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Announcing the 2016 RFS Coaching Scholarship Contest!

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Enter, Win, and Crush Life as a Super Star RFS Client - Fo' FREE

Oh. SNAP. Huge news. I am proud to announce that the 2016 RFS Coaching Scholarship Contest is Officially Open, and I want to tell you all about how you can win 8 months of FREE coaching from yours truly. It’s gonna be epic.

Before we get into that, though, I want to tell you why I’m so gattdang excited about it.

For those who don’t know, running the online coaching program is really my favorite part of my job. This isn’t surprising, as it’s the combination of a few of my favorite things: writing, program design, and working hands on with awesome people.

Sure, I can do those things with my in-person clients, but I can’t do it from my sweet office, and they usually get upset if I show up to train them in my underwear. Usually.

There are some other really awesome advantages to working online with clients. 

Back when I was training full time in New York, my clients had to fit a certain criteria: they had to live within 10 minutes from where I was training1; they often had to be free in the middle of the day2; and they had to be willing and able to pay my rate, which at the time was about ~$250 per session3

Clients like that aren’t exactly hard to come by, but they do tend to fall into one of a few categories. As a result, I most found myself training a lot of NYC housewives, some models, and the occasional actor or athlete. Not a bad roster, to be sure, but there’s not a ton of variety. 

That’s why I love working with people online. Firstly, it doesn’t matter where you live. You can be right down the street from me4, or in another country. Currently, I’ve got clients in Japan, Germany, Canada, Australia, and all over the UK. In the past, I’ve had people in the Philippines, Sweden, South Africa, and even New Jersey5.

Secondly, online coaching is a much less expensive service, which opens up the doors to a much wider range of clientele. Rather than working with actors and bored housewives, now I get to work with a lot more people on various ends of the age spectrum.

For example, a 20-year old bro getting ready for his first bodybuilding show isn’t in a position to pay $250/hr, but he can definitely afford the monthly rate of online coaching.

Similarly, you’re not going to find too many parents willing to pay that amount for their 17-year old soccer-playing daughter to train in the off season; but a much lower monthly charge for a custom program is a sound investment they’re happy to make.

With online coaching, I get to work with people who really need it, and who are truly motivated. 

"The insight into these new training concepts and methods have proved invaluable for both myself and my programming for my own clients. Oh, and to be fair the gains were pretty damn awesome too!" - Seb, current client and fellow coach

“The insight into these new training concepts and methods have proved invaluable for both myself and my programming for my own clients. Oh, and to be fair the gains were pretty damn awesome too!” – Seb, current client and fellow coach

This brings me to the main reason I love working with clients online—to be perfectly blunt, they’re better clients. And I really mean that.

I’m not saying they’re better people or better athletes, or anything. I’m just saying they’re easier to work with and get better results. Part of this, I think, has to do with the nature of online coaching, and how it creates some filters for self-selection. 

What I mean is, people signing up to work with a trainer in an online setting generally have a fair amount of experience. They aren’t first time gym-goers, and they don’t need a lot of hand holding.

While a lot of in-person clients just want someone to count reps for them and talk to them, online clients generally take the whole process more seriously. People who seek out and work with a coach online don’t need (or, usually want) someone in the gym with them; they want real accountability and expert guidance through a great program that’s been designed specifically for them. 

Not to mention, self-motived, disciplined, and generally a lot more compliant with nutrition. They don’t go to the gym because someone is there waiting for them; they go because they want to be there, and want to put in the work once they get there. 

In short, they’re awesome. And, the crazy part is, the average online client is going to get better results than the average in-person client. How nuts is that? Someone I work with online is going to get better results than someone I see in the gym 2-3 times a week. But, that’s how it shakes out. 

Anyway. That’s the gist. I love online coaching because it’s a better experience for me, a much more manageable financial commitment for the client, and all around more fun and effective for everyone. 

Even better: I’m able to offer scholarships! Yeah, as I mentioned at the top, you can enter to win FREE entry into the coaching program. For real! 

I’ll get to that in a second, but first, lemme give you some deets for anyone who isn’t familiar…

About the RFS Online Coaching Program 

Basically, the coaching program allows me to get you in the best damn shape of your entire damn life.

That’s what I do: I make people look awesome, and they feel awesome doing it. I want this to happen for you, which is why I get so jacked up when I open spots in the coaching program.

It really is nuts how excited I am; seriously, I am just as pumped to work with you as I was the very first time I offered online coaching over 10 years ago. Back then, I was writing workouts into an AOL email account. These days, I’m uploading professionally designed coaching packets into custom-made, mobile optimized, software that are often 25-35 pages long—completely detailing every aspect of training and nutrition you can think of. 

It’s really amazing how much the program has grown and changed over the past few years. 

But one thing that HASN’T changed is the incredible results my clients get—they make changes in their bodies, minds and lives that you have to see to believe. I’ve got an entire page dedicated to client success stories, but let’s just highlight a few right now…

To that, let me introduce you to my client Rachel.

rach

Clients like Rachel are always interesting to work with–people who are already in “ok” shape but want to get into “great” shape are, counter-intuitively, very often the most doubtful.

You see, I LOVE when I get my hands on these people, because I can really work some magic. As you can see from Rachel’s pics, she got rid of her love handles, firmed up her tummy (abs even peaking through!) and COMPLETELY changed the look of her posterior.

Seriously—most women have an incredible amount of trouble losing fat in the hips, thighs and butt…until they try the right training and nutritional protocols for their exact body; which is what I provide in my coaching.

It works. It just works. Here’s what Rachel had to say about the experience:

When I think about my achievements over the past year, my health and well-being has certainly been the highlight. Sure, I may have actually done all the hard work, but as you point out, everyone needs a trainer… someone to guide and instruct you, but also to be that voice of accountability in the back of your head. You have been my guide, and I couldn’t be happier.

You see, with clients who have been actively pursuing a better better are always kind of experiencing that I‘ve tried everything” feeling. And when you feel like you’ve tried everything, it’s not hard to see how you’d be skeptical that a coach could help.

But, if you ARE one of these people, you probably need a coach more than most. I highly recommend that you try to get into the coaching program, and vying for the scholarship. 

Before we go into that, I need to touch on something. Those of you who have been subscribers for a while know that I keep a pretty small roster—in fact, I try not to work with more than a few dozen clients at any given time.

You see, even with the extreme efficiency of Apotheo allowing me to stay organized and be more productive, the coaching program is still very time consuming for me. I only want to work with people who are going to put in some time and effort to get what they want, be it a better body, a more fulfilling job, or a better life.

Which is why you can’t just “sign up” — you need to apply (or win a scholarship!).

You’re applying because you get a lot…being a coaching client means the get you all of the following things:

  • Customized training and nutrition plans (based on the equipment you have, how much time you can devote to training, what you eat)
  • Exclusive and unlimited access to brand new software completely tailored for me and my clients
  • Programs tailored to YOUR body (based on your current weight, body fat, goals, experience)
  • New programs every month, based on previous succeses, making sure you get the most out of every month
  • Constant support from and direct access to me via Apotheo.

So, if you’re interested in working with me, one of the top coaches in the world, a New York Times bestselling author, and advisor to just about every company you can think of…WAIT.

Seriously.

Even if you want to work with me right now…

… I want you to wait a moment—because I want to tell you how you can do exactly that…for FREE.

About the RFS Coaching Scholarship

Aaaahhh, now we come to the good stuff!

As I said, I’m giving away FREE coaching. And not just to one person, but SIX. That’s right. Six coaching scholarships, each worth over $2500, giving you access to every single aspect of the coaching program. 

TRUE STORY – we only do this once per year, if that. The last time I opened up the Scholarship Program was in February of 2015. And we definitely WILL NOT be doing this again until 2017. So, it’s definitely a great opportunity, and a rare one.

That’s right! The winner(s) receive the full coaching experience, from initiation to graduation—completely FREE. That includes: the initial assessment; 8 (EIGHT!!) months of coaching from me; access to our coaching software, Apotheo; constant support during (and after!) your tenure; and the envy of your peers.

As a scholarship winner, you get 8 months completely customized training and nutrition programs, designed around your needs, goals, experience level, equipment access and lifestyle. (Want bourbon? You get bourbon. We’ll work it in.)

And, you know…insane results. If you’re into that kinda thing.

Now, let’s get into some notes. 

  • First and foremost, entry is 100% free. 
  • There are TWO ways to enter, and you can do both: application, and an essay (more on both below).
  • Winners are selected randomly via a random number picker.
Entry Methods

Application: Super simple. Just head over to the coaching application form and fill out the application. In the field that says “How Did You Find Out About the Coaching Program?” simply write, “I’m just here for the free stuff!” or “me want scholarship” or something like that. 

Essay: In the comments section of this article, please write up an post a short essay of 300-500 words. 

The topic of the essay is simple: tell me if/how/why you believe that advances in technology make it easier to get in shape. Does software like Apotheo mean better coaching? Do wearable fitness devices actually increase fitness? Does the push towards using tech for self-quantification gives us usable data, or simply give us more to stress out over?

All you need to do is write up your opinion about this kind of thing in the comment section of this article.

Don’t worry, your essay is not going to be graded! It will simply be factored into your chances to win the scholarship, and definitely will be read.

How Winners Are Picked 

As I mentioned, winners are selected randomly.

Here’s how that works: each entry will be assigned a number tagged to your name. Think of it like a raffle ticket.

  • APPLYING for the coaching program gives you 1 entry “ticket”, which basically equates to one chance to win.
  • THE ESSAY gets you an additional FIVE “tickets”, which increases odds of winning pretty dramatically. 

So, if you do both, you’ll have 6 individual numbers attached to your name.

At the end of the contest, we’ll run all of these through a random number picker and randomly select a winner.

Application Process
  1. Go to the coaching page and fill out the application.*
    *note: if we’ve worked together before, skip this and just email me – you know how. 
  2. While filling out the application, you’ll see a field labeled “How did you find out about the Coaching Program?” In that field, write “I want the scholarship” or something similar. 
    You’ll get an email from me with more information about the program. 
  3. After you’ve read through, decide if you can actually commit to the program. Please let me know if you would go through with the program, even if a scholarship was not available (finances allowing). 
  4. OPTIONAL: If you’d like to submit an essay, come back to this article and leave it in the comments section.
  5. All of these steps must be done before Monday at midnight PST. 
  6. I’ll announce the winner Tuesday evening.

BONUS: Want an extra entry to increase your odds of winning? I gotcha covered. As a little thank you for reading everything, you can get another entry with a tweet! After you’ve applied, just tweet this:

BONUS BONUS: Extra points to everyone who reposts and tags me in this picture of Khaleesi, the RFS patronus. 

See? Pays not to skim shit.

Other Notes!

  • Scholarship or not, I only want to work with serious people. People who wouldn’t sign up for the program and commit themselves physically and financially without the chance of it being free probably are not going to be great clients. I don’t want that. So, please be honest. Let me know very clearly if you would undertake this without the scholarship. Honor system, folks. The person that wins the scholarship gets coaching completely gratis for 8 months. (Any money you’ve paid to that point will be refunded, etc. That means you, existing clients!) 
  • If you have already applied and been accepted in the program, YES, you’re still in the running for the scholarship. Just email me and let me know you want to be considered. 
  • Until Monday evening, everyone is still eligible. Everyone. Just follow the steps above.
  • The scholarship is completely random in terms of selection. Every applicant will be given a number, and then a number will be selected by a random number generator. 
  • You MUST be willing to have your transformation and before/after pictures shared publicly. Obv. 

That’s really it! You have the chance to be coached by one of the best in the industry, completely for free. Without question, you’ll have an amazing transformation, and make some huge changes in your life. 

So, again, you can apply directly for the program here, which also grants you entry into the contest for a chance to win the whole shebang for free!

But What If I Don’t Win!?

That’s a totally legitimate question, and I’ve got you covered. If you don’t win, you can STILL be a part of the coaching program, and save money doing it. 

As it happens, I have have some people graduating from the previous coaching program and want to bring in new peeps with incredible fanfare.

In addition to the 6 spots I’m saving for the scholarship winners, I’m also opening 15 ‘regular’ spots in the program. So, even if you don’t happen to be one of the folks to win a scholarship, there’s still a chance for you to get into the program. 

In fact, not only am I accepting 15 new applicants…I’m also offering a ridiculous incentive.

Basically, I’m giving a steep discount on the price coaching program. In fact, the discounted rate for these 15 new clients adds up to getting a FREE MONTH, and then some!

So, while I can’t give everyone a scholarship, I can absolutely make signing up an easier choice! 

That said, I do want to offer one piece of advice.

As mentioned, I’m giving away 6 scholarships, and holding 15 regular spots. Once all of the spots are full, things become much, you’re pretty much out of luck. I may be able to work with you, but chances are you’ll have to wait until the next round.

By default, people who are already in the program have a safety net; they’re guaranteed a place, and can still be selected to get the scholarship. 

On the other hand, people who are not in the program have their chances get slimmer and slimmer every time someone signs up–in the sense that they might be shut out completely. 

So my advice is this: don’t be one of those people who waits to sign up until the last minute, hoping you’ll get something for nothing. I understand that impulse, but it always works against people. Always.

If you really want coaching, if you really want to make a change and build the best body you’ve ever dreamed of, just sign up for the program.

In other words, do not wait to hear about the scholarship. That way, even if you’re not the one person selected, you’re still in the program. 

(And, because current clients are eligible, you can still win it–so there’s no downside.)

Obviously, it’s not “required” that you sign up; it doesn’t increase the odds of you being selected for the scholarship, but it DOES increase your chances of getting coached exponentially. 

Something to think about. 

Other Odds & Ends

“I don’t care about the scholarship—I just want in!” 

Oh, is that so? Well, you can just go right ahead and apply! But, you’ll get an entry anyway, so maybe you’ll get lucky and win.

As so many of my clients know, the coaching program is always a great investment, no matter what. 

One of my favorite examples is a guy named Marco. Great guy, great client, great story. 

How’d it work out for him?

marco

I would venture to say it went prreeeeettttyyyy well. The dude lost over 20 pounds of pure fat, cutting his body fat almost in half, going from 23% to just under 12.5%.

As you can see, he basically got a brand new body.

Of course, Marco is just one example of my clients who have made phenomenal transformations. I’ve had guys lose 40 pounds in 6 months, and women lose 28 pounds in just THREE months. Crazy!

Anyway, for direct consideration beyond the scholarship, here’s how it works: after you fill out the application, I’ll get back to you with some more info; if you seem like a good fit for the program made it in, I’ll let you know ASAP. 

If I’m not able to take you (because of time, or I took on others, or other reasons), I’ll let you know as soon as I’m able, as well.

Wrapping Up

Scholarship or no, if you’re truly ready to take it to the next level, I’ll be with you every single step of the way to make sure each and every aspect of your fitness program is expressly and specifically designed to accelerate your results beyond what any cookie cutter plan could possibly approach.

To apply for the program (and the scholarship) click any of the links, fill out the application, and (possibly) by this time next week, you’ll be looking at your brand new, custom designed program.

Okay, that’s all for today. I’m off to design some client programs. Yours could be next.

To take a look at some of my other clients who have had life-changing transformations, check out the success stories page.

And, if you’re skeptical that something like coaching can save your life, you need to check out this blog post about how it did just that for my client Julian.

+++++++

Good luck to all the entrants, and I can’t wait to read your essays!

