According to the ACSM Wearable technology will be the number one trend in fitness in 2019. Wearable technology includes; fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices.
As someone who is fortunate to work with facility operators to educate, train and develop their people, I started to think about what this means to a fitness facility, the staff that interact with the exerciser and more importantly the exerciser experience.
Meaning is not enough; we must know the conditions (the context) we must be able to decide if the information/knowledge is useful or relevant, to our facility and exercisers. We must learn ways to use reasoning to solve problems, to make judgements. This will hopefully ensure that the outcome, whatever that maybe, is successful .
Reasoning is the ability to think about something in a logical and sensible way, to put the information provided into a specific context. Context is everything, without context words and actions have no meaning .
As an industry we all want every workout for every member, to be both safe and effective. This is hugely important, and depends on the INPUT; the sets, reps, exercise, and exercise order.
Facilities need to create experiences.
Experiences are all about the OUTPUT, how the exerciser feels, as this is the key driver to whether someone will return to a facility or not.
As facilities and instructors strive to differentiate themselves from competitors and other offerings, ‘occupying a space in the customers (exercisers) mind beyond the primacy of the product (fitness)’  becomes vitally important. So the question might be, is wearable tech. a solution that forms a piece of the puzzle?
Questions to support a different experience through wearable tech: (in no particular order and not an inclusive list)
– What does wearable tech. mean to us, as a facility?
– Could our experience offering be improved by integrating wearable tech.?
– How will we implement the use of wearable tech.?
– What is our exerciser experience, and can wearable tech. support our experience offering?
– What are the aims of our wearable tech. offering?
– How does wearable tech. allow us to tell our story?
– Would using wearable tech. be something that our clients/exercisers would adopt?
– How would we support the adoption of wearable tech. with our members?
– What equipment do we currently have available to us that could be used
successfully with wearable tech?
– How do we build members confidence with wearable tech?
– How do we build members competence with wearable tech.?
– Are we going to adopt wearable tech as a 1 to 1 or group activity?
– What factors need to be considered if wearable tech. is to be safe and effective?
– What type of wearable tech. would support our experience offering?
– What training do the facility staff require around wearable tech.?
– Who is going to deliver our wearable tech. staff education, training and
– What environmental factors would most influence a successful wearable tech experience?
In conclusion, understanding industry trends is important, but it’s not the whole picture. What is vital is that a deeper understanding is obtained, that helps facilities and instructors provide safe, effective and enjoyable workouts, in a trusted and valued environment. This supports adherence, which will in turn effects retention in a positive way.
- g. petty [adapted]
 j. trout