Your ability to manage your clients’ tracker/app data intelligently and sensitively is key to your success, and theirs.

Just as with exercise motivation, what gets some clients enthused doesn’t have the same effect for others. “Your clients will guide you in how much they want to hear [about the data],” advises Jak. “Some of my clients don’t want to know their numbers. Others want to see the data even though they will freely admit they have no idea what it means. Others are very interactive, and we develop a dual coaching relationship.”

Jak explains that the best way to keep data meaningful to clients and to avoid data analysis overload is to select a handful of relevant metrics. “This way, change is focused, goal oriented and not overwhelming to the point where [clients] feel like every move they make is under a microscope,” he notes.

According to Jak, the metrics you choose will ultimately depend on individual clients’ needs and motivations. The numbers that he prioritizes are often revealed in baseline assessments. “Without those baselines, collecting data can be quite meaningless,” says Jak. While data points differ from person to person, the ones that Jak commonly tracks include exercise duration and intensity, diet and nutrition, and sleep and mood. “In addition to the personal aspect of data collection,” he continues, “clients need to see trends. This is the best way to give a great picture, show progress and validate effort, motivate individuals and make them more accountable for their choices.”

Finally, resist allowing metrics to take over the training. “Coach behavior change, not data collection,” Jak advises. He adds that clients become more vested and less overwhelmed when you emphasize personal value, progress realistically and use data to show how small changes make a huge impact.

To read more about incorporating apps and wearable fit-tech into your fitness services, please see “Adding Apps,Wearables and Tracking Devices to Your Fitness Services” in the online IDEA Library or in the September 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.

Amanda Vogel, MA

Amanda Vogel, MA, is a fitness professional and the owner of Active Voice, a writing, editing and consulting service for fitness professionals. She writes for IDEA, Health, Prevention, and Self, and has co-authored books on postnatal fitness and yoga. With a master's degree in human kinetics, Amanda has worked in the fitness industry for more than 15 years, including time spent as a program director and vice president for a chain of all-women clubs in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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