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5 Ways the Digital Revolution Is Changing Fitness
How to make the top fitness trend of 2014 work for you.
A digital revolution is happening in the world of fitness. This is likely the top fitness trend we’ll see in 2014.
Take CrossFit, for example. By integrating technology with this new brand of fitness, the creators of CrossFit invented an entirely new style of working out, one that puts an emphasis on human connection, tracking and accountability. It also comes fully integrated with mobile apps, its own hashtags, and a worldwide open competition where participants post their scores online in real time. And here’s the clincher: CrossFit is also completely open source. That means anyone can do it without any branded equipment, anyone can make a CrossFit app, and there are no franchises.
The internet is indeed changing fitness. It’s created new systems of accountability, new sources of inspiration, and unprecedented access to personalised health information. The million dollar question is: how it this revolution going to help the average Jane get off the couch and onto her feet for some booty-shaking, calorie-burning, heart-pumping body movement?
If Jane keeps an open mind and takes the time to figure out which tools are going to work best for her, this revolution is likely to change her fitness in a variety of ways.
1. Access personalised health information with a fitness wearable
The term “fitness wearable” generally refers to a smartwatch or sleek plastic bracelet meant to be worn on the wrist 24 hours a day, and tracks things like calories burned, steps taken, distance travelled and sleep habits.
Many of these devices come with software that lets you set weight loss goals, log calories and track progress. Users get a steady stream of detailed feedback, and many devices even offer online sharing of personal milestones. Numbers can be a great motivator, and that’s really where fitness wearables shine.
A small caveat when it comes to fitness wearables - as Forbes pointed out, many of the companies producing these products are far removed from the fitness world. Epson and LG for example both have a fitness wearable on the market. Samsung and Sony also have their fingers in the pot, neither device selling well. Logic concludes that a company whose principal products are printers and scanners is not well-positioned to be doling out fitness advice.
Jawbone and Fitbit, on the other hand, were both at one point tech startups with a singular goal: to produce a fitness tracking device that helps people get in shape. The two companies are currently competing with Nike’s fitness wearable, the Nike Swot, for the position as the top wearable on the market today.
2. Challenge yourself and connect with like minds through online competitions
CrossFit is not the only brand with an online competition. If competition is your thing, either against yourself or some other opponent, the internet has much to offer. Konkura is a fitness/social media site that offers a variety of user-created challenges. Take the 30-day plank challenge, for example, where participants commit to a few seconds of planking each day for one month. Whoever does the most planking throughout the month wins. Participants can log photos and videos or even create their own challenges.
These types of sites are another way to introduce accountability into your workouts, also giving users a tool for goal-setting and a way of documenting progress.
3. Create accountability with a fitness apps
Nike Training Club has 100+ customizable exercise routines for a full-body workout. The app estimates calories burned, and allows users to share when they reach their personal milestone. It’s also free.
Thousands of fitness apps exist that are tailored to every type of exercise: yoga apps, cycling apps, etc. Most fitness wearables also come with an app - all that information is useless if it doesn’t get logged somewhere, after all. My Fitness Pal is probably the most popular fitness app on the market, allowing users to track exercise and eating, and providing loads of helpful charts and graphs to help encourage users to set and meet their fitness goals.
4. Join a membership site
We all have different reasons for not working out as often as we should. A common excuse, particularly in cold climates in the wintertime, is that it’s just too cold and snowy and ugly out there. Who wouldn’t rather stay at home?
Gone are the days of working out to the same exercise video again and again, coffee table pushed to one side of the room. Online fitness classes solve the problem of repetition, if not the problem of furniture. Yoga Glo, for example, has more than 2,000 classes available to watch, ranging from five minutes to two hours, many of which are highly targeted. Having a baby? No problem. Looking for more of a meditation to deepen your practice? Yoga Glo has got it covered. Membership is just US$18/month, which is less than the cost of one class at some studios. Online classes often come with support and plug members into a community where they can talk amongst themselves and share information.
5. Hire a virtual trainer
There are an endless number of virtual trainers available on the web, as well as several emerging sites that allow experts to create a profile that goes into a searchable database for people seeking advice. Think of it like Facebook for experts.
Helpouts by Google debuted near the end of last year, allowing users to hire an expert for an hour or a half hour. Essentially a platform for virtual coaching, users can read reviews, browse experts and, theoretically anyway, find a trainer that fits. While the credibility of many of these trainers is dubious, the fact that Google developed the platform suggests there must be a fair bit of demand for it.
Take the time to do your research and find a qualified trainer. There are plenty to choose from. If you’re just starting a new routine, hiring a trainer for a couple of hours will help you develop a program that hits its target.
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