Dem Footnotes
  1. 8-10 minutes is the average time clients are willing to travel to gyms in NYC
  2. Like most trainers, my mornings and evenings were booked solid well in advance.
  3. While I was certainly on the higher end of the scale, an hourly rate of $150-$250 is fairly typical for high end trainers in New York.
  4. And some of my clients do! I’ve run into more than one of my clients at Gold’s this year
  5. That last one is particularly important; when I lived in  NYC, although a lot of prospective clients were just over the Hudson, it just wasn’t feasible to hop the PATH to go train then. If it was, I would have—and in future, I suggest you not underestimate the staggering drawing power of the Garden State.
About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

  • JennyAnne

    I believe that advances in technology are a boon to the fitness industry. They allow people to track, monitor and easily identify changes that previously may have been up to speculation or hope. Being able to graph progress can help people stay motivated by seeing the overall progress in their lifts, weight loss or speed. That may not necessarily mean it becomes easier to get in shape, but staying motivated is a great way to keep moving forward. Finding resources online like eBooks written by industry professionals, forums for posting questions or concerns and channels dedicated to video tutorials has helped improve the roster of exercises available for everyday use. Being from a town in Northern Ontario, I appreciate being able to access this information since the amount of coaches and trainers in my area varies both in quality and in quantity.

    Wearable fitness devices can help people increase the amount they exercise. Amongst older adults or seniors use of walking programs that incorporate pedometers to track daily steps helps to increase activities of daily living. The use of specific fitness devices such as FitBits are fashionable as well as help to monitor daily activities and sleep cycles. I’ve been using a heart rate monitor to track my workouts; I find it inspiring to see how high my heart rate can soar during a particularly difficult superset. I even have a bra that has a built in heart rate monitor strap!

    Apotheo looks like an amazing platform for sorting online training that allows the coach and client to share data easily and track progress throughout their time together. For clients who are motivated, online coaching provides the guidance needed to reach the next level while allowing for better coach selection. For coaches, they get to hang out in their underwear more often and not worry about halitosis from their last protein shake. Everyone wins!

  • Niklas Bardor

    Technology takes ideas and can make them more streamlined, more accessible, and provide information that would be far more difficult to get without it. The problem with most people is that it really doesn’t matter, they need to focus on actually getting to the gym regularly, or to drink water, not to wait an exact amount of time between sets or burning off an exact amount of calories yet.
    Technology is best used as part of a plan, use a step calculator when the plan calls for it, otherwise there will be too much un-actionable information, which leads to analysis paralysis and ultimately even less being done. The smart man solves problems, the wise man figures out which problems to solve.
    Many of your readers could be at that level to utilize these things, as the top of the pyramid, to get that small extra edge, not to be their foundation which they already have.
    The apothea however, takes the prescribed plan and lays it out to be more accessible, and provides simply that which is needed and already going to be used into a smart computer program. Which then can clear the mind to allow more energy to be devoted to the execution rather than the planning

  • Bruno Wong

    I do believe in technology as a way to improve the workout experience, but to a certain extend.

    On regards of software and platforms, I’ve worked with Roman before, and I have to say that the Coaching Platform he put together definitely helped me track my progress, ease the communication flow and get useful information whenever I needed it.

    However, the evolution of wearable technology has led people to believe that they can fully rely on the measurable data the device shows, and I believe that’s just not the way to go. Walking 2,000 feet / 800 calorie carrying groceries bags, measured by a smart watch, will never equal to the very same 800 calories burned while doing a 12 minute HiiT Session.

    People is lazy by nature, and this wearable technology, while it can come in handy when you decide to take training program seriously, it also works as an excuse for people to lie to keep lying to themselves.

    So, to summarize, technology does help, but one should always trust more the drops of sweat that comes down your forehead rather than the 3-digit number wearable devices throw out -randomly-

  • Laura

    I’m a huge fan of using tech for fitness. People love having “new toys” to play with, and everyone gets more excited to hit the gym with new sneakers, gym clothes or wearables. Once you’re in the gym its so easy to have a fitness program at your finger tips, telling you your heart rate, your pace, how many calories you’re burning. Nothing is more motivating than looking at your heart rate, seeing you could do more and using that info to push yourself a little harder. I also much prefer it as a way to keep track of all your workouts, they’re much easier to search for digitally in an app rather than on paper. All in all, I think apps and wearable fitness trackers help get you organized, motivate you and then keep track of your progress. While it can go a little over board for some people, especially if you download and try to keep track of 10 different apps…I’ve been guilty of this!, but advances in technology far outweigh any feelings of being overwhelmed that can come up. It can give you very real, quality data. If you’re using a heart rate monitor chest strap you can actually see your resting heart rate drop over the months. And with all you data stored in one place you can easily view how your sets, reps or weight is going up. It makes me feel so much more organized when I’m using these things. I recently purchased a fitbit charge hr to motivate me all day and a wahoo tickr x heart rate monitor to wear while I’m working out. The heart rate training has pushed me harder than I would normally push myself and I’ve found it invaluable. As someone who is only able to afford group personal training once a week (full time health and nutrition student in the house!), the wearable tech has been like a trainer for me when I’m on my own. I most definitely think they’re quality companions to any training program. No please, please pick a broke, mostly unemployed full time, chubby student! :-)

  • Nicole Weston

    I have never been one to use technology and apps in abundance. I am a simple kind of person that enjoys technology but not to the point some others may. I can imagine myself one day being THAT grandma who is trying to catch up with the times and the latest gadgets my grandkids are using. However, with that being said, when I am introduced to an app or piece of technology that is useful and makes my life easier, I turn into a total nerd. We live in an age where we want everything to be easier and simple, to which technology is doing that for many, especially when it comes to tracking workouts, what one shovels into their mouths and connecting with others for help and feedback. MyFitnessPal has been a saving grace for me as I learn to track my macros. It’s simple and easy to use. After watching the video on how to use Apotheo, I can see it being a great tool to use between a coach and client as everything is located in one spot. Even better that MyFitnessPal logs will be pushed right into the app. Well done.

    Technology can be a help to get in shape but it may not necessarily makes it easier. One still needs the attitude and strength to get out of bed each day to drag their butt to the gym. I do believe technology gives you a way to compete against yourself or others if you are competitive, it gives you a way to track your progress and show improvements faster than sitting down at the table and pulling out the calculator. Technology certainly makes it easier to coach someone especially if you have a coach that is dynamic and can really tailor training to a particular client. For some however, I can see how it can be a distraction if they don’t have that personal one on one time where they might thrive more than through a computer. I can appreciate the ease and awesomeness of technology but the downsides can be detrimental to someone’s progress.

    Technology comes down to preference. What may seem like something easy to some may not to others. Sometimes you just can’t teach an old dog new tricks. And that’s ok. But I think the days of the old dogs are coming to an end when it comes to technology.

  • Scott Carroll

    I definitely believe that advancing technology, especially in the area of wearable devices, can help a large majority of the population to get more fit and lead them down the path of an overall healthier lifestyle. I think it can do this in several different manners.

    First, technology can make a difference in your daily routine and “gamify” everything. Trackers can collect data (steps climbed, calories burned, etc) and push you towards new goals. You don’t have to do anything to get this information, so it frees you up to spend more time achieving your goal/working out.

    Second, apps that track your progress and very important because through all of that monitoring and setting goals, it creates positive feedback that we all know has psychological benefits towards weight loss.

    Third, I am very competitive with my close friends and like to have fun. My friends have trackers that rank their steps/activities with other friends and pushes them to take the top spot and win.

    Fourth, I love a challenge, in general, but I am not very good setting realistic goals for myself. So, my friends showed me on some of their devices and apps, like MyFitnessPal, that they have built-in challenges and goals. Takes the guess work out and makes it easy to participate.

    Ultimately, though, for people who need it, technology allows for many levels of “support.” You can be engaged or not engaged, as you like.

  • Adam Young

    Regardless of what topic is being discussed, it all comes down to a matter of personal perspective. If a person is interested and driven by fitness and technology then any advances in either area is going to excite and motivate them. And that is regardless of the increase in data they receive. However, if a person doesn’t care about how they look and feel or about what they put into their bodies. Advances in fitness technology no matter how revolutionary aren’t going to make a difference to them.
    Then there are those that are interested in any new fitness information but are intimidated by technology. They will ultimately be easier to reach than person A. But you need to direct your attention on the people that want what you have. Because half of your battle is already won. This seems cold but who cares about the rest, reach out to and influence those that will follow your lead. I trust you and believe that whatever product you release you do it with the intention of helping people. So from my perspective if you recommend new software or hardware in relation to fitness I will follow your lead. You have earned my trust and support.

  • Stefanie Miller

    I believe that technology certainly can make it easier for a person to get in shape, when used appropriately. Apps such as MyFitnessPal, Map My Run, etc give us guidelines to use, help us stay accountable, and stay on track to move towards our goals. However, use of technology can also keep us too focused on numbers and not in enjoyment toward pursuit of our goals.

    I personally have been using MyFitnessPal for a few years now, and find it very helpful to keep myself on track with my nutritional goals. I’ve been trying to shift towards a focus on macros rather than strict calorie intake, and I’ve noticed a huge shift in my satiety and overall enjoyment of my nutrition when I focus on prioritizing protein in my diet. However, in the past I have struggled with obsessing over calorie count and restriction, so I can certainly see how someone who struggles with those issues might abuse such a tool instead of using it in a positive manner. I do truly believe having tools like MyFitnessPal available is a positive thing when utilized properly.

    I also own an Apple Watch, and appreciate the fitness tracking aspects it provides. It tracks my calories burned based on heart rate, lets me know if I’ve moved enough throughout my day, and allows me to check in on my progress in a discreet way. I also realize it has limitations with regards to accuracy, but I enjoy using it as a barometer nonetheless.

    Technology has its place in the fitness world, but shouldn’t be the be all, end all solution. Technology isn’t going to necessarily predict real world scenarios, bad days, or injuries. Tech doesn’t tell you to slow down and listen to your body when you don’t feel well, or tell you the whole story when you lose or gain a pound. It’s a tool that I am thankful for, but I also try to learn from myself as I progress just as much as I try to learn from a wearable device or an app.

  • abc

    If advances in technology makes it easier to get in shape or makes it more complicated than needed in my opinion, like many other technological advances, is a multilayer complex topic which can actually turn philosophical. Therefore I will talk about how technology has touched my fitness journey. I use Myfitnesspal, fitbit and heart rate monitor on daily basis to estimate my calorie intake and energy output. It gives me ball park for how I am doing daily, weekly and monthly basis. So when I do not lose weight at end of the month I have a data to see if I was actually in deficit instead of going on a feeling that I have been working out hard and eating right. But this data is not most accurate, so when despite seeing a daily deficit for a month but absolutely no weight loss it can be very discouraging. So there are several other things going on in your body than what today’s technology is able to log as a data. Also, most of these technologies have one size fits all approach, so as long as you are able to understand that all the data points and information is only an estimate with may be 15%-25% deviation ( which is huge BTW) you are good to go. In this scenario it is good way to track food, water, workouts, weights lifts, weight, body fat percentage over a very long period of time and see a trend. The online workouts, youtube, several other fitness blogs are a great tool to see form for exercise, gather information on what and how other people are doing, connect with like-minded people on Facebook groups, instagram or other social networking sites is great. But there is too much noise and too little actual useful information, so you need to learn to weed out fake stuff. Really do research and find things that are mostly genuine. But upside is no information is being withheld! You get good and bad and then choose. Overall I am not sure if advancement in technology is making it easier to get in shape but surely lets you have access to all the information you want and that is very helpful.

  • cocoa

    I think technological advances have helped people be more mindful of their health;however, it’s what you do with all that information that will ultimately count.

    Wearable technology has helped get me out of a funk. I was going through an on-again,off-again relationship crisis-through Christmas, no less, and my motivation had hit the depths of hell. And I’m someone that loves burpees and weights,typically. I’m not as health-conscious as I was a year ago, but I fell into a
    cycle of feeling like crap, eating the cookies, eating the cake, and not getting
    much exercise save for Christmas shopping (let’s face it; that is a sport).

    So I asked Santa for a Fitbit, which he graciously gifted me. You don’t NEED a Fitbit really; our cell phones and the Fitbit app can track movement. But I nerded out over the watch’s ability to track my heart rate, and (hopefully), giving me an “accurate-ish” calorie count for my height. I don’t know if it does, but it motivated me enough to start going to Bootcamp, Zumba and Spinning. The best part is the
    feeling of connectedness I have with friends in the States (and with their
    friends) when completing simple step challenges. I HAVE to hit the gym just to
    hit 10,000 steps (my target), which I think is quite dismal.

    The problem with technology and fitness is it is not going to stop you from eating badly (whatever “badly” may be for a specific person). YOU have to stop yourself from bad habits and build up new ones, one step at a time.

  • Moe Serhan

    Being a Marketer by profession, it’s my duty to suggest that technical advances in the field married with the saturation of data are a very good thing. The usefulness of technological advances in the fitness industry however hinges on another key idea, which is around how the technology and data are being used.

    Be it within the fitness industry or otherwise, often individuals that have access to big data (as us marketers like to say) tend to want to use all pieces of data available to them, often to the demise of the story they are trying to tell. Eventually diluting their point and muddying up their point of view.

    With trackers such as Fitbit, etc. An individual can have as much data about how many steps they took but if they’re not looking at the full picture of what the data means and which of it is effective then the tool becomes useless. For example, someone can walk as much as they want and with Fitbits marketing feel like they’re achieving something, however if they’re ignoring all other aspects of fitness such as proper diet and sleep, then the results will be minimal.

    On the other hand, community groups (i.e Facebook groups, private groups) may shed a positive light as they enable individuals to share tips and tricks. For those who are slightly shy of speaking to others in the gym, now technology has enabled us to trade tips with gym buddies from the comfort of our screen.

    All this to say, the advancement of technology itself is great, however the usefulness of it only goes so far based on how well the user uses it effectively.

  • Andrew Sehmann

    Fitness tracking has gone from pencil and paper (or a stopwatch and a coach), to something much more high tech. We use our phones to track everything from macronutrients to our mile times. Some advanced apps even allow us to track our free weight goals with interval timers. Does this help? Tech can both help and hinder a person.

    Tech has always been integral to fitness. Any runner can tell you how a using a stopwatch drastically increased their times and fitness. But can a regular runner using a fitbit or a pedometer on their smartphone claim the same things?

    Probably not as much. The data is useless and useful at the same time depending on how someone is using it. The inverse can sometimes happen, which is to say that too much data is being fed to a user and they misinterpret what they are seeing. A forest for the trees situation, if you will. Another problem is the user thinking that their failure (or triumph) in one category allows them to blame that area for their recent relapse into old habits as well.

    The technology problem is fitness is widespread by nearly everyone who owns a smartphone and heeds the word of Dr. Oz… Sometimes this factor can inadvertently lead to more problems than solutions.

    However, it’s not all bad. In many ways, technology can seriously help a person. The main advantage of the internet is the ability to find people such as yourself John (hint hint), and learn from them. You can cut through a lot of the bullshit and figure out what works and what does not with scientifically verified test results. If you’re data minded as well, making spreadsheets and tracking your gains during a week can seriously help your ability to build muscle, or lose weight during a week. Just having the data to see what trends help and what hinders is the key part technology plays in fitness.

    One last thing: the ability to find other people, and using software to track our fitness will seriously help us to get more fit. The problem deals more with figuring out who is a good authority on fitness. Just because we’ve figured out that you, Dick Talens, and Leangains are good sources doesn’t mean that everyone will, let alone believe you guys. People are lazy and a lot of fitness people in the industry know that and will prey on it. Just because tech is shiny and new doesn’t mean it will help you, you still have to go out and do the work.

    Thanks for all your stuff John.

