Fitness trackers are all the rage right now. From bands and clips, to apps, watches and now stylish Swarovski fitness bracelets, fitness tracking devices were some of the hottest items at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. Yes, these trackers are everywhere, and sure, they’re pretty cool. But just like any other piece of new, trending technology, they do have their downsides…
• Accuracy isn’t guaranteed: This form of technology is still in its infancy phase, and because of that, accuracy is proving to be a potential Achilles heal. Recent research has found that fitness bands can be off by as much as 40%.
• High price tags: Trackers are getting smaller, more specialized and stylish, but all of these changes unfortunately come with high price tags. The Withings Activité smartwatch fitness tracker, for example, tops out at $450.
• Tracker overload: There has been a huge increase in the number of fitness tracker accessories hitting the market. It is common for these different accessories to track different metrics, leaving consumers with the feeling of being overloaded and overwhelmed by the technology available.
• Frequent upgrades: This technology is constantly evolving and new trackers, such as the Fitbit Surge or the upcoming release of smartwatches, are constantly being improved and released. With the high price tag associated with these devices, could fitness trackers become the next cellphone – an extremely expensive piece of technology that needs to be upgraded on a yearly basis?
• Step focused: Many fitness trackers place a strong emphasis on steps. Walking further distances each day to get steps in is great. But avoiding certain workouts because you cannot track steps, is not good. Some fitness tracker users have reported forgoing certain workouts like swimming and weight training in order to get steps in.
Even though it seems like just about everyone is using a fitness tracker these days, the vast percentage of the population does not use them. Based on a nationwide survey conducted by TechnologyAdvice, only 25% of adults are currently using some type of fitness tracker or app to monitor their health, weight and/or exercise.
The Best Choice
The downsides of using wearable fitness trackers combined with the fact that most of the population doesn’t use them, provides an excellent opportunity for fitness business owners to provide your members with workout and fitness tracking.The desire to track fitness progress is clearly there, so including it as a value-add benefit for your members can be a huge differentiator for your gym. Consider tracking everything from weight and measurements to workouts and timed trials in an effort to improve each members’ overall performance.
Tracking this information will not only hold your members accountable and help them realize the progress they’ve made, but it can also help strengthen your relationship with members. Imagine sitting down with your members at a three or six-month check-in and being able to tell them exactly how much they’ve improved over the past several months. This can then help you create actionable and measurable goals for them moving forward. Don’t forget to reference these goals during casual conversations with each member through the year to add a more personal touch to your day-to-day interactions.
Workout and fitness tracking, while extremely important, can be a very manual and cumbersome task without the proper tools. If you’re currently tracking this data manually in Excel, consider investing in workout tracking software. This type of tool will save significant administrative time and is a much cheaper alternative to investing in personal wearable fitness trackers for each member.
Evaluating software providers? Make sure they offer workout tracking and other key features by downloading your copy of our checklist, 9 Things Your Gym Management Software Must Have.