Technology is great. Think of all the wonderful things we can do with today’s technology. The diseases we can treat and cure. The safety features that make life safer, the appliances that make life easier and the games that enable you to waste an entire afternoon.
Eventually some of that awesome technology was going to make its way into the fitness industry.
I see a lot of people using technology to track their fitness progress, some of my clients included. I have had a few conversations with clients as to the effectiveness of some of those devices. Not that I don’t think their effective, but do my clients, and the general population find them useful?
There are a ton of those products on the market. From the Fit Bits, Jawbone, Nike bands, phone apps and the regular old school step counters. Many of the devices now a days, especially the higher ends ones, can track total activity (not just steps), body weight trends, calories consumed, calories burned, heart rate and other measurable elements.
Do those pieces of technology make a difference? Do they, can they, enhance peoples fitness levels? Does tracking all of those measures really change things?
They certainly can if used properly. If not used properly they can be a big waste of time and money. I personally hope people find them effective and use that technology to get closer to their goals. I am in favor of anything that increases exercise adherence.
Some of the technology is quite good. It will also you to track your progress verses your goal and some will allow you to compare or challenge your friends. That brings a level of accountability and social support into the equation. And for those that are competitive, a level of competition.
If, and that is a big if, the technology is causing you to change your behaviors, your habits, and keeps you accountable to yourself then yes it is useful. it is is causing you to eat better, because you now have a more accurate measure of what you are eating so you naturally consume less calories then it is doing its job.
If you are using it to track your workouts and you are making adjustments to increase or make your workouts better based off of the data then it is a good thing,
Even if you had a pedometer to track your steps, and you set a personal goal of 10,000 steps per day. What would you do if you were at 9000 steps and it was almost time for bed?
a) not worry about it and just keep tracking the steps every day for the sake of tracking them?
b) Head out for a quick walk to get to you goal for the day before bed?
Collecting data is great if you are going to do something with it. Unless you are really curious about the number of steps you are taking each day for the hell of it.
I personally don’t use that technology except for the odd step counter to confirm the number of steps I think I am taking each day, especially during events, or conferences. Throughout the day, because i have a very similar routine I know my steps and calories.
I do have a lot of clients that use them and swear by them. it helps keep them accountable to themselves. As well as to me if they allow me to see the data. I can help them set goals based on their activity levels and nutrition intake.
I would use it in the example above. setting a goal and making sure they do everything in their power to reach the goal each day.
Any of the food and nutrition apps can be used the same way, setting a caloric goal and making sure my client only takes in that amount of calories per day.
If they allow me access to their profile then i can keep track and help keep them focused on their goals.
The irony is some technology is causing us to become sedentary and out of shape bur forcing us in front of a screen all day long and not allow us to get up and move then we use the same technology to track out workouts and how much or how little we moved.
the idea that modern technology is doing more harm than good to our health is another blog post on its own.
Whether we like it or not technology is here to stay and will only get more common in the fitness industry. Lets make sure we are using the technology to its full potential to keep us on track and allow us to reach our goals.