  • Tiffany

    Technology allows the fitness world to be a global village.
    With online training, clients in any part of the world can work with world renowned trainers no matter where they are located. People don’t have live near Venice Beach, in New York City, or even near a Gold’s gym. Online training allows anyone, in the most remote parts of the world, to achieve their fitness dreams.
    Software like Apotheo helps facilitate this training. It’s the online tool that connects trainer to client in a one stop fitness shop.
    We are all busy, and have every excuse in the book, including being busy, to not train or eat healthy. Software like Apotheo though connects existing apps like My Fitness Pal, to one site, making it even easier, and quicker, for the client and trainer. One less excuse for us!
    Having online training technology shrinks the elite fitness world, making it available for the average joe, in the global village.

  • Patrick Ramberg

    I believe there’s a profound difference between wanting something, and wanting to do what it takes to get there. Let me exemplify: there’s a difference wanting to have completed a marathon, and to want to run each and every step needed; not just in the race, but in every training session leading up to the race. I believe this difference to be the key deciding factor in who ends up achieving, and who keeps on dreaming. This is largely based on three things: knowledge, motivation and guts. Thus the question becomes: will technological advances change any of those factors for us? Beginning with the end, guts is gained from blood sweat and tear, and no motivational quote or poster, or gadget, will ever increase your inner fortitude. What it can definitely to is to enhance your knowledge, which leaves us with motivation. Thus the question truly becomes: can technological advances increase our motivation? With constant access to accountability, measurements and external motivation, I believe it can enhance and increase the effect of an already present internal motivation, should you have one. I don’t adhere to the theory that external motivation automatically improves internal motivation, and in my personal experience external reasons and motivations will only get you so far, and will definitely not get you all the way without a solid base of internal motivation. So while gadgets and trinkets may increase your chance of success I think you’ll find that the root cause is internal motivation, and that the effect of newly added devices is merely an outlet or an opportunity for the internal motivation to manifest itself through accountability and measurements. As for your second questions: will it improve coaching? Most certainly, given the presumption that the design is well thought through, and that the human interaction is present.

  • Mike Sullivan

    They say that which does not get measured doesn’t happen. I’ve also read that the mere process of documenting your workouts and diet translate into more success. Technology simply makes this easier to do… and easier to find out what works and what doesn’t. Technology alone won’t make you succeed, but it can make that path to success much easier to travel. The missing piece for me is coaching… and you are my first choice.

  • Max Kligman

    Technology is a two-faced coin when it comes to fitness and tracking results. While on the one hand it provides a vehicle for people to start exercising and moving around much more than before, on the other hand, I believe than unless someone is already on that path to fitness, the boom of a ‘new thing’ will wear off for people who were not active to begin with. At the end of the day, technology that helps track results (Fitbit, GPS-enabled watches, etc) is only a vehicle for people to track progress, but the amount of work necessary to generate real fitness results is the same, with technology or not. In other words, if sedentary people do not start being active on a consistent basis and become knowledgeable about nutrition and efficient and healthy ways to work out, no amount of technology is going to make them lose fat, gain muscle mass, gain flexibility, being less stressed, decrease pain, etc.

    While in general terms technology has made it possible for people to become much more efficient at doing certain tasks or to become more consistent in terms of working out for example, on the other hand, the same technology can be detrimental if people rely too much on it. For example, it is common to find people at gyms looking at cell phones throughout their workout, focusing on many other tasks, which at the end of the day make their workout inefficient, so fitness results are harder to come by. On the same path, someone that buys fitness equipment in order to help them start being motivated about working out, should only take this technology or devices as a way to help he or she keep a journal and track progress if he or she is consistent with their workout. At the end of the day, however, the person has to get out there and work out consistently and make the same effort and with the same fficiency that someone that does not want or need tehcnology to keep them motivated when it comes to fitness goals.

  • Frank Garrido

    The last few years plenty of new technology has been used to stay in shape and make working out easier. I remember when reading books and going by what the buff guy at the gym was the best advice i could get, and also motivation. However, i believe the tech of today while making the initial transition into the work of exercise a little easier and maybe even more entertaining, i believe that keeping that new lifestyle is still up to the individual and no amount of technology would make that person change their view on exercise.
    I have encountered many people who all love fitness and they seem to take charge of their lifestyle without any tech besides a music player of sorts. In fact, your client Marco is a close friend of mine, and i totally lost my mind when i was re-reading this article and his pictures popped up. He’s obviously been doing great and i’m very jealous of his results but always happy that he has the transformation he worked so hard for. I ask him what his view was on things like fit bits and wearable devices and he brought up a point, same as mine. If you wear something that reminds you to walk or run it helps to start, but unless you will change your diet and nutrition and your daily habits, a beep every hour from your watch would be the least of your worries.
    Those who want to change their health or just want to look better will have to work and keep that determination on a daily basis and that comes from within. Devices may help make a transition but i believe those who are willing to lay it all on the line to better themselves will soon outgrow the fitness tech.
    However, there are other ways, such as the soft wares online that help keep track of progress that are definitely beneficial than wearable devices. Many people love to see how they are progressing, be it by losing pounds or how much they are lifting or how quick their mile runs are, having online journals that help keep track of that will expedite the information from physical to written down statistics. I still use a simple journal, a pug journal thanks to my girlfriend, to write down what i have eaten, what the macros are, times i’ve succeeded/failed and all the goodies i need to keep track of. now a days i can look online to see more intuitive ways to keep track and filling in those blank spaces and seeing my estimated progress would definitely help keep me motivated and on track.
    i have also been on both sides of the spectrum regarding keeping information written down and trying to keep everything on track. i enjoy but sometimes do get stressed about things like how much im eating and if i forget to write it down ill mess everything up. I’m used to seeing information simple like, (Diet) + (Exercise) = Sucess, so if i dont have or forget or just get too lazy to keep my diet in check, it becomes a snowball of messing up diet, won’t exercise today, farther from goal. Perhaps it all falls on the individual and how they perceive their end result will be. As i’ve mentioned your client, Marco, i see his result and think, “that could be me, i should have done what he did.” but after the fact i realize we all have our own journey to fit success. He was training with you and put in the hard work and kept up with his nutrition ( obviously) and he excelled. I know my journey is different and i cant become overwhelmed with data and plugging numbers in and worrying if i miss a day or two.
    Fitness and health is a change that lasts and takes a life time. All the tech i can get my hands on will only do so much but i will make the habit changes myself and maybe even take a step back and learn through trainers and publications and take things a little slower.
    P.S. Thanks for all your work, I’ve read Man 2.0 and continually read your updates and it helps reading entertaining stories and makes this fitness world fun and about the journey than just numbers in a journal.

  • Tom Domingues

    Damn straight the recent advances in tech have made it easier to get into shape! I can’t tell you how many times in the recent Omega Body Blueprint program I was pushed, encouraged, spurred-on and ass-kicked by not only participation in the Facebook forums but also with the app. Having the days workout readily available on my phone as well as Roman’s updates and training tips handy definitely impacted my gym-time. Being able to log my meals in MyFitnessPal and to easily total my macros made all the difference to me between slacking off from keeping track to an almost unhealthy level of scrutiny. Dare I say it? Yes, it was almost fun to get my meals in line with my macros.

    I’m a huge music-head and the soundtracks to my workouts are a collaboration between my Spotify playlists and my favorite DJ mixes on Soundcloud. If they ever get stale, I have thousands of alternative tracks, live sessions and tasty bootlegs to choose from. When I need that extra boost to get me through a Strength session, I can call up some Rage Against the Machine. Need some steady beats to get me through a Metabolic workout? Pop on some Girltalk. Easy-peasy. On the rare occasion when I forget my phone or my bluetooth headset is out of juice, my workouts lack the same energy, push and drive. Music makes takes my sessions to eleven, and technology makes that music possible.

    Sure all this technology does not replace the actual effort of getting up and getting to the gym every other day. No, it won’t make my biceps bigger or my core shredded without blood, sweat and more than a few tears. But it definitely makes the process more organized and efficient, my results more trackable and achievable, and my programs definitely more enjoyable. Off to the gym…

  • Carolyn Chin

    I definitely think software like Apotheo makes online coaching better. It’s a simple platform that is easy to use which eliminates a lengthy learning curve, allowing the client to really focus on what really matters: nutrition and fitness. The system aggregates all the data into stats that are easy to understand and learn from. Technology helps, but I think the coach is more important. Having a coach that checks in with you as much as you need is essential in creating a strong relationship from which you can both learn. This allows the coach to better tailor your programs to your goals.

    Wearable technology only sometimes increases fitness. An individual who buys a fitness tracking device might simply want to know their stats without having any intention of increasing their fitness. A lot of people also just follow the trend and simply purchase a device for the sake of having one. An advantageous feature of the devices is that it can give you push notifications to get moving, but you can easily wave them off. Sure, the data that some devices is usable, but not everyone knows how to interpret it properly and take action. The data can even stress people out because of this. Technological devices can never be 100% accurate, they may even overestimate the calories you are burning and the steps you are taking which gives the individual incorrect information. If the device tells you that you burned 300 more calories than you actually did and you treat yo’ self to a huge dessert, you’re going to set yourself back and you may lose the progress you’ve been making on your goals.

    What society should be focusing on is creating programs and practical resources for everyone to use so that they can develop good, healthy habits. More exercise programs should be offered in school and work places so that everyone can learn about health and fitness.

  • Anne Louise Houmann

    Yes, I do think that advantages in technology can make it easier to get and stay in shape.
    Tracking nutrition and water intake has helped me gain insight about my daily habits, even though I thought I knew a lot already.
    I have also filled an online fitness plan (metabolic effect), and it also worked pretty good even though I live at the other side of the world.
    I have also had a real life personal trainer, and the only thing I was missing from the online plan, was personal advice and to be able to ask questions to someone who knew me. And I also know that it helps me being accountable to someone.

  • Susie White

    I think the answer to so many things when it comes to fitness and fat loss is: it depends on the person. Advances in technology have made it easier to get access to information, world class coaches and find communities of people to cheer you on, answer questions or hear you bitch on those days when you just need to bitch. Wearable fitness makes fitness more personal and provides real data about an individual.

    And still, at the end of the day, whether or not all of that makes it easier to get in shape, depends on the individual. Does knowing how many steps I’ve taken in a day motivate me to beat that number the next day? Or does it cause me stress that I haven’t done more? Everyone is intrinsically motivated in different ways. One person’s motivation is another person’s deterrent. Everyone needs to figure out for themselves how much to use or reject technology based on how it helps them get where they want to be.

  • JackBlack

    Whats up Roman!

    I truly believe that advances in technology gets people Jacked at a faster rate! With everything customized to the individual, the physique transformation process is made a whole lot easier.

    Apotheo definitely means better coaching as progress tracking is simplified and systematized. Further a coach is able to design specific cycles based on the clients progress from the data submitted on Apotheo. It’s software’s like this that differentiates a cookie cutter program from a top end personalized training program. Apotheo is certainly the next big thing in personalized coaching and with that comes phenomenal results!

    In my humble opinion wearable devices such as Gymboss interval timers are great and certainly helps take fitness to the next level. It’s all about training smart and getting more done in less time. A better workout always leads to better results and wearable devices helps you achieve that

    I also believe that the push towards using tech for self-quantification gives us usable data instead off stressing us out!. Data obtained via self tracking helps us track progress and make changes as needed to keep progressing.. To keep it straight what gets measured gets managed and what gets managed gets multiplied..Lets talk results..JYEAHHHH

    Appreciate this opportunity Roman! Great long time BELIEVER :)

  • Alex Beasley

    I think advances in technology can certainly make it easier to get in shape, but the effects are sort of dependent on the user’s personality and experience. For instance a highly individual, intrinsically motivated client with even minimal experience in technology would benefit greatly from the push that technology can give him or her. If they’re really savvy, that type of person can gather workouts, coaches, and other expertise without really ever having to seek/pay for a local trainer. These clients can garner excellent results from using technology, as companies like FitBit or apps like Fitocracy often advertise. This type of involvement in technology also has a very low activation energy – you can sit on your couch and sign up for a program online without having to go see a trainer and have a full-on in-person discussion about their lives greatest secrets to get the answers they need. However, if a client needs some type of extrinsic motivation or needs lots of hands-on work to prevent injury from performing exercises incorrectly, that is a client that technology could only help in the short run. The idea of losing points on Fitocracy or an intangible competition with a friend through FitBit isn’t enough to create excellent results. What it really comes down to is interaction: can a client interact with a wearable or online software and get the same (or just minimally different) results from working with a coach in person? The approach is different for every individual, but I think for the millennial generation, technology will become the most widely used approach to increase fitness.

    The information provided by these advances in technology can reduce stress because they reduce accountability and users can pick and choose what’s important to them. The data that is chosen is what constitutes usable data for them. Don’t care about steps but really stressing calorie intake? You can do both on FitBit and give less energy in thought toward meeting their step goal every day. In-person coaches can sometimes be overwhelming and make the client feel that everything is important, so cherry-picking information would reduce overloading information on the client (well, not if they’re any good, anyways). Ultimately, I believe that self-quantification is king. In order to develop a healthy lifestyle for ourselves, we must discern between what’s important to us and not what’s important in general. If we let people convince us that putting apple cider vinegar in your water is the end all, be all of weight loss, we might lose the things that we value more and eventually be unsatisfied because we aren’t doing the things we like AND get results. Advances in technology can help us become “self-quantificationists” by giving us a plethora of information and letting us deduce what is important to us, rather than having the influence of a coach or dogma steering us toward other measurements. That is what gives the journey to fitness meaning for the individual, and something that technology is unique in providing.

  • John Nguyen

    Advances in technology make things more convenient (tracking, logging, pictures, etc). It doesn’t really make things any easier, you still have to get off your ass and take action. Software does not make the coach. So while it allows easier access for the coach to monitor his clients’ progress, the same can be done with pictures, phone calls, emails, etc. Wearable devices are a double edged sword. Sure you’re gonna have people walking around to fulfill their steps and using them as heart rate monitors, but for how long? More importantly, are the systems, habits, and WHYs in place to increase fitness?

    Tech for self-quantification gives us data that can lead to more stress (OMG I need to eat more protein. OMG I ate too much carbs and fats, I am teh SUX) unless you have the right mindset and outlook on your nutrition and workouts. It is merely a set of tools that must be used correctly.

  • Linh Tran

    I believe that the advances in technology do make it easier
    to get in shape because I know it has helped me. How I was originally able to
    be consistent with my workouts was when I joined Fitocracy and first leveled up
    by tracking my workouts. With apps like Fitocracy (to track my workouts),
    Seconds (for interval training), MyFitnessPal (to track food) and others, I’ve
    been able to track my health in a lot of ways. It has all helped me get in
    shape by showing me what I put into my body and what I put into my workouts.
    Other ways that technology has made it easier to get into shape would be
    YouTube (or other videos like Daily Burn) by showing you workouts and how to do
    workouts well.

    To be honest, I have no idea what Apotheo is but I would be
    interested to find out. After typing that, I looked it up on the internet and
    saw your YouTube video on it. It seems to be great way to track your progress
    and showing you and your coach your progress.

    In my opinion, wearable fitness devices actually increase
    fitness only at the beginning of using one because I know a lot of friends that
    have wearable fitness devices and while it’ll make them want to track and beat
    their steps or such at the beginning, their motivation tends to sputter and
    they’ll just use it sparingly afterwards. I don’t own a wearable fitness device
    and though I want one, I know that I would use it to track my heart rate during
    the day and during workouts so while it would be a tool I use to improve
    myself, it wouldn’t necessarily increase my fitness because I’m already
    motivated enough without one currently to get the workouts in.

