new clients or even those with high levels of external stressors, lifestyle compliance can sometimes be the motivational deal-breaker in either re-signing them or dealing with their resignation.
Combined with a behavioral change strategy, savvy trainers that embrace wearable technology as a keystone will be equipped with a platform to engage in a three-way conversation around accountability that’s never been possible, until now.
Opting-in Clients & Viewing Activity Metrics
With devices such as Fitbit, Jawbone, and a host of other pedometer/accelerometers, trainers and clients together will now be able to look through an unbiased window into the activities of behavioral adaptation and maintenance when human connection matters most.
Clients who opt-in for a trainer’s permission to monitor their data will essentially remove them as the “drill sergeant” and make the data the new disciplinarian- where now the numbers do all the talking.
Through establishing this new positive framework in the trainer-to-client feedback loop, it ultimately builds trust in the relationship and allows the fitness pro to have a better handle on client’s roadblocks while providing detailed strategies for success.
Scheduling Time Blocks For Touchpoints
Using time to their advantage, trainers who schedule out three 20 minute blocks per day to view activity metrics for clients allots them the new capacity to more deeply engage with their participants.
Sending out custom text messages, based on real-time data from their client’s devices, takes a trainer’s attention to detail and personal connection to the next level. Imagine how a client will feel getting a perfect text message or email from their fitness pro at the time they need it the most.
During a subsequent training session, these are phenomenal talking points in between sets that focuses the trainer and client on what they’re both working towards together as a team.
KEEPING CLIENTS ENGAGED
Create & Lead New Challenges For Groups
A powerful feature of fitness wearables is when they are used in gamification.
Gamification: The use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game context to engage users in solving problems and increase users’ self contribution.
Trainers who create and lead new challenges through platforms like Fitbit’s Work Week Hustle, where client groups compete against each other in a 5 day time period tracking steps, deliver an intimate way to create engagement and excitement around movement.
Fitness Management Software
As other organizations build around what Technogym is already offering, fitness professionals will soon be able to benefit from the integration of their client’s fitness wearable data into software programs where they can:
- Manage push notifications custom to a client’s activity level
- Assign clients unique and customized homework
- Schedule 2-way appointments
- Store PARQ forms and health history
- Create calls to action for client base hinging on their recorded workout history
THE FUTURE FITNESS PRO
Beyond reduced attrition, wearable fitness devices are a powerful new way to complement a certified trainer’s overall value to their clientele.
The most successful future fitness pros will be the ones who embrace change as we move into the most connected time in the history of personal training.
Fitness pros who cultivate genuine human connection will always rise above, but in the age of networked fitness, clients will choose stay with the trainer they feel cares about them the most.
Distilled, the intention behind wearable fitness technology is to increase mindfulness.
This is great news, because paying attention is what the best trainers already do.