Technology is Your Friend, Let’s Embrace It!

It seems like fitness technology is changing and improving everyday. I remember when the Fitbit first came out and it seemed revolutionary. However, now we have “smart clothes” that have embedded sensors, a plethora of health and fitness smartphone apps, and even virtual reality headsets. There’s so much out there and even more on the way. To some people technology (especially when used in fitness) can be incredibly intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. It takes some innovative thought and creative design but it can be a valuable tool for personal trainers.

By using some of the fitness technology that is currently available you’ll find a way to grow your fitness business AND have an enhanced experience with your clients. Technology should be a tool to add to your clients’ user experience–not to replace what you’re currently doing with them. In other words, it’s not meant to replace you, it’s meant to strengthen your services.

I began really implementing technology into fitness when I was teaching all online classes as a college professor. My initial course idea was to have a way to monitor the student’s heart rate during exercise in order for them to have a greater level of cardiorespiratory fitness. This course required the students to use a specific heart rate monitor that uploaded heart rate data to the company’s website. It was cutting edge for the college since this all happened around 2010. There has been a huge improvement in fitness technology since then making heart rate training easier than ever to do for a fitness professional. 

You may wonder what kind of results I got from the students in the class. Did they improve significantly during the semester? How was that measured? 

Well, the students and I saw phenomenal results. Each week I looked at and evaluated their heart rate charts. Did they work out long enough? Hard enough? Did they get in a minimum of 3 cardio workouts each week? 

It was almost impossible to cheat in this course because heart rate data doesn’t lie. For example, if I had a 46 year old female student and she gave her heart rate monitor to her 16 year old son to get in her workout, I would see very different heart rate charts. So, as I evaluated their workouts I would look for data that looked inconsistent. 

I realized toward the end of the semester how important this class was to the students. I had many students depressed over the fact that my accountability was going away. That my “watching” and tracking their workout intensity was the catalyst that kept them on track. The course would fill up as soon as registration started and I had many students take this course for several semesters in a row. In fact, I just got a LinkedIn message from a former student saying how much she liked the course and she took it 6 years ago.
Why don’t you try adding heart rate training to your list of services? First, though, here are some things to consider:

1. Use an accurate heart rate monitor. I think the chest strap heart rate monitors are much more accurate than ones worn on the wrist. There are many out there and they will either have their own websites to check your client’s data or they sync with a third party app. If your client prefers to use a device that only tracks heart rate at the wrist also have them track Rate of Perceived Exertion.
2. Do a fitness assessment. Have them do a cardiorespiratory fitness assessment as a pre-test before they start your program. Then have them repeat the fitness assessment as a post-test when they’ve completed 10-12 weeks of heart rate training. This will be very motivating to the client to see how much they’ve progressed and will allow you to help them set another 10-12 week goal.
3. Accountability. This is a great accountability tool for trainers to use with their clients. Most people perform better and are more successful when someone is monitoring and “watching” them. This is known as the “sentinel effect”. This is a powerful tool to help your clients be successful
4. Builds rapport and relationship with the client. It’s very important for a trainer to build rapport and establish a good relationship with their client. By monitoring your client’s progress on cardio even when you’re not face-to-face with them enables you to stay connected virtually and still be their “workout buddy”. 
5. Increased revenue. By tracking their heart rate during their workouts virtually you can increase your fees without having to travel or even leave your home. You can keep tabs on their cardio workouts anytime and anywhere. This is just another value add for your business and hopefully more income for you. However, you don’t have to charge extra for it. You could use it to promote your business and get more clients. You have more services to offer than other trainers so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Impress your peers and clients with your ability to move into the 21st century! Embrace technology and all it has to offer personally and professionally. It’s not as difficult as you may think. Technology really is your friend! And while you're at it, why not check out our course on how to better incorporate technology into your training?