As of 2022, nearly 20% of Americans wear a fitness tracker, with that number more than doubling to almost 45% if you include smartwatches.1 That figure is set to increase as wearable fitness technology has become the number one fitness trend of the year, followed by home gyms.2 Some people may be reluctant to use them, believing them inaccurate, but studies have proven that isn’t true. It has also been proven that people who use fitness trackers walk on average 2,000 more steps per day than people who don’t.3 As a personal trainer, the information from them can be invaluable and keep your clients on the right track long after they leave the gym.
For the 85% of Americans who own a smartphone, you may be acquainted with your phone’s integrated health app that tells you how many steps you’ve taken, how many floors you’ve climbed and your sleep schedule. A wearable fitness tracker takes it up a notch by tracking even more metrics from your heart rate and calories burned to sun exposure levels based on the device. You can use these metrics to elevate your training, make more personalized exercise and nutrition plans, encourage healthier habits outside of training, or implement safety measures for clients who may be pushing themselves too hard.
Top 5 Reasons to Use Fitness Trackers in Your Training
- Reach Goals Faster. When clients can see their numbers, they’re more likely to want to improve upon them day after day, speeding up progress. Fitness tracker users exercise on average 4.3 days per week versus three days for non-users.4 It can also help to pinpoint when trainees have reached a plateau and where you can begin troubleshooting.
- Diversify Your Workouts. Whether you lead group classes or private sessions, you can easily make fun fitness challenges like mini treadmill marathons, HIIT classes where the top calorie burners get free merch, and much more. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination. When clients see their stats alongside their peers, it motivates them to work harder than if they were working out alone. If you have remote clients, fitness trackers help you ensure they are pushing themselves and maximizing their efforts.
- Make Better Choices. Exercise is only half of the equation when you want to see results. Maybe John isn’t seeing the results he thought because he’s having too many cheat meals. Fitness trackers and calorie counters can help you see how all that daytime snacking can be more detrimental than it seems. Next time, John may be more apt to order the steamed vegetables as a side instead of the loaded baked potato.
- Put Safety First. Some trainers tend to push too hard and take clients’ pleas as laziness or a lack of motivation. But you have to remember, exercises that may be a cakewalk for some can be stressful and high-intensity for others. Fitness trackers can tell you the intensity of a workout and help encourage proper form. If just a few squats or lunges push Jane’s heart rate into the red, it’s time to pump the brakes and return to the drawing board. You’re in this to improve your client’s overall health, not to possibly injure them.
- Potentially Increase Revenue. If you have a large enough client base and a plug for branded fitness trackers, you can require new members to buy them. It may seem selfish or unrealistic, but gyms like Orange Theory Fitness use this approach with their clients. Upon signing up for a new membership, you must buy one of their branded fitness tracker that links to their app. When you enter the class, your name and stats instantly appear on a large screen along with everyone else’s. You can see your heart rate, what heart rate zone you’re in, and how many calories you’ve burned. Getting that end-of-class email detailing your stats can become addictive and motivating for all the right reasons!
In recent years, trackers have been used to “gamify” the training experience. Some apps use a video game approach to get people active, and some even pay users for working out. When clients are willing to share data from their trackers with others, you can create leader boards, fitness challenges, and improve clients’ moods. When fitness trainees can see numbers in real-time, it gives them a mental boost similar to winning a reward. For example, when someone makes a post on social media and sees their likes increase, it releases dopamine into the brain, thus making them happy. Seeing your fitness stats improve over time has a similar mental effect and breeds good behavior, such as making better food choices or improving one’s sleep schedule.
Overall, fitness trackers are here to stay and will only become more advanced as technology improves. Stay on the cutting edge and improve your training. With almost 70% of Americans claiming they would be open to wearing a fitness tracker for different reasons, it can only be a win/win situation for you and your clients with the right incentives.