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How To Make Fitness Tracker Data Meaningful

How To Make Fitness Tracker Data Meaningful

How many of your clients began the year wearing a fitness tracker to their workouts? And how many are still wearing them? Well-intentioned Christmas gifts, Boxing Day Sales and New Year’s Resolutions made it pretty likely that some, if not all, of your clients own some sort of fitness tracking device. Like many resolutions, a few weeks into the year many of those gadgets are a distant memory, while others have become more of a fashion accessory than an effective fitness tool.

When used effectively, wearable technology can be a great device to help encourage and monitor physical activity. However, recent research has found that many people don’t use the valuable data that these trackers generate to help them achieve their fitness goals. The study found that without a way to interpret the data in a meaningful way, most wearable technology doesn’t help users get fitter. Another study found that within six months one third of users have given up wearing them altogether.

OK, so fitness trackers aren’t the quick-fix solution many people thought they’d be, but the news isn’t bad for Personal Trainers. The key to using these fitness trackers effectively is the link that interprets collected data and uses it to modify behaviour. So, rather than replacing the need for a Personal Trainer, fitness trackers reinforce how useful it is to have a fitness professional who can understand that data and prescribe a suitable exercise program for a user to follow between sessions.

Fitness trackers are also a godsend for trainers who need to know how much effort a client is really putting in to achieving their fitness goals.

3 Steps To Using Fitness Trackers More Effectively

  • Start by asking your clients if they’re willing to share their fitness data with you so that you can get a more complete picture of their fitness activity. A clear picture of sleep, diet and exercise patterns often identifies problems that may take months for clients to admit to in a face-to-face interview. It can also identify potential problems that your client may not think are relevant.
  • Look for patterns and inconsistencies in the data, and reinforce positive behaviour with praise. If good workouts and eating patterns are always preceded by a good sleep the previous night, be sure to point this out to your client. Likewise, a boozy Friday night may destroy all the hard work they’ve been putting in during the week and ruin any chance of an early workout on Saturday morning. You don’t have to be judgemental. Most of the time the facts will speak for themselves and the client will be able to see for themselves how a few lifestyle changes can help them reach their goals.
  • Encourage your clients to use their fitness trackers to aim for bigger goals. A step count in their local area can be compared to the step count they’d need to climb the steps to Montmartre in Paris or Machu Picchu in Peru. Apps such as Matchup aggregate data from different users to make individual workouts a more social experience.

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