    The self-quantification does give us a lot of usable data
    for sure but it shouldn’t stress people out. There’s no reason to stress out
    about something that you wouldn’t have had to worry about if it wasn’t there. I
    think getting the workout in is much more important than seeing how much work
    you put in today according to technology. The feeling of accomplishment within
    yourself is much more important than showing others your accomplishment.

  • lee henderson

    Accountability is accountability. Whether in person or online. It’s really the best way obtain results in any facet of your life. Technology just makes it way more convenient and accessible.

  • Sandy Mencer

    Fitness technology encompasses a LOT of different things, from the body fat/BMI calculator on your bathroom scale to the heart rate monitor/fitness app on your new Apple Watch, to entire databases dedicated to parsing your nutrition, metabolism, and body composition. It’s easy to be seduced by the magic of “techno” anything! But at the end of the day, their all just tools for your toolbox. You can have the coolest, most expensive tools in the world, but they’re only valuable if you use them.

    By the same token, anyone who has ever tried to change the oil on their own car can tell you that things are infinitely easier when you own the right tools. I am in awe of all the fitness tools at our fingertips –we live in the future!– but I need a good coach to teach me the nuances of how and when it makes sense to use them. How to make sense of the overwhelming data available, and to steer me to those points that are most salient to my particular reason journey. If you think you’re up to the challenge of coaching me along this path, pick me! Pick me!! Pick ME!!! #awesomestartsHERE

  • Mekey Pope

    Surprisingly I do think that advances in technology make it easier to get in shape, in this new age of smart phones and tablets etc you can have at your convenience an entire program compressed in pdf of video format etc ,it^s way more easier than logging around with a big clumsy book or note pad that has dog ears or sweat spots ,did i mention shabby and torn , and i find that newbies or shy people for that matter like things simple and lets be realistic smart technology makes everything easy.

    Of course we are not all molded the same way and thus have preferences so its not a one size fits all, and so some will need personal accountability and hands-on guidance from a physical person that just yells go go, push push, move your *** ass etc ,nothing motivates these people more than getting words throw at them ,its like sex except you do not cum lol.

    Software like Apotheo and others can be a big help to social media freaks who are always on the computer i guess( for heavens sake ,WTF is Apotheo) A programme is only as good as who created it,so if the creator is an asshole then the software probably will be too ,I don’t think wearable fitness devices actually increase fitness,but they make cool gadgets ,i guess the only one that actually works is a gymboss timer but you can always wear a watch ,case in point my wife bought me a cool watch ,I wore it for a few days but did it help me keep better time? hell nooo. I always look at my phone to tell time and the watch is just on the mantle looking pretty.

    haha this is funny “Does the push towards using tech for self-quantification gives us usable data, or simply give us more to stress out over? ”

    let me answer that with who gives a shit,the word data is only for nerds .Emos and geeks all simple people like me care about is how hot and sizzling we look,we don’t need data for that we just need drooling mouths and mostly raging libido from the opposite sex and in rare cases same sex to confirm that .@johnromaniello me think you just like to use big words like quantification,all I want to hear is muscle,huge,pump,ripped,lean,5-9% bodyfat ,transformation,swole, and workouts,there you have your words now let me have my scholarship and get to single digit bodyfat ,have a nice day.

  • frank

    While I believe technology and metrics are helpful, they are only helpful to the extent that people use them. So if RFS, Apple, whoever, creates the best app, band, tracker, etc. but it is not easy to use it will prove ineffective.

    By way of example, I re-downloaded the myfitnesspal app earlier this week to begin tracking my macros and have yet to use it. This has happened because I am way to busy (and probably lazy) to weigh my food, track my food, etc. It probably could work if say I could upload a picture which analyzed the meal and plugged in the numbers for me (which would be a killer feature add).

    On the other hand wearable technology is pretty effective and I think will only get better. I wear my apple watch to the gym and everywhere else and it tracks my activity, spits out the numbers and gives some insight. I imagine the same would apply to trackers like the fitbit and such as well. It provides insight you wouldn’t otherwise get which I think is pretty cool. The apple watch has a nifty feature that sends me a message essentially saying “get up fat ass, you’ve been on your ass too long.” Thats motivation.

    That being said it is ultimately up to the individual to get up and move, make good nutritional choices, and do the work. No app can do that for you. At least not until we are all chipped up and plugged into the brain Matrix style.

  • Steven Menegus

    I think technology has led to training knowledge becoming
    more accessible to anyone to find, and has also led to the learning curve being
    expanded exponentially with the internet.
    People now can find information on any area of fitness they would like from
    a number of reputable sources in a matter of minutes. Whereas before you would maybe have to travel
    and see a certain coach in person to learn of their methods, you can now have
    access to their theory and methods to at least get an idea for the general framework
    of how they create and implement programs as well as how they coach the people
    they are working with.

    It also allows for people that may not ordinarily have
    access to a personal trainer, be it location or finances, find someone to help
    them reach their fitness goals. With the
    growth of online personal training it has led to a whole new area of business
    for both trainers and trainees alike. It
    reduces many of the excuses or legitimate reasons that people have for not
    working with a trainer if they desire to do so.

    I would say that two of the major drawbacks of technology
    are the rise of the “keyboard warrior” trainers and coaches and also people
    becoming overwhelmed with information and succumbing to analysis paralysis. Since anyone can freely write, much of the
    content found online is either put out by those that do not train much
    themselves or is steeped more in theory then practicality. As a result people will put out some things
    that look good on paper, but haven’t tried on themselves or others. The information overload is a direct result
    of having too many voices in the wind.
    With millions of people in the fitness realm, one can find different
    theories and practices between coaches within the same website. People forget that there are many roads to
    Rome and that many programs work, instead searching for the elusive “perfect
    program.”

    In the end technology is a boon for fitness. If one can reduce the content they look at to
    those coaches that they respect and have practical experience the new
    information they learn can’t do anything but help. If they so choose to find someone to help
    them get in better shape the options are also endless.

  • Jeovanni

    I am of the opinion that technology such as fitness trackers and other wearables help maximize your potential, but don’t necessarily make it easier to get in shape. Getting in shape is a personal choice and commitment. Additionally, getting into shape is not an easy thing. The end product of being in shape means you’ve busted your butt, made sacrifices and grind-ed your way thru a physical and mental journey. Take for example the individual that has decided to take on the journey of transforming their body. S/he has been at it for awhile and have made it to within the final 5-10 pounds of their goal. These final 5-10 pounds are generally the hardest to achieve even though their body has shed the other weight, they’ve most likely made huge strides in terms of strength and endurance. My point is, even those who are already close to being in the shape they desire, it is not an easy process.

    On the flip side of this argument, I do believe that there is sufficient evidence supporting the notion that technology positively aides in allowing you to reach your physical potential. Examples are found when looking at top athletes. True, these athletes are all gifted physically, but with the aid of technology they are able push their limits to train harder; fine tune their diets, and increase strength, stamina and overall endurance to achieve new personal and world bests.

    In summary, I don’t believe technology makes getting into shape easier because there is nothing easy about getting into shape. However, I do think technology does enable us to reach and push our physical potential.

  • Sean Gunnery

    Technology in fitness is a fantastic tool to provide accountability. This, for example, is a prime example of that. Through the use of technology, a trainer can monitor a number of clients without actually being in the gym with every single one of them, and allow them the flexibility to exercise on their own schedule so long as they comply with the parameters set out by the trainer.

    On the flip side, fitness tech still requires compliance and still requires honesty on the part of the end user. The end user can log all their meals in MyFitnessPal but forget about the Snickers bar that they had as a snack, then complain that their program is not working. They can also log that they did 45 minutes of cardio when they took a 10 minute break for a phone call. Thankfully, at least for the latter, it’s hard to cheat a Fitbit (or a Microsoft Band if you’re a rebel like me).

  • Nadia Hissin

    I think technological advances have helped people be more mindful of their health;however, it’s what you do with all that information that will ultimately count.

    Wearable technology has helped get me out of a funk. I was going through a personal issue-through Christmas, no less, and my motivation had
    hit the depths of hell. And I’m someone that loves burpees and weights,
    typically. I’m not as health-conscious as I was a year ago, but I fell into a
    cycle of feeling like crap, eating the cookies, eating the cake, and not getting
    much exercise save for Christmas shopping (let’s face it; that is a sport).

    So I asked Santa for a Fitbit, which he graciously gifted me. You don’t NEED a Fitbit really; our cell phones and the Fitbit app can track movement. But I nerded out over the watch’s ability to track my heart rate, and (hopefully), giving me an “accurate-ish” calorie count for my height. I don’t know if it does, but it motivated me enough to start going back to Bootcamp, Zumba and Spinning.

    The best part is the feeling of being connected with friends in the States (and with their friends) when completing simple step challenges. I HAVE to hit the gym just to hit 10,000 steps (my target), which I think is quite dismal.

    The problem with technology and fitness is it is not going to stop you from eating badly (whatever “badly” may be for a specific person). YOU have to stop yourself from bad habits and build up new ones, one step at a time.

  • Pat

    In my experience, advances in technology are not necessarily beneficial in creating better fitness results for most people. I have had some success in the past with losing fat, going from 200 lbs to 160 lbs using only the Tim Ferriss Slow Carb Diet, which is probably the most simplistic fat loss diet ever designed. Since using that, I’ve tried various other methods for advancing my fitness with mixed results. When my sister gave me a Fitbit for Christmas 2 years ago, I thought it would help me step up my cardio game, but in reality I would often justify overeating after checking my Fitbit app and seeing that I’d “burned” 7,000 calories from walking that day (yeah, right).

    This excuse-making is even more obvious when other people ask me for advice on how to lose weight. I often point them to something simple like SCD or Paleo to get started, but they inevitably decide to buy an expensive gym membership / complicated supplement plan / latest app or piece of electronics that promises a six-pack in 30 days or less. Guess what happens every time? They flounder and fall off after the first week.

    Point being, technology CAN potentially be beneficial if used correctly and coming from the proper mindset, but I believe in the overall that most people buy the shiny new toys because they believe spending that money on it excuses them from doing the hard work. And there’s no way to avoid the hard work if you truly want to win.

  • Adam Christopher

    There’s been a lot of discussion so far about the viability of wearable fitness tech, and I think both sides have made valid points. However, when we pause to consider the intention behind the innovation I think valuable insight in to how to use these devices can be found. For example, the Apple Watch does a pretty killer job at tracking basic activities- walking, running, biking. However, accurately tracking resistance training? It’s simply not designed for that out of the box. The goal of a device like the Apple Watch isn’t really to help active people get MORE active, its goal is to get sedentary people moving. The fitness related goals represented by the 3-ring system are linked to minimum effective doses for heart health as prescribed by the Mayo Clinic. So to that end, the Apple Watch has the ability to begin to combat the obesity epidemic plaguing America. For most of us who have been following Roman for any amount of time who are interested in higher level concepts like nutrient timing, rep range protocols, etc… well, the Apple Watch and those devices like it might not be the breakthrough in activity measurement we’re looking for quite yet.

  • Kristen

    I’m not a fan of wearable fitness technology for a few simple reasons. I think its easier for people to overestimate the actual effect of exercise. ie. i walked 10,000 steps – i deserve a glass of wine, cheeseburger, etc. I think for people starting out, its a slippery slope to use food as a reward for activity, and i think they reinforce the wrong message.
    At first, the extra push to see a “goal achieved” can spur people to continue, but it takes real motivation – a real “want” to change – and that cant be bought and worn on your wrist. These things also do cause stress for some people, who didn’t achieve their daily fitness goal. Some people might shrug it off, and others may become discouraged – or – wear themselves out trying to achieve a completely random goal.
    Software for training can be beneficial – I’ve used Trainerize before – and although i find it a bit cumbersome, i did enjoy instant access to libraries of different movements, in case you were unsure of any movement your plan called for. Again though – using the software doesnt dictate adherance to plan. If I’m recording that i did all of the exercises, but im still not seeing progress, its hard for the trainer to see where things went wrong.

  • Daniel Killpack

    I do business process redesign at my company. I have seen technology reduce
    the time to create monthly reports for 50 plus departments from 1 week to live,
    instantaneous reports. The same end product is created – the work is
    still getting done – it’s just been transferred to a different entity better
    able to process the information – a computer, rather than the human brain and a
    spreadsheet. In doing so I freed up three months of two accountants time
    to do other work, i.e. their productivity increased.

    I see health technology in much the same way. The amount of work still
    needs to get done, but some if it can be transferred other more efficient
    systems freeing up time I can do or different work in.

    When it comes to body transformation, my body (the system) still needs to do
    the physical work. But the non-physical work such as designing fitness
    programs, nutrition programs, tracking progress, and adapting all of them as
    the needs of the body changes, can be “outsourced” to more efficient
    technology.

    Take wearable devices as an example, ones that count your steps, the
    distance traveled and calories burned.

    I tried counting my steps to the bus station in the next town over. I was doing fine, keeping the even numbered steps on my right foot and the odds on my left, until I had to cross a major intersection and adjusted my steps to avoid a car coming at me and next thing I knew my odds were on my right and evens on my left and I wasn’t sure if I was on step 371 or 382.

    Research shows that having a health related goal and being able to immediately see results motivates more body work. A wearable device provides that and by so
    doing I might walk longer or faster, or while chewing gum to increase my
    workload and my results.

    There is a downside to all that data; there’s lots of it, but it doesn’t tell me what to do with it. It can become a road without a destination. If used properly, tools can
    accelerate almost all learning.

  • Scott Gerbino

    I believe strongly that technology “can” make getting in shape “easier” as long as you’re willing to put the time, effort, & energy. Before the invention of the iPhone I used to study exercises from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding,” then right them done or try to remember it while leaving the enormous book at home, to attempt to replicate what it was I wanted to do. Nowadays that’s no longer an issue, everything is one search away with the ease & simplicity of the iPhone. I even have that same book(among others, man 2.0) in my pocket at all times. If I need to look up something it is there. And bc it’s there I’ve been able to read them cover to cover to more thoroughly where ever I am. I haven’t had the pleasurable opportunity to utilize a system like Apotheo. In my opinion I see it as a benefit with endless possibilities. The fact that my workout & diet plan, tracking system, and coach would all be in the same place is truly remarkable, innovative, and mind blowing. I see endless potential if I were to be accepted into the program. My life has been a rough journey, and I’m at the point where nothing stands in my way of bettering myself. I am fully aware and fully committed to that goal everyday, no matter what. Every time I hit the gym I wear a Polar H7 heart rate sensor. At first it took a little getting use to but now it’s second nature. I use it to compare my workouts, see how much intensity I put in each workout. I believe that using tech to self quantification brings possibilities to the table that seemed unattainable, now reachable, and more importantly desirable! One of the best ways to improve any aspect of live is reflection, having documented data instead of memories is not only effective but highly more efficient.

  • Leila

    In think in theory technology makes it easier to get into shape. Realistically, it depends on the person and what their motivation is like. If they are lacking motivation they will not use the technology properly, or to it’s full value.

    I believe that the FitBits or wearable trackers are a great tool for someone who is just wanting more movement in their lives. However, for it to actually work to it’s fullest potential you would need to have some sort of competitive/motivational drive. If someone is wearing a tracker who has no motivation whatsoever, nothing the screen says will matter.

    The same would go for technology such as fitness apps or calorie counters. Combining a macro tracking app with a food scale is by far one of the best combinations out there. It allows you to keep track of the little things and time your macros properly. It is an amazing tool right at your finger tips IF you want to know/track your calories. If there is zero motivation to use it, it won’t be used. Even if someone with low motivation drive uses it, there is a high likelihood that they could make up their entries.

