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Fitness Trackers and Clients

The popularity of fitness wearables can be an asset to your personal training practice.

Fitness tracker with client

Fitness trackers aren’t new. Remember when you first strapped on a heart rate monitor and synched it with your watch or cardio machine to keep track of your workout? The high price point was enough to discourage widespread usage with personal training clients, not to mention the fact that it’s simple to monitor effort with a basic talk test.

However, today fitness technology has expanded to include health and wellness benefits far beyond baseline heart rate monitoring, making it easier for people to track and measure health-related data. Fitness tracking is hot; in fact, according to a recent survey of 4,500 fitness professionals from the American College of Sports Medicine, wearable technology is the number one fitness trend for 2022.

If consumers can essentially put a personal trainer on their wrists or in their pockets, should fitness professionals view fitness trackers as a pro or a con?

See also: Why Use Fitness Technology? Do the Math

 

Fitness Trackers: Stats and Facts

If you think you’ve been seeing more clients staring at their wrists or phones to see how they’re measuring up, you’re not imagining an increase in demand—it’s reality. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence,  a company that provides real-time data to several industries, the demand for fitness trackers has grown dramatically since 2019 and global revenues are projected to be almost $5 billion by 2024.

Fitness trackers and wearable devices measure steps, distance, sleep patterns, physical activity, calories burned, dietary intake and more. In some instances, apps sync to smartphones so that people can view data and trends. Fitness trackers can also include behavior-change tactics personal trainers are already quite familiar with, including biomarker feedback, goal-setting, rewards and social incentives and accountability. It’s easier than ever to compete against your neighbor who lives down the street, or a family member who lives on the opposite side of the country.

Three Ways to Integrate Fitness Tracking

There’s no reason why personal trainers can’t use fitness trackers when designing programs for clients. In fact, it could be the perfect way to keep clients motivated! Below are three ways you can use fitness trackers with clients to help them reach their goals.

  1. Tie Accountability to Progress. Zayd Cox, a London-based personal trainer, says that most of his clients are already tech-savvy and have no qualms about downloading specific apps that will help him measure and track their progress on their favorite wearable. He has the most success with MyFitnessPal™. “I hold my clients accountable by asking them to add me as friend,” Cox says. “That way, they can view my diary and I can view theirs. It adds a layer of trust and it helps them learn new habits.”
  2. Use Data to Demonstrate Value. “Data is the new currency” is a popular motto these days, and it’s true that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. When you track calories, time spent in heart rate training zones, total steps, workout frequency and perhaps even heart rate variability, you can use that information to further refine your program and show clients how valuable your workouts are. Services are getting granular, enabling a deep dive into data. For example, Biotech startup Paradigm.com is introducing “breakthrough technology” that measures cortisol levels, which, according to the company, can make or break performance.
  3. See Gains with Gamification. If everyone thought exercise was fun, the world probably wouldn’t need fitness professionals. Some people need a little (or a lot) of coaxing and the gamification features that many fitness trackers and apps offer can be a game changer. Carrie Kepple, co-owner of Styles Studio Fitness, Peoria, Illinois, says that trackers excel at “scoring the game.” That satisfied feeling becomes a reward that can hook clients and keep them engaged.

Learn new ways to find and keep clients with an IDEAFit+ membership.

 

 



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Joy Keller

Joy Keller is executive editor of IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fit Business Success, and is also a certified personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor, yoga teacher (RYT 200) and Reiki Master.

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