Can wellness and fitness technology help coaches and trainers scale their business and increase client accountability for the long term?
On Your Mark, Get Set
The current global market for wellness and fitness wearables is growing faster than expected.
A recent study published by Forrester research shows one out of every five Americans now uses a wearable device.
President Barack Obama has even adopted the connected fitness lifestyle by proudly donning the Fitbit SURGE fitness watch in press photos while walking in the White House garden.
From the wake in skyrocketing wearable sales, the IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker report highlights a 200% year-over-year increase in total volume of wearables shipped for the third quarter of 2015 at over 21.0 million units, while a recent Juniper Research report shows smart wearables are projected to reach over 53 billion dollars in hardware revenues by 2019.
Showing positive impact outside the fitness tracking bubble, PwC surveyed 1,000 American consumers across all demographic lines, asking questions about wearable use, adoption, and safety concerns. Their report, The Wearable Future, forecasts that presently trending wearable technology will dramatically change the landscape of our society, business, relationships and personal health forever.
With wearable technology adoption rates mirroring the levels found among iPads and tablets just three years ago, what does their surge in popularity mean to a fitness professional’s bottom line and lowered attrition rate?
Wellness Technology Revolution
They empower the fit pro to save time, increase coaching precision, and increase revenue through the use of new technology.
One thing that will never change in fitness, no matter how advanced any device or digital platform ever becomes, is that most people can’t achieve their health goals alone; hence why group and personal training sales continue to grow year after year.
Spotlighted in a recent report from ACSM, "Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2016,” the number one projected trend this year is wearable technology. Paradoxically, with obesity rates at an all time high, weight loss programs wound up trailing in at number nine out of ten on the list. This is great news and a major opportunity for proactive trainers who can pivot quickly to integrate digital health as a tool for their coaching practice because the paradigm of fitness instruction is about to be shifted.
Look at the energy and time needs of one-on-one training sessions, and now arbitrage that with unique, personal, and real-time data from devices that mirror a client’s lifestyle, and its easy to see that the seeds have already been planted for a wellness technology revolution.
A revolution where there is less trainer-burnout and turnover of staff in clubs, improved client retention, more emotional connection, relevant conversations and most importantly, the tools for better results.
Wellness Tech For Weight Loss
Every movement needs fuel and tools to thrive.
Within the 2016 health and fitness industry, trainers and coaches can now grow business by integrating their client’s data into a coaching style that combines personality, periodization, and the utilization of digital health inside and outside the gym walls.
Below are three digital wellness tools trainers can use in the new year to increase smart touch points and higher accountability with weight loss clientele:
Fitbit - The dominant fitness tracker manufacturer is a four billion dollar company out of San Francisco named Fitbit. As the global leader of wearable devices, Fitbit has changed course in 2016 to point more towards the trainer. Beyond simply counting steps, distance, heart rate and the number of hours slept, they are now positioning insights for trainers in corporate wellness programs to offer much more detailed and insightful analysis of activity and health.
Muse - As mindfulness and meditation both continue to grow in scientific efficacy for stress reduction and lowering cortisol, trainers recommending and using quantified meditation devices like the Muse brain-sensing headband now have a way to encourage and track their client’s stress reduction practice outside the gym.
Nudge Coach - Created by coaches for coaches. The founders built a functional dashboard to help health professionals understand their client’s wearable data by collecting it seamlessly and passively. Fit pros can use Nudge to setup custom alerts to know when specific clients are falling short on progress, and to see that client’s health score change over time. Compatible with over 80 apps and wearables, Nudge Coach is truly the first of it’s kind in the industry.
Technology For Muscle Gain
For trainers who want use wellness technology to help their clients pack on lean body mass, here are three devices for the new year that will give deeper insights into performance:
Skulpt- The Skulpt Aim provides information on body composition by using a muscle quality score taken at specific body locations. It gathers information by sending frequencies of safe current into the body at the chosen muscle site, then the MQ score formulates the value from existing body fat and muscle. Trainers can use data found in the client's Aim app to accurately track progress over time for each muscle group which can highly optimize future training sessions.
Atlas - Built specifically for use in the gym, Atlas is a wrist-based tracker that captures workout data including heart rate, reps and sets, type and speed of a client’s workout, distance travelled and calories burned. Preloaded to recognize traditional movements and exercises such as pushups, squats, pull-ups and more, it can also be trained to learn new exercises trainers give to their clients.
Moov Smart - For training clients who swim, this is the perfect wearable. Using one or two Moov trackers on a wrist or ankle (depending on the exercise) the app will count repetitions and provide form correction when the client is training on their own. There is also pre-set body-weight workouts that will continue to challenge the client as external loads and rate of force production increase.
Cloud-Connected Trainers: The Future of The Fitness Industry
As trainers begin the transformation into digital health coaching, future clients will bring higher expectations for time-sensitive lifestyle feedback that will point them towards wellness.
This is a clear advantage for the fitness professional because as the usage of smart phones and wellness technology rise, so will the need for education and specificity around why and how to use it.
According to research from Northwestern University, excessive self-tracking without clear direction or connection to an accountable program can a double-edged sword:
The less of a role someone takes in tracking their own activity, the less they think about how much or how little they’re doing.
In the age of mass distraction, smart wearables and wellness apps now offer coaches, trainers and clients the tools they need to stay connected and always be heard.
"You can graph human evolution, which is mostly a straight line, but we do get better and change over time, and you can graph technological evolution, which is a line that's going straight up. They are going to intersect each other at some point, and that's happening now." - Daniel H. Wilson