    While technology is great for those who have the motivation and drive to use it fully, it is not going to be any help to those lacking the drive. They will find an excuse not to use it if they can find one. However, technology is great for those who may want to use it as a motivational technique or help them get off of their butts.

    All in all, technology is great for those who already are motivated or need a little motivational push. However, it will not work for those who are already lacking any motivation. If you lack the motivation, technology will not be able to help you in the slightest way.

  • Bryn Karaus

    Technology has allowed all of us to research and learn and connect with like-minded, fitness-oriented people. Good technology can be very helpful to make a person more aware of how they are eating, sleeping, exercising, etc. That said, tracking can become obsessive, and internet research can lead us down rabbit holes of bad information. Sometimes simpler is better. Like everything, balance is key. I try not to let technology rule me, but I consciously turn to it as a resource and a tool.

  • Matt McLeister

    I believe that as with pretty much anything else, the usefulness of advances in technology are relative. There are a lot of options out there when it comes to wearable tech; Nike, Fitbit, jawbone, Garmin, and many others all have fitness bands and activity trackers, some of which have 5 or more different models for people to obsess over. Whether or not they are useful depends on the user and what they hope to achieve with them (and also how accurate they can be).

    Let’s use Fitbit as an example because it’s the one I’m more familiar with. Fitbit’s main functionality is to track steps taken and to set goals based on such, it also is used to track sleeping patterns. The problem is that it doesn’t use gps to track movement, it’s based on an accelerometer in the device which gives skewed at best results. It tracks movements and calculates based on how much you move it tries to convert that into something inconsequential such as number of steps taken, but from my… Experience (that’s a nice word for it) did you know it tracks your hand movements during masturbation as steps taken? Or after you work out and you shaking that shaker bottoms with your post workout shake, yep steps taken. Is this quantifiable? Not in any way shape or form. Not in any real science based way at least. However depending on someone’s experience level or goals, it can make all the difference. It’s a goal to reach to get someone active and to get them moving. If it helps to motivate someone to move more to hit their daily step goal, then I’d say it’s very positive. But it isn’t for everyone. However some of these newer models have additional functionality such as heart rate monitors, which can have great functionality for anyone. Some even have gps tracking for things such as biking and swimming, which I can’t speak for myself but could be great for someone with an interest in those fields.

    So to sum up I would have to say they absolutely have their uses. They may not be perfect and may not have their uses for everyone but I would have to say anything that helps anyone to be more active and motivate them to improve their life is absolutely something positive.

  • Andres Onu

    A long time ago, people had to be within ear-shot to communicate and remember everything they needed to know all the time forever and that sucked. Then someone thought to use charcoal to draw pictures on rocks, and suddenly Ugg and Cro could keep track of who won this week’s chin-up contest and didn’t have saber tooth watch duties. Technology is born and put to use.

    Tracking your macros with an app is the same thing. You don’t have to remember what you ate and you can tell everyone else how good you are at eating (and they don’t have to fain interest either). But the app doesn’t cook food and eat it for you. It does nothing at all, but so many hope that it will.

    Bracelets, heart rate monitors, power meters, all those things have a common problem in that they don’t actually do anything for you that you should be doing yourself. What’s worse is that they become an obstruction between you and your goals. Since the introduction to word processors and spreadsheets, there’s been an expectation that technology will do the work for you or make it easier. But no tech burns calories for you or let you squat 500lbs after the release of version 2.3.

    Regardless, people are creating the next great, most accurate, most versatile, more fluorescent coloured, most app enabled ding-dong that’ll will just make you frustrated when you forget to update it and the batteries die. Technology needs to eliminate barriers between you and your desired result. That’s what it can do and should do. In order to do that, it needs to be as simple and invisible as possible. Anything that adds to your required tasks is not going to help you once you stop using it (which happens all the time).

    I am not an elite athlete, but I watch them on youtube. What you see is that pen and paper, even white boards (Ugg still hold the patent on charcoal and rock), dominate over Jefit or Fitbit or pressure plates in the floor. The highest tech I’ve seen used by anyone serious is a gosh darn pedometer, because counting 10 000 steps a day to hit bodybuilding goals requires a PhD in something. A pedometer does one thing better than you can do it, so it works.

    Technology is not a shortcut to something where there are no shortcuts (i.e. gainz). Spend a year doing the manual labour, then find out if there’s a better hammer for the job and try it.

    My dream technology for right now: I can take picture of the food I’m eating and it tells me it’s nutritional value, ‘cause IIFYM requires a PhD in something.

  • GC Atassi

    Technology is Tyrion Lannister. Yes, I have an explanation for this, and no, I haven’t been drinking.

    (No spoilers, of course.)

    Who is the Imp of Lannister? He’s a dwarf, dropped into a world where he’s tolerated almost purely because of his last name. Aside from his sheer grit, what makes him so interesting is the incredibly complex morality he displays. One moment, he will help save a city, and try to do what’s right for its citizens. The next, he’ll put an arrow in someone without remorse. He’s not particularly interested in the larger conflict, aside from how it affects him. In many ways, he’s out for himself.

    Tyrion, in other words, is a True Neutral. So is technology.

    Technology doesn’t have a mind of its own, or any particular motives (unless we’re talking Terminators, who are arguably Chaotic Neutral). It just is. An atom being split can deliver power to a city, or turn that same city to a field of glass… It ultimately depends on who’s in the driver’s seat. Technology’s potential is limited and directed by its wielder.

    So when you have an app like MyFitnessPal, and two people download it onto their phones, the effectiveness of this app for weight loss is fully dependent on the mindsets and motivations of each user.

    Let’s say both of them log their calories from the last night at the bar. They both input two thousand calories worth of cheeseburgers and an Old Fashioned (Bulleit, because the Angel’s Envy was out of stock).

    User #1, Fixed-Mindset Faramir, takes one look at those numbers and promptly deletes the app. He doesn’t need to see how disgusting he is, how badly he failed. Without tracking his numbers, he continues to overeat, and spontaneously explodes three years and eight thousand pounds later.

    User #2, Growth-Mindset Gollum, hisses when he sees the numbers. “It burnsssssss usssssss!” But he recovers quickly, and the next night out at the bar, remembering those numbers, he eats one less cheeseburger. This trend of increased conscientious eating, based on the data point feedback cycle, continues, and three years later, he is cast as Wolverine in the new Jackman-less X-Men film.

    Technology, then, can be a very powerful tool for helping with weight loss. But the data points, the feedback, and the personalized information it provides us with are a double-edged sword, one that can frustrate progress by reminding us of our failures, or amplify our gains by allowing us to create a plan to overcome those same failures. Technology does, and always will, take a backseat to mindset and motivation.

  • Héliette Garcia-Fernandez

    I’ve been a martial artist for 15 years, and compete at national level in France. But it’s only during my first pregnancy that I started wondering why I didn’t look like the regular athlete, and since after giving birth I was training five days a week and breastfeeding my baby, I had to do some serious reseach on science, technology and nutrition. It helped me do wonders. I’d never counted calories before – I realized I didn’t eat enough, and in the protein category I was way below what my body needed. And I realized some things about the way I trained. Since I’m a taekwondo instructor I became both a better practitioner and a better teacher. There’s a whole lot of science out there, and one thing is sure – not all of it is reliable, some of it is used unwisely, and there are trends and fashions that disappear in the spur of a few months. So I approach information with caution and I check facts. But those facts that are checked, I include in my training. I was already eating healthy, local and mostly organic food. Now I eat the correct quantity of each food group (again, proteins were the forgotten part of my plate).
    As for technology, I find it motivating. I think it helps a lot of people realize that they don’t move nearly enough during the day, or it helps them perform better. For my second pregnancy (now ending… I’m due in 6 days…) I bought a Fitibit Surge. I monitored my heart rate while exercising, made sure I wasn’t putting my baby in danger, and pushed much harder than during my first pregnancy. I was still doing push-ups four weeks ago, and today I did some kettlebell rows. Maybe some people would find technology daunting, tracking apps frightening and sometimes accusating. I think that technology is a useful tool, but that’s all it is. A tool, not an end in itself. It may reinforce the strength of will and determination for some people. It helps keep them on track. For me it’s a useful tool to monitor performance, set myself some challenges, and above all to avoid doing always the same things and hit regular plateaus. I track my workouts on Fitocracy, I like the community there. And in a journal too, for easier reference. I like using technology because it’s fun, quite accurate, helps performance, and allows me to indulge in gadgets. I like science because the more we learn, the better we train, avoiding injuries and finding pleasure in testing new things. I’ve been reading your emails for several years now, and for me emails count as technology. Yet another way of becoming a better athlete and better trainer.
    Thanks for offering this opportunity.

  • Mark Carstairs

    My feeling is that advances in technology can make it easier for people to get in better shape but that the benefits will vary massively from person to person. I’d also say that the benefits are significantly skewed towards cardio based exercise rather than strength/resistance training.

    If you’re a super-sedentary game player who does no exercise then a gamified fitness system (like a zombie running game or fitocracy rpg-style quests, levels and badges) of some sort has the potential to get you to engage in some form of exercise where previously you were doing nothing.

    Simple things such as pedometers can encourage people with, say, a stats oriented mindset to perform consistent basic daily levels of exercise and for people who like to lie to themselves it can keep them accountable and stop them from kidding themselves about how much they have done that day. Beast mode won’t be activated but basic fitness levels will increase.

    For me, GPS tracking is actually a real game changer when it comes to running and cycling. That which is not measured cannot be improved (not strictly true perhaps “if something is not measured is hard to definitively know when it is improving” is more accurate). GPS tracking in my phone massively simplifies and automates the tracking and therefore makes it easier for me to monitor my progress. It’s motivating too, I like data and stats and this provides them. If I do some cardio and don’t track it, it actually feels like a wasted run! Perhaps that’s a negative effect, but I don’t really like running that much so I’ll take any motivation I can get. There’s also added opportunity for competition, a further motivator for certain mindsets.

    The benefits for strength training, however, feel more limited. Aside from the fact that most of the technological gizmos on the market are specifically focussed on tracking or encouraging cardio, there’s clearly less opportunity for the application of technology. The benefits of tracking weights on my phone vs notebook are real but are more marginal since I still have to manually count the reps, add up the weight and type it into my phone. It’s good because it is archived and searchable but it doesn’t influence my motivation to lift heavy things that much. Macro tracking again is handy, but it’s still a pretty manual process unless you’re eating everything out of single complete packets which can be barcode scanned so it’s not really game changing.

    At the end of the day, some people love splashing around in a big pool of data and the more stuff they can track, graph and analyse, the more they will try to optimise and improve. Others may derive little or no benefit or motivation from the gathering or tracking of their fitness day and some may even find it overwhelming and distracting. To each their own, but there’s much more to gain if you’re into cardio.

  • Michele

    I am excited about the prospect of testing out technology as it relates to fitness. I like the thought that I will be held responsible to complete my tasks/workouts as assigned. It will make it easier to make this a lifestyle change and not just a short term change. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the scholarship, honestly I do not have the funds right now for the program without the scholarship. P.s…..love your wife, she is awesome!!

  • Diana

    I thank God for my Garmin every time I go out for a long run. It definitely beats driving around and trying to calculate my distance in the car before I head out. It also allows me to go even further thanks to giving me a “walk break” every 5 minutes. I’m not sure I would have been able to complete a marathon without this type of technology!

    Advances in technology are completely beneficial for physical health status. It enables professionals to gather accurate and more efficient baselines for individuals. The individuals themselves are granted more independence to hold themselves accountable to goals with specific trackers. The ease of tracking nutrition has greatly improved with technology, however, at the end of the day, nothing is going to replace the willpower and motivation of YOU.

    With professionals having the ability to gather physical information more efficiently, it enables them to put the responsibility of health more readily available into the individual’s hands. It is real times information and now it is up to YOU to improve on it. No more waiting around for results. It is the here and now – make a decision.

    Now that individuals have access to specific technological trackers – garmins, food apps, heart rate monitors, etc. – they are empowered to make decisions and improve. The information is attainable, accessible, and (hopefully) user friendly. Physically, this should be a huge motivator. The power is literally in your hands.

    Again, unless you really want it – no amount of technology is going to motivate or deter you. There is no magic pill just like there is no magic gadget to get you there. They are all tools to assist you in the process. The “Magic” ultimately resides in YOU and your willingness.

    (Ah, now I feel the need to go workout!)

  • Ryan Brown

    Honestly, I feel that all of the new online technology is great. Whether you are in LA or the allagash in Maine, online coaching gives you the chance to train like a warrior. With lives getting busier and busier, this allows that person to fit 30-60 minutes of exercise anywhere into their day. Also, it gives clients a plethora of both information and demonstration at their finger tips. That being said, you need to have a commitment. You can always sign up for a program, however, if you do not commit yourself than even the best program can be useless.

  • Natasha Kokonezi

    I definitely believe that advances in technology offer an edge and make it easier to track our progress.
    What I am really excited about is having access to all the information available online that breaks down workouts, proper lift form, progressions from expert coaches, that otherwise it would have been impossible to get to.
    I haven’t had much experience with wearable devices, my concern would be data overload and extra noise. I find them useful to track calories and overall heart conditioning.
    I am leaning more and more towards a software that combines constant interaction with an expert coach, monitoring my macros, keeping me accountable, testing different approaches, tweeking workouts while keeping everything clear and organized.
    I would be grateful to have a chance to work in that capacity with you using Apotheos, as a scholarship winner or otherwise.
    Cheers Roman:)

  • Tracy

    Like most things, I think technology can be a double-edged sword. If you’re coming from a disordered, obsessive place, then technology can fuel that disorder by reducing us from a complete person to a set of outputs and numerical values. And those outputs and values are ripe for judgment: was I “good” or “bad” today? Am I walking farther, pushing harder than yesterday? Is my body fat lower? Am I sleeping more soundly? Did my resting heart rate go up? Is the TDEE calculation I base my assumptions on accurate? And on….and on… and on…. In the end, we’re a bundle of nerves trying to interpret data, rather than a person trying to actually reflect on how we feel.

    That’s the bad side. The good side, surprisingly, looks very similar. An objective assessment of our performance; a realistic look at our food intake. A lasting record of lifts and reps and sets. Confirmation that a few days of enjoyable, social eating won’t crumble the world around you.

    I think the difference is the place we’re coming from. Curiosity versus judgment. Openness versus fear. A sense of fun versus the attitude of a task-master. It’s all in the approach.

  • Mitch

    Technology is continually changing. With the popularity of fitness tech growing, people want to know more and more about their personal data. Especially when it comes to getting in shape. Technology allows people to monitor everything from heart rate to blood pressure and daily steps. With the correct coaching and motivation, people can use this data to improve, grow, understand and develop their approach to getting in shape. Two growing areas are software and wearable devices.

    Software plays a big part in this. Coaching software allows people to track and monitor progress, it enables people to go back and see their success/challenges. Innovative software like Apotheo helps to take away the excuses and makes people accountable for their goals. Software like Apotheo removes the complexity of training plans, diet plans, tracking and viewing individual images to visually see their progress. It enables coaches to interact with people and offers an easy to use environment that will allow people to focus on their goals.

    Through wearable devices, people can track fitness information and understand what they have achieved in informative and sometimes innovative ways. Professional athletes from Football stars to track runners have used wearable devices for a number of years, in the past these would be GPS trackers or Near field devices. These devices help to track movement and in some cases can help improve performance. They are by no means a replacement for hard work and determination but they will allow you to see that hard work in a more informative manner.

    For this software and technology to work, it depends of the individual. Some people will find it to be information overload, whilst others will thrive on having some sort of quantifiable data to read, show friends / family and track their progress. Technology is all around us and even the most basic fitness apparatus now have technology integrated into them. The question is whether we can use this technology to improve, motivate and track, something that would depend on the individual. If they are motivated and truly have a goal in mind, it can be a huge advantage to use this information.

  • Pergam X

    What kind of a freakin’ question is this? :)

    It really comes down to what you want from yourself. Everything else is just tools. I remember a time when i would just search the internet for hours to find a single piece of information that i was interested about. I remember staying tuned for articles of my favourite authors, reading them religiously. Yours, Roman, were the ones i used to wait for too. That information then meant something to me, since i have invested my time and energy into obtaining it, and a thorough thought process into understanding it.

    Sure, technology and fancy apps will be of help – for tracking client results and acquiring data that would’ve otherwise been unavailable for the coach – making it possible for the coach to come up with even a better plan. But as a coach, how much info about your clients do you really need?

    In medicine for example, when healing really sick people, or people with chronic conditions like diabetes – i can see more value in detailed tracking and there is certainly a bigger role for technology there. Imagine you get a detailed report of your diabetic patient daily blood sugar fluctuations in correlation to their nutrition and insulin doses.

    But realistically, about 80-90% fitness/personal traning clients just need a sane, doable plan, nothing too restrictive, nothing too fancy, and they will progress for the first year (or a couple of years) without anything else. They also need accountability and that is where simple apps can be of help.

    However, having a great suitable plan is only a part of the picture. It’s similar to your statement that online clients get better results than live clients. It’s about you and your commitment to your personal goals, not about some fancy tracker that will tell you when you need to eat or sleep.

    So in a way, online clients that put much value on apps, trackers and tracking devices are the online version of “live clients” that don’t really get results – don’t even try that hard, but pay and come for the sessions regularly.

  • Samantha Gonzalez

    I do believe that advances in technology help people get into fitness. Why? Because it makes it simpler for people to track their fitness and overall health. Since this technology advancement makes fitness “easier” for people, more and more have gotten on that fitness kick and stuck with it.

    Although this technology like the wearable fitness devices and fitness applications do help the user; it is entirely up to the person to actually do the work!

    There is no reason why this technology should become stressful to the person as stress is something we don’t want. If that is the case, the person should or does not need to be using this technology to pursue their goals. At least not emphasize the importance of it to the fullest extent. Maybe use it once or twice a month to track overall progress.

  • Jessica

    Technology does make it easier to get into shape if used correctly. More data can be used to provide insights into how your body works, and of course food logging and calorie counting is much easier given the convenience of specialized apps and internet databases. Back in the dark ages they had to carry around books to calculate the caloric content of their food, or try to remember to log when they got home, now we just pull out the appropriate app and blammo, done.

    Technology has its drawbacks- it’s easy to obsess over the data and lose sight of the forest for the trees. Also, if you have something like a Fitbit but you never actually look at the data, then the technology is nothing more than a placebo that lets you feel virtuous without actually changing or accomplishing anything.

    But on the whole, technology has a lot to offer. Like any other tool, it’s incredibly useful when used correctly. Personally, my phone has become an extension of my brain, so it’s natural to track meals and workouts, and to keep notes on what I’ve been doing. Just being aware of the potential downfalls helps to avoid them, much like I know to keep hammers away from my thumb. Knowledge is power!

  • Lee Lomath

    Definitely easier.

    To fall firmly on one side of the fence here, and even spilling out into a broader arena than only the fitness domain, someone will have to go to great lengths to convince me that advances in technology have a detrimental affect on ANYthing (obviously until the day that Skynet comes online ..in which case consider me convinced.) Though, just like when eating a slice of delicious delicious cake, time/ place/ moderation all come into play. So my answer is indeed ‘yes’ but with the following scale of applicability in place:

    1) Average man/ woman/ child

    Here I believe that across cities, continents and cultures increasing the activity level of our sedentary populace is more of a ‘must do’ than a ‘nice to do’ at this stage. Therefore anything that brings positive attention, and to a degree self motivation with it, is a solid LIKE in my book.

    “oh look, my watch not only tells me the time but has also just let me know that I’ve only done 4000 steps today ..best get my ass outside for a stroll!”

    2) Gym bro/ bro-ette

    This stage represents someone who has taken their training a level further; regular commitment to exercise, hardcore intensity and focus, good handle on their nutritional knowledge and application – basically someone who enjoys working out in and of itself and isn’t being ‘forced’ into it. Here the focus shifts from ‘overall awareness’ into ‘further enhancement’ eg. from step counting (so you got an extra 120 steps from your bench press session did you bro!?) to something more along the lines of the less common, but still important.

    “ah, so I went to bed at 11pm but didn’t settle until around 12am – need to get me some of those black out curtains and stop incessantly checking Facebook after 10pm (..dam watch again)”

    3) Advanced athlete

    Technically the question states “get[ting] in [to] shape” though I believe that is a relative term and these guys (pro footballers, olympic lifters, CrossFit Games competitors) wouldn’t consider themselves in shape until they’re #1 so I’m rolling with it. Here they’re looking for the 1% gains, even the 0.1%, and extreme quantification is arguably the only place they’ll find them. Here we need the most sophisticated stuff looking into, for example, distribution of type I/ II fibres within a muscle.

    “so Mr. Bolt, your little jog there was pretty good, though we will need to make some adjustments to your block start as it seems you’re wasting about 0.0124 seconds doing who-knows-what”

    Just to finish up my brief rationale, I personally believe there’s aspects of fitness tech ranging from Fitbit to variable HRM to MyFitnessPal and back again that all have the potential to positively impact the individual IF used with both consistency over time (if it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed) and an open mind as to the efficacy of said gadget.

  • nicole smith

    In 1994, a nerdy high school freshman girl was placed in the football team’s weight lifting class because it was the only PE credit that did not interfere with her AP course load and all-important French class. Her rural Utah high school used the BYU football team’s training software to program their workouts. Each week the blonde farm girl would attempt the lifts as prescribed and record the weight and reps she completed. A teaching assistant would enter this into the computer at the end of the week, and on Monday, the girl would receive her new, personalized workouts. At the end of twelve weeks, the 125-lb 15-year-old could bench press 150 lbs, which she thought sucked because even the wimpiest linebacker was lifting twice that much. But she loved the killer legs she developed and adjusted her hemlines accordingly, which vexed her parents greatly.

    I have a history of both success and failure using technology for my fitness goals. I loved the structure of my high school lifting program. It felt automatic. If I was able to lift more or less than what was prescribed, the next week would be adjusted accordingly. It was fun seeing the numbers go up every week and I loved the surprise physical changes that followed. But, it has not always been that rosy. Sometimes technology has been counter-productive, like when I traded stair sprints for walks in the park because the walks counted for more on my Nike fuel band. Or, when I used food tracking apps and found myself at 800 calories at the end of the day and filled the deficit with bourbon.

    A person’s success using technology to reach their goals likely depends on their personality. What works for one person might not work for another. So, I suppose it’s trial and error until there’s some sort of eharmony for fitness tech.

    I need a fitness technology that is tailored to my needs, tracks my progress, keeps me accountable but allows me to think about workouts and nutrition LESS, not more. I would love a structured program that I think I’m following to a T, but really it’s following me. Then, perhaps, just like high school, I could find myself unexpectedly wearing short shorts.

  • Lee Lomath

    Definitely easier.

    To fall firmly on one side of the fence here, and even spilling out into a broader arena than only the fitness domain, someone will have to go to great lengths to convince me that advances in technology have a detrimental affect on ANYthing (obviously until the day that Skynet comes online ..in which case consider me convinced.) Though, just like when eating a slice of delicious delicious cake, time/ place/ moderation all come into play. So my answer is indeed ‘yes’ but with the following scale of applicability in place:

    1) Average man/ woman/ child
    Here I believe that across cities, continents and cultures increasing the activity level of our sedentary populace is more of a ‘must do’ than a ‘nice to do’ at this stage. Therefore anything that brings positive attention, and to a degree self motivation with it, is a solid LIKE in my book.

    “oh look, my watch not only tells me the time but has also just let me know that I’ve only done 4000 steps today ..best get my ass outside for a stroll!”

    2) Gym bro/ bro-ette
    This stage represents someone who has taken their training a level further; regular commitment to exercise, hardcore intensity and focus, good handle on their nutritional knowledge and application – basically someone who enjoys working out in and of itself and isn’t being ‘forced’ into it. Here the focus shifts from ‘overall awareness’ into ‘further enhancement’ eg. from step counting (so you got an extra 120 steps from your bench press session did you bro!?) to something more along the lines of the less common, but still important.

    “ah, so I went to bed at 11pm but didn’t settle until around 12am – need to get me some of those black out curtains and stop incessantly checking Facebook after 10pm (..dam watch again)”

    3) Advanced athlete
    Technically the question states “get[ting] in [to] shape” though I believe that is a relative term and these guys (pro footballers, olympic lifters, CrossFit Games competitors) wouldn’t consider themselves in shape until they’re #1 so I’m rolling with it. Here they’re looking for the 1% gains, even the 0.1%, and extreme quantification is arguably the only place they’ll find them. Here we need the most sophisticated stuff looking into, for example, distribution of type I/ II fibres within a muscle.

    “so Mr. Bolt, your little jog there was pretty good, though we will need to make some adjustments to your block start as it seems you’re wasting about 0.0124 seconds doing who-knows-what”

    Just to finish up my brief rationale, I personally believe there’s aspects of fitness tech ranging from Fitbit to variable HRM to MyFitnessPal and back again that all have the potential to positively impact the individual IF used with both consistency over time (if it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed) and an open mind as to the efficacy of said gadget.

  • Joseph Marranca

    I recently became a fire fighter for my home town. I want to work with you so I can become a fire fighting machine. My goals include functional strength and functional stamina to work long jobs. Considering that a normal house fire typically with overhaul lasts about 3-4 hours I’d like to be in the best shape possible. It is a very demanding job and the better shape you are in the more time you can be on air.

    To me, this is much more then a superficial goal of having abs, or 20 inch arms, etc (although I wouldn’t be a opposed if those things happened as an indirect effect of the training). My weight training and goals have been superficial to this point in time. I’d like to change that.

    As a kid I’ve always wanted be a fire fighter. Now that I have the dream job, I want to be able to function in that job an optimal efficiently.

  • Spencer Shaffer

    So I really like “free stuff” but have not personally used tech much when it comes to fitness. However, my wife has started to use it quite extensively the last couple of years as she has started competing in triathlons. So instead of me offering my ill-informed opinion, I interviewed her for this.
    In her words….
    With technology, you can see and analyze the data from your workouts and make changes to your routines/schedule in order to maximize results and get the full benefit of your workouts. I believe that if you learn and know how to use it properly, it can aide and help you get in shape. As far as making it “easier” goes, physically speaking technology doesn’t change anything as you still have to put in the work and sweat; however, mentally it is very beneficial because it allows you to see the progress.
    For triathlons, technology has many benefits. The Garmin 920XT gives me my running dynamics so in addition to distance, pace and heart rate, it also gives me elevation changes, run cadence, stride length, vertical ratio & oscillation, ground contact time and balance, heart rate zone, etc. which shows me what I need to work on in order to not only get faster but more importantly to stay healthy. Heart rate zone is important as it ensures that you’re getting the training effect that you want. Biking – I can see speed, distance, cadence and how much power ones legs are exerting on the pedals with each stroke. Swimming – I can see my pace, strokes per length of the pool, SWOLF (time in seconds + the strokes per each pool length), type of swim stroke and heart rate. All of these tools help me to see my strengths and what I need to work on to improve.
    It is very rewarding to see tangible proof of your progress, not just your weight on the scale going down, but seeing your fitness level increase, your V02 max increase and overall speed increase. Through software like Training Peaks I can see in graph form my overall fitness level and how it is increasing as time goes on. Also, social media (Garmin Connect, Strava, My Fitness Pal, FaceBook, etc.) helps one to stay motivated by seeing others who are working out.
    Software is only as good as the person using it. If you don’t utilize or understand all that it has to offer, then you will not get the maximum benefit. This is where having a coach really helps in that they are better equipped to interpret the data to help you to reach your full potential. Wearing fitness devices makes one be more cognizant of their fitness level, but again, the technology is not increasing ones fitness, only you can actually increase it by getting off your arse. Ultimately you have to have balance and know how to read the data acquired from technology and use it as a tool as opposed to obsessing over it.

  • Wes Diederich

    Applying the question of how technology improves fitness is best dissected when applied to the training montage from the movie “Rocky III”.
    In the movie, their technology amounts to nothing more than a stop watch. It’s obvious how valuable a heart rate monitor, pedometer or something like a Garmin Fenix 3 could be. From their website, “features such as running dynamics and recovery check, VO2 max and power meter for cycling, swim metrics and swim drill logging for both open water and pool training.” This data could be used to measure more accurately his sprinting technique, swim lap time, etc.. Incremental improvement, but definitely not necessary. For the clumsy and frustrated Rocky, there’s a good chance seeing the negative data would frustrate him even further.
    Where the technology would really help is if Apollo wasn’t able to be there to train Rocky in person. He could send him daily plans with exact performance goals and video exercise descriptions. This would have been invaluable to Rocky and the team had he not had his main trainer on site.
    There is only one person that could train Rocky for that fight, and it was Apollo. Luckily, he agreed and was able to live and breathe their training together on the southern california beaches far from home. There really is no substitute for having someone like this in your corner day in and day out, but being able to utilize all these new technologies are miles better than just email text or excel worksheets.
    Apollo tells him “Now, when we fought, you had that eye of the tiger, man; the edge! And now you gotta get it back, and the way to get it back is to go back to the beginning. You know what I mean?” He meant the desire to succeed, and without that nothing else matters.

  • Tarah Galloway

    I think there are a lot of technological advances that have really made getting in shape easier. For me, having access to excellent online fitness coaches like Mike Vacanti, is something newer that wasn’t possible back in the day. Not too long ago, you either hired a personal trainer for a large sum of money or had to try to figure it out on your own (more or less). Having access to online fitness groups through a site like Fitocracy, or personal online coaching, made getting in shape and having someone hold me accountable a real possibility.

    Additionally, there are great form videos and online courses that weren’t available to everyone maybe 20 years ago. So technology in that regard, has definitely made getting in shape easier by allowing greater access to fitness information. One downside is that there is so much misinformation out there that it’s hard to know who to trust or which information will get you towards your goals.

    Another benefit of technology is that I find it easier to track macros with the help of apps. I’m sure it could be done without technology, but having it in the palm of my hand reduces frustration and increase the likelihood that I’ll track consistently. It removes barriers. Honestly, being in a calorie deficit is hard enough so the fewer barriers, the better.

    I honestly don’t know if wearing devices makes getting in shape easier because I don’t use any. I’ve noticed that one of my co-workers is super motivated by using a fitbit and she was not previously motivated until wearing the device. I really think it depends on the person and what that particular person needs in order to be held accountable. Everyone is wired so differently in terms of what motivates them psychologically.

    Overall though, the advances in technology have seemed to be more helpful in the long run than harmful. We can use technology to better our lives or make it worse. I say if it’s not helping then don’t do it; it’s simple enough really.

  • Joshua Fanguy

    With advances in technology comes positives and negatives. Heart Rate monitors allow the user to know to increase intensity or to slow down. Apps allow better tracking of workout programs and macros. Online coaching has become more efficient with better feed back in real time. Wearable fitness devices can help increase fitness with more accurate feedback and accountability. I believe all this new tech gives lots of usable data for self-quantification, but can also become very stressful if it starts to rule your life. Knowing how many steps you took, how many calories you burnt in a day (which is highly inaccurate by the way) is not important and can simply overcomplicate getting in shape. Sleep monitoring devices will show if you are getting adequate sleep for recovery, but at the end of the day you probably already know if your sleep is lacking. If you are not breaking a sweat, you need to step up the intensity and if you feel like your about to die, you should probably bring it down a notch. A note pad can track your workouts and macros, and you can get a personal trainer in real life instead of the internet. You could have a rock and a log in your back yard and get into shape, so technology isn’t necessary. Data isn’t as important as getting adequate rest and dropping those cortisol levels. In summary technology can help streamline your fitness journey, but stick with the basics and don’t over complicate the situation.

  • Peter Tzemis

    I believe the answer is not black and white however if I had to choose a side I would have to give the middle finger to the fitness technology industry and tell it to fuck off – for the most part.

    The fitness tech industry, like any other multinational industry, is there to do one thing – make money. Helping people get in great shape is a side benefit. If the technology truly worked as advertised, we would’ve eradicated obesity already – alas this is not the issue.

    All this tech pulls away from the fundamentals. We are now more focused on things like hitting 10,000 steps per day, how much junk food can we fit into our day without going over our macros and what is the Minimum effective dose to get the desired result.

    Instead we should be focused on not sitting on our asses all day and just moving more. We should be focused on eating delicious, natural food that feed our brains and bodies and make us happier and healthier and stop poisoning our bodies. We should be focused on how can I do more, play more, love more and moving away from the minimum effective dose mentality.

    Sure I like the motto work smarter not harder, but like fucking just do your damn job. Don’t be lazy and don’t take shortcuts. Do the fundamentals right and the results will come. Plus I can work harder and smarter than you.

    Technology has given us an escape and an excuse to be lazy and avoid doing the little things right. Technology, really is just another tool in our ever-expanding toolbox. And just like every tool it needs to be wielded properly and by the proper wielder for it to be effective.

  • Seb Gale

    My opinions on technology in fitness are a mixed bag and haven’t changed too much since I last wrote about this subject. Is it helpful? Yeah if you know what you’re doing with it. The biggest issue I have with it is that most of the information provided by the technology is of no use to the average user, and that the average user is the person targeted by a lot of the marketing (Fitbit anyone?).

    For the average trainee, their training and nutrition is likely so inconsistent the data produced would be pretty much worthless when attempting to assess what’s going on and how good their performance is. I mean what can you do with wildly inconsistent data on performance? Not a lot until the fundamentals are in place.

    On the other side, when this information is used with an athlete that does have their training and nutrition on point, it becomes a very valuable tool that can warn of fatigue and other issues way before they become apparent. Having used such technology from both a client and scientists perspective, I do believe it to be very beneficial to coaches and sport scientists for truly assessing progress.

    A few examples of this are –
    Apotheo turned out to be a great piece of software for Roman to find out what was going on with my progress without constant back & forth emails.
    Garmin connect allowed me to assess a professional skiier’s training and nutritional data to produce a detailed report highlighting deficiencies and how they could improve performance.

    In these cases it is a great tool to have and greatly enhances what a good coach can do, in the hands of the average user I believe it’s unnecessary and does not do anything that a pen, paper and consistent training and nutrition could do.

  • Patrick

    Do advances in technology help us get in shape? As an attorney, it’s my duty to always give you a complicated answer. So: it depends.

    Technology is revolutionizing just about everything ; in many ways with regard to fitness, it’s a good thing. Technology can provide us data about what we are/are not doing (fitbits might be encouraging people to get up from their desk throughout the workday); technology can remind us to stay focused (push notifications during those boring afternoons at the office!); technology can hold us accountable (especially when paired with certain social media platforms). When paired with a well-devised diet and exercise strategy, technology can assist with achieving our goals.

    However, technology also has its limitations. There are plenty of apps and devices that people use for their fitness – but nobody is fit because of an app or device. For technology to be useful, the person using it must bring a lot to the table: knowledge, consistency, dedication

    Apotheo is, in my opinion (I’m not just brown-nosing), a model use of technology: it is useful for collecting data and creates an avenue for a knowledgeable person (you) to help us use the data as we work toward our goals. I imagine that the long-term use of Apotheo would also help us learn to use the data ourselves so that we can independently manage our progress.

    Personally, I use technology in my fitness regimen. I am in constant contact with a powerlifting community through Facebook. I also use YouTube videos to learn how to do various accessory work more effectively. I use an app to track my water consumption. It’s likely that there are other ways I can use technology to now start targeting the weaknesses I’ve identified.

    I am short on words but now I have – bonus! – enough.

  • Pierre K

    Like all things, I believe that technology can help SOME people get in shape. It’s not a one-piece-fits-all tool for success. How many times do we hear stories of people gaining weight because their Fitbit tells them they burned 500 calories more than they did yesterday? What do those people do? Go out and eat 750 calories!

    In my opinion, getting in shape requires intelligence, motivation, and dedication. Personally, I used to wear a Nike FuelBand. Why? Not to monitor my fitness level or help me get in shape. It was just a gentle reminder myself to walk to work instead of taking the train, or going up the stairs instead of the elevator. I used to refer to it as being like a little string wrapped around my finger.

    As for the quest for usable data, I personally would welcome it. I’m the King of Paralysis by Analysis! I’d like to know how many calories I’m really burning while lifting weights or going on a run. I’d like to know my heart rate at any given time. Or my level of hydration. These were the types of hopes I had for the Apple Watch, but clearly we’re just in the first wave of wearable fitness devices.

  • Scott Brafford

    I don’t believe most technology makes it any easier for the average person to get in shape. Really it just becomes a massive distraction for most who spend the time they should be working out staring at a screen and talking rather than doing. The misdirected action is the tripping point of nearly all habit change. People spend too much time focusing on tools rather than the goal, and laying out a plan to get there.

    That said, something like Apotheo has the potential be an extremely useful tool in driving action TOWARDS A GOAL. This is the same way calorie counting apps can help keep people on track, but without a personalized goal in place they just become a fancy calculator.

    As far as wearables and other “data gathering” tools are concerned: the only benefit is the physical reminder they serve of the vague commitment to “get in shape”. There is no actual goal and a friendship bracelet or a mood ring can do this just the same. But if a bracelet has the make-or-break power to get you off your butt you really need to psychoanalyze yourself a little bit.

    At the elite level, data gathering has it’s place, but that is not the average fit-bit wearer.
    I guess overall it’s better than nothing, as establishing momentum is so utterly important. But globally I think wearables are a pleasant distraction from the actual problem. People would rather have a machine count their steps than learn to control what they put in their bodies.

  • Kevin Patrick

    Technology doesn’t help people get in shape, but it can help people getting in shape do it more efficiently and provide useful information to them. Biofeedback devices, heart rate monitors, Fitbits, Basis Watches, etc; all of these provide data.

    If you’re not measuring what you’re doing, simply put, you’re just dicking around. Technology makes that measuring process easier. The guy who throws up a few plates, bops around to a machine here or a machine there isn’t working out; he’s playing. Playing isn’t bad, but it’s not motivated.

    Technology makes that process simpler, and can contribute to motivation. When you run for a few weeks, and can watch your average heart rate come down while your run times come up, that’s motivating.

    No matter how fancy the tools, how cutting-edge the devices; without the proper motivation and focus, you won’t get fit. It’s an ancillary help, but can’t replace the effort. As technology gets better, and those prices get drive down, the average joe has access to the kinds of data and feedback that a decade ago were only the purview of the world’s elite athletes and the very wealthy.

    Now, for $250 you can start tracking, measuring, and making informed changes. Technology can help you do it better, but it won’t do the thing by itself. When you have the data, you need to analyze it and turn into intel. You need to to know what to do with the numbers to make proper use of it. That’s the rub these days. You can pull all kinds of numbers out of your ‘quantified self’ life, but with the knowledge of what that means and what to do it, it’s still just play.

    That’s my hope with the scholarship program: to take the numbers, the data, and have them crunched by someone who knows what they’re doing. To be held accountable, and with a mentor and coach work to my goals. I have not been able to do this myself to this point, and I hope Roman can provide the push and the expertise that I need to get this done.

  • Tony Velasquez

    I believe that technology can only take you so far when it comes to becoming a healthier/more fit individual. I work in the financial services industry, and robo-advisory offerings are a hot topic. However, I am a firm believer that people will want to buy/receive advice from people in the end. Technology only makes an individual more efficient in practice and services. I believe the same in fitness.

    Applications that count macros, offer training services, and even “tell” you what to do step by step help… however, I love the human interaction and coaching up front and personal. Or at least conversations, motivations, encouragement at the least to still be a human interaction. I use technology to help better my personal health but if technology were to go away as of tomorrow, I would find a way to still maintain a healthy lifestyle through personal research, coaching, and experimentation to make sure I am living life in the healthiest way possible.

    It is people like you Roman, among many people in the fitness industry that assist others via technology to spread your content out at a faster rate… but that is not the end game. I still have to put in the work! It simply comes down to how bad you want to be healthy. Technology is a tool to help that, but people helping people will always be the organic cause of progression in fitness.

    With what I just said about people helping people will always be the best option of help, technology helps the process. As long as you educate yourself properly with credible sources and weed out the bullshiters out there(one bad thing about technology and self-proclaimed “fitness gurus”. Make sure you choose the right technology/professionals to pay attention to so you can make progress based on your wants and needs.

    I really hope I get to be one of the six picked to work with you, Roman! I have been self-teaching myself everything and making small progress, which with fitness is the proper way to go… but with a true coach by my side for eight months, I think I can elevate my fitness work and brain knowledge to the next level.

  • Devon

    I believe that advances in technology can and do make it easier to get in shape but it’s still in the hands of the individual to actually commit and put in the work to make the change. I think it makes getting in shape easier because in a way it’s holding the individual accountable, and sometimes people find it motivating to see how many steps they’ve walked or how many calories they’ve expended.

    I think software like Apotheo does call for better coaching because it makes things more convenient, easier, allows the client to hold themselves accountable by checking in their macros / weight / ext, and having a grade will show both the client and the coach where they need to improve or why they haven’t seen the results that they want.

    I think wearable fitness devices can increase fitness but it’s dependent on the individual because some find it motivating to walk more to hit a certain amount of steps whereas others don’t give a shit how many steps they’ve walked. And again, I think the push toward self-qualification is dependent on the individual because for some having the data is useful whereas for others having the date takes the enjoyment out of fitness and nutrition and can cause stress to have everything tracked.

  • Jared Lutes

    Technology and results, I suppose to depends on the person.

    I’ve known people who want to track every calorie and rep every single day, and i’ve known people who i couldn’t pay to download a fitness related app. Of the latter, most of them are 40+ and won’t do it out of pure stubbornness or not even knowing how to access the app store on their phones.

    For the people in their teens, twenties, I’m positive these advancements in tech will be a factor in their fitness from here on out. For a generation that craves nothing more then instant gratification, whats better then knowing they hit EXACTLY at their prescribed macros, or that they have improved their reps by 5% the last 3 consecutive workouts.

    As cool as it looks pulling out the steno and pen and tallying up every rep and set during your workouts, when you already have your phone in your pocket because its already playing your music, might as well tally your workout in that too. Even more, that same phone is now capable of giving you a workout, and keeping you accountable on rest times.

    Oh, and tracking time during planks, because science has shown that time moves 73% slower when you’re planking…. true fact, check it out.

    I don’t see us ever being less attached to our phones as a society, once they figure out a way for google glass to not make people look insane i’m sure that wearable tech will be even more popular. Imagine going through a met-con workout with Roman right there in your peripheral, counting your reps, pushing you to not give up… and probably making a joke about the joy of butt play.

    We’re living in the future man.

  • Sarah Williamson

    I feel technology + the fitness world is a double-edged sword. While I’ve never owned a FitBit or Polar or any other kind of calorie tracker, I used the MyFitnessPal app for a brief period of time (five to six months), and having the ability to track my macros helped me to lose weight. After a time, though, I felt like there should be a point where I learn to eat “intuitively” instead of relying on technology to tell me the macros I should hit with my final meal of the day. While that is a lovely sentiment, and it certainly is achievable, it is optimistic and a bit naive to assume that everyone can do without the technology and still achieve their fat loss or fitness goals.

    I feel like it would be easy for anyone to get caught up in the numbers side of things–obsessing over calorie counts, time spent constantly inputting data, jumping on and off the scale every day, constant checking of the FitBit during a workout. Then it becomes another stressor in life instead of something helpful. But I can’t deny that keeping track of macros did help me get to where I wanted. I *did* drop body fat. I *did* log my workout numbers and improve. So where’s the point of balance?

    Fitness technology devices can be very instrumental in motivating someone who has no gauge of their level to push themselves. Didn’t burn enough calories in my workout to be satisfied? Next time, I’ll push the intensity. Next time, I’ll move faster. Harder. Next time, I’ll lift with heavier weights. More reps. I guess technology devices only really work as well as the users themselves.

    Beyond consumer data tracking devices, I feel like social media has been a huge help in keeping people motivated in their own fitness journeys. As an admin of a few Facebook business pages, I’m a fan of using them to encourage members to share their successes and struggles with each other. Camaraderie does a great service to everyone involved in helping to keep members accountable and more likely to show up to the next fitness class.

  • Christina Alexander

    If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If I run 10 miles, but they aren’t logged on a device, did I really run? I’m not a runner but I see a lot of this mentality on social media. People post their times, miles, steps, and calories burned. They rant and freak out if their Fitbit breaks or is lost. All those miles–gone! Did they ever matter?
    Trackers and computer programs are not a measure of health or sucess or failure. They may be great at allowing someone to track and see progress (or lack thereof), but the same could be accomplished with pen and paper, depending on what the person is tracking. Fitness techonology can cause as much anxiety as likes, double taps, and “follows” do on social media. I find that a lot of people who own these devices and programs are more concered about the data than about their actual health and progress. Athletes and their trainers surely benefit from new technology, but Mary Smith who tracks all her steps and her runs? What is her real motivation? Will she fall to pieces over “lost miles” if her device is stolen? True story, by the way, and poor Mary is not alone. There are online communities of people who track everything in lives: food intake, sleep, even bowel movments. It’s all important data as far as they are concerned, and they are logging it and sharing it with the internet. All this is part of the growing thought that if it didn’t happen online, it didn’t happen. Fitness technology is just a small part of a bigger issue.
    My bias, of course, is that I am not a tracker. As someone who enages in strength training and cycling for the sake of my health and for the fun of the challenge, I don’t want the added stress of daily number crunching and analyzing. True progress and results can be measured with improvement in strength and endurance.

  • Kaitlyn

    In theory, technology should make it easier to get in shape. You can literally google the calorie count and macro breakdown of any food. You have apps that will track that food and calories for you, simply by just typing in what you ate; or even scanning a bar code. You can wear a bracelet that tracks, somewhat accurately, the number of calories you burn in a day, the number of calories you eat, all the way down to how well you slept last night. All of this technology should make things easier. However, we still are facing an obesity epidemic. This is because while all of this makes life easier, losing fat and being healthy comes down to dedication. Sure, the calorie counts on menus make you be more mindful in what food you’re choosing to eat. And remembering to track what food you are eating should help you pick healthier foods, no one wants to see that red negative calorie number on myfitnesspal. But at the end of the day, if you are only somewhat dedicated to getting yourself healthy, you will not be successful in the end.

  • Mara K

    This is going to be the lamest essay submitted because I’ve only every used Myfitnesspal or maybe some “map your race” app but I really, really want to win so here goes…Technology, fitness related or otherwise, is really only as reliable as the creator or contributor. If anyone is allowed to contribute to the site (Myfitnesspal) and they enter bogus stats then the data is going to be bogus. I still use, from time to time, Myfitnesspal just to make sure I’m hitting my protein/fat goals but when it tells me that I’ve got 10 g carbs in my black coffee or it ever so gently reminds me that I’ve gone over my allowed fat grams for the day I want to throat punch it…like seriously…if I didn’t want to fork over the cash for a new computer/phone I would throw it in my front yard and teach it who’s gone over their fat grams!! I digress….Same goes for count my steps/map my race, I volunteered to chair a 5K and had to make sure that racers were running an actual 5k and I had to map it 3 f*ing times because different apps gave me different distances! I don’t have any experience with the programs you mentioned, but in general, the ones I’ve used have been unreliable or just not in sync with my goals. So, there’s my two cents…now pick me!!!!

  • Tony Spitznagel

    It’s very simple to track not just calories, but also macro
    and even micro nutrients with our smart phones these days. It’s easy to know how many steps we’ve taken,
    how well we are sleeping, and actively know what our heart rate is at any
    instant. It only takes a few seconds to
    pull up countless YouTube videos on the proper way to perform a sqwat or a full
    workout routine. Our coaches and
    trainers can keep updated on our progress and modify our plan to achieve our
    goals using software like Apotheo, even if they’re halfway across the world in
    a time zone several hours off of our own. A few years ago, none of this was possible.

    Advances in technology have made it easier to get into
    shape, but along with the ease comes a new set of obstacles. Micro managing every aspect of our lives
    becomes cumbersome and can easily wear someone out when they have hundreds of
    other things to worry about in a given day.
    Additionally, while finding information on nutrition or workouts is
    extremely simple to do, and it is everywhere, it can be just as difficult to
    find GOOD information. It’s not uncommon
    for a beginner to spend two hours researching whether or not diet soda is bad
    for you, to just walk away even more confused than they were before they wasted
    those two hours. Additionally, as we
    begin to rely more and more on the technology to handle the guesswork for us,
    we are handicapping our own knowledge and ability to do it ourselves. What do we do when we forget to bring our
    smartphone or fitness tracker to the gym with us? How can we count up the calories and macros
    at a multi-course restaurant without pulling out our smart phone.

    With great power comes great responsibility, and in this
    case the power is the technology and the responsibility is on us to not just
    work the tech, but also understand why we are doing what we are doing. We need to understand how macronutrients play
    a role in achieving our goals and how to do basic counting of macros without an
    app. We need to understand the way our
    bodies, muscles, and joints work so that we can be certain we are performing
    workouts correctly. Technology is
    certainly a great tool that we are lucky to be living with today, but it is
    simply that: a great tool.

  • mom-mahem

    Technology and fitness are both in the same category in my mind- they can be powerful tools making it easier to thrive and enjoy life, or it can be an overwhelming frustration. I have lots of technology tools at my disposal- devices, monitors, apps, etc but often these devices use software or algorithms that don’t work for my body. Just counting steps and calories doesn’t achieve results for me personally. Having a heart rate monitor on is fine, except I need the knowledge of which zone I should be in for how long etc to achieve certain fitness goals. And, I can spend oodles of time measuring, tracking, and calculating but if I don’t see change it is extremely hard to stay motivated and figure out what is stalling the progress. Having support to know which technology actually is beneficial for ME would be hugely helpful in achieving my fitness and health goals in an effective and efficient way.

    However, technology might also be very useful for me to be able to reach out to a wider fitness community, if I knew which platform would be best for me. I live in a rural area that has very limited access to competent fitness professionals that are skilled enough to be able to get me the kind of results I want. I have a good base level of fitness and knowledge of overall healthy lifestyle and eating choices but still struggle with percentage body fat and a toned mid section. I find I am often faster and stronger than others in exercise classes, and use healthy eating strategies learned from online fitness professionals. However, at this point I have stalled in reaching the goals I know I can achieve and the technology, tools, and strategies I am using currently have not made me break through this plateau, but increased my annoyance and frustration.

    Technology can be a great fitness tool if it works and becomes easily embedded in your everyday routine. But I think more important than a specific app or device is knowing what routine and tools (technology being one of these of course) work best for the individual. No app or device will help change a lifestyle unless it’s used with the correct support, consistency, and knowledge of how to use it effectively.

  • Yan

    Yes, for sure! Advances in technology make it easier to get in shape, stay focused and motivated. We can track our PBs, heart-rate, calories burnt and consumed, even our sleep quality. Also tracking our workout exercises, meals. To top it up, we can also video ourselves, take selfies and share it to our community of like-minded bros and sis. And we all know that, humans are essentially social creatures, so technology definitely make it all the more easier to stay committed and motivated, especially with an awesome and remarkable coach like yourself. And sometimes plans may not actually work, results does not show after sticking to a program, and that’s when science comes into play. Not everyone has access to ECG or some high tech gadgets that can track muscular activation and all the gizmos, so wearable fitness devices definitely give online coaches and also ourselves a benchmark to fall back on and tweak the program again.

  • Rachel Lilley

    Technology is an enabler to help people get into shape, but
    it isn’t the biggest driver for success in this area. Overall, the desire and
    will of the individual seeking to meet health and fitness goals will determine the
    outcomes they achieve – technology can track your activity, but it can’t make
    you go to the gym.

    It could be easy to suggest devices such as Fitbits increase
    fitness – some 21 million Fitbits have been sold since Fitbit’s founding in
    2007 which would indicate people are using these devices to become healthy and
    active. This isn’t matched however by obesity rates, which in developed
    countries continue to climb. Some two-thirds of US-based adults are still considered
    overweight or obese. Why might this be the case? Aside from a lack of
    understanding regarding health and nutrition, devices such as Fitbits may have
    a detrimental effect on people’s fitness levels as they assume by wearing a
    Fitbit, they are actually getting fit. Or that data collected by the device (calories
    burnt or steps walked) may be used justify food which might not otherwise be consumed, as there is a perception some “exercise” has been done.

    The personal wearable device market has likely increased the
    number of “active” people and encouraged those who might otherwise remain
    sedentary to go for a walk. However, devices don’t provide support in other
    areas of an individual’s life, such as providing nutrition information, which
    is a key component in health and fitness. Therefore, while the short-term
    results might be more people taking the stairs rather than the elevator, the
    jury is still out regarding whether these devices “increase fitness” more
    generally.

    That said, technology can directly assist people to get into
    better shape through engagement with their coach or trainer, such as software
    like Apotheo. Apotheo is an enabler as it allows for a closer relationship
    between the coach and client to develop – a simple to use interface where all
    client related data is held. Signing into systems to share data at
    pre-determined times also gives clients accountability – they are not “out of
    sight, out of mind” from their coach.

    The push to self-quantification could go either way depending
    on the mind-set of the individual. Some individuals will stress and not view their
    results objectively, while others will interpret the data for what it is; a
    measurement at a place in time. Self-quantification as a single measure of
    fitness should to be considered in the wider context of an individual’s life to
    get a true gauge on their level of fitness.

    Overall, technology is a tool to enable fitness, and the
    intent of the individual in how they use that tool, as well as their desire to
    succeed, will always determine their success.

  • Timothy James

    Personally, I love Fitbit. It’s not essential but it helps somehow to inspire me to focus on my goals. Knowing how fast my heart beats during my workout by just glancing on my wrist is so much more convenient than counting them manually. Granted that they are not 100% accurate but still, having technology works for you took away some of the guess work and allows you to focus more on what’s important, which is the quality of your workout.

    On the other hand, I’ve always believe that success comes from hard work, both mentally and physically. No amount of technology will ever be able to produce results without effort on our part, at least not yet.

    Anyways, I love where the technology in fitness is heading. In this day and age, more and more people have their own fitness tracker in some form or another. This piece of technology actually inspires people to move more, to exercise more and to sleep more, if not better.

    Just my 2 cents. Gimme the scholarship please.. :)

  • Josh Madeira

    It will clearly depend on the individual…some people will gain some small benefits from using technology to increase their results in some way. For others it will simply just be time consuming and not a benefit at all. It comes down to your age, current experience with technology and general preference.

    For me, I like to use a weighing scale and music to enhance my nutrition and work outs respectively. Anything else for me would feel like it’s controlling or restricting me personally. For others, i am sure being able to track things systematically like heart rate, timing, calories & macro nutrient ratio’s can help for people who are into that sort of thing, have no experience at all or at the higher end of the spectrum (elite competitors/athlete’s or top models etc).

    At the end of the day it depends on what works for you…your attitude, values, priorities, personal preferences and personality determine if these advances will help you or if they will simply confuse, distract or play mind games with you. Hard work, the right training and schedule, sleep/lifestyle/balance, consuming the right amount of calories/partitioning for your goals, consistency and mindset are the most important foundation for any health & fitness goals. These advances in technology in my opinion might help 5-10% about as much as supplements can help ONLY IF the above I mentioned are in place first!

  • Zak Snyder

    Technology has increased our abilities to do a variety of different things. If technology did not exist, you would not be able to have online clients and we could not seek out online coaching. However, I think that sometimes technology can do more harm than good.

    Certain software can help lead to better tracking of workouts/nutrition, but I believe that overall coach/client communication leads to better results. I don’t think software automatically results in better coaching, I think the coach and client decided on “better coaching”. Coaching is a give and take relationship. Both client and coach have to be accountable for their behaviors.

    Wearable fitness devices seem cool at first, counting steps and tracking sleep, but from my own experience using a Fit Bit, it just started to stress me out. As a society, many of us have become so tech dependent that we do not pay attention to what is around us. I feel that sometimes these devices take away from moments you could have in life.

    Currently, I am obtaining my MBA and walking across campus some days everyone has their heads down in their smart phone, not away of what is around them. It is quite sad.

    Maybe one day we can find a balance between these devices and enjoy the moments that right now pass us by.

  • Kara Holdom

    Does technology have it’s place in fitness? Who am I to say no?

    I recently bought myself a Fitbit… top of the line, cost me a pretty penny. Do I use it? As a watch, to time my workouts, get my heart-rate, to see if I’m in the fat burning zone, yeah, for that, I guess I do, but for the other stuff, it’s all too time consuming for me. I prefer to sweat than sit in front of my iPad manually entering food and stuff. I get bored of having to do it and it takes away the time I have to enjoy my real life. If my intention was to be a professional fitness athlete and I needed to record everything, technology would be my go-to guy. For right now… it’s about a pair of calipers and reducing the fat over my mid section, triceps and arse.

    I’m just your average former fatty, and I’m old school: if I can not fit into my clothes, I need to tighten everything up and sweat it out a bit more. This is not to say that technology does not have it’s place. For other overweight people, being able to record and revisit those figures as the weight comes off may be the incentive needed to keep on going when times get tough. All over Instagram there are inspiring pictures of weight loss success, so the technology on our phones, as simple as it may seem now, a camera; this could be all the technology needed for someone to keep on striving if their path becomes rough. Goodness knows when I’ve had the sad sacks and needed a pick me up, I’ll go back to my last photo taken at my heaviest and think, I’ve come so far, it’s not worth giving it up now. A photo is technology. It’s useful.

    For me, results come from what I see. How am I looking? How are my clothes fitting? Whats my new 1RM for a deadlift. How do I feel? Those are figures I don’t forget. that last question, no computer, app or heart rate monitor can answer. Personally, for me, fitness and health is about what you do, not what you have to record what you do. That’s me, though. For others, it is different, macros, sleep logs, steps, cardio minutes, etc.

    The only technology that pushes me at the gym is the chemical reactions happening in brain and my adrenals pumping out that endorphin high, with my audio receptors allowing the music from my phone to pump up the beast inside me when it’s coming towards those last few struggle reps of a set, and my muscles are on fire. If I ever become a fitness athlete, my tune might change, but for now, I see myself as the technology that pushes me to work harder.

    I am the only piece of technology that walks the walk, the Fitbit just records it.

  • Joe Evilsizor

    I don’t believe that technology is necessary for people to achieve their fitness goals. Personally I have never used any fitness devices, apps, or anything else on the market today. Results will come from your workouts and your nutrition, not your damn phone.

    I must admit, however, that I am the last person who should be commenting on technology, as I have never even worn headphones to the gym. Mainly because I like to say hi to people, give a smile, and act like a normal human. I have also witnessed that listening to headphones increases the likelihood of singing the word “fuck” out loud, which increases the likelihood of smashing plates together, which increases the chances of people thinking you’re a douchebag, which makes me not want to wear headphones for fear of acting like a douchebag. I know my logic is flawed and I apologize for that, I honestly have nothing against headphones or people who use them responsibly.

    My main problem is that the fitness industry wants you to believe that the only thing standing between you and your dream physique is a “purchase of something”. I have no facts or data to back my next statement up, and I am probably talking out of my ass, but I would bet that percentage wise, people who use the latest fitness devices don’t achieve their fitness goals any more often than people who don’t spend a dime on those items. Unless of course your fitness goal is just to use your Fitbit for the sake of using your Fitbit.

    Do what makes you happy, that’s the bottom line! As far as technology in the fitness industry is concerned, if you want to use it, use it. If you don’t, then don’t. Figure out what works for you and enjoy the journey.

    As far as Apotheo being a good coaching software, I have no idea what the hell that is. But if Roman says it is sweet though, the chances of that actually being the case would increase by a solid 4 to 7%.

  • Akash Thakkar

    I think technology does make things a lot easier for those wanting to get fit. Not necessarily for those of us on this comment thread, but for those who may not be interested in calculating their macros and calories on a daily basis.

    Things like the Apple Watch and FitBit surface data that few people would care about on its own.

    Gamifying fitness with cool graphics, bars, tracking, and leaderboards makes typically boring stats more fun. While counting 10,000 steps every day may not get your totally shredded, technology like this can get people interested in fitness in general, which could eventually lead them to doing things like weightlifting, eating healthy, etc.

    While wearables and other fitness tech is by no means necessary to get in great shape, they certainly introduce a sense of novelty into what could be an otherwise boring pursuit for the average person.

  • Kasey Jones Tonsfeldt

    Do advances in technology make it easier to get in shape? Yes, No and Maybe. Yep, I’m that asshole. Seriously though, hear me out.

    Yes, wearable tech, advanced coaching software, enhanced access to educational tools, how-to videos, podcasts, research, etc. help because they give us more data. For those of us who pore over research, who love the process of learning and then distilling hefty quantities of information into highlights and key lessons to recall daily or share with friends, wearable tech is fucking awesome. It’s another (vastly more whiz-bang-neato!) way to conduct the never-ending n=1 experiment of life.

    But alas, with more data and more information comes more indecision, confusion, misdirection and analysis paralysis. Without the proper context for that distillation I mentioned above, frankly, you’re screwed (and not in that fun, sweaty, raunchy, Saturday night way either). Wearable tech can be the thing that convinces someone they’re doing all the right things, when they could be making disastrous mistakes. Example: “When I do 90 minutes on the elliptical every day and eat only salad and rice cakes, Myfitnesspal/Fitbit/Whateverthefuck tells me I should lose 10 pounds in the next 2 weeks. Why am I still flabby, feel like death warmed over and keep getting sick?!” Context and a deeper level of understanding is the key here, folks.

    Here’s the point. Data is awesome. I’m an unabashed data geek and I am absolutely Malcolm Gladwell’s Maven. I want to learn and I want to share that information because I truly believe it will make things better. That being said, information for information sake is a pointless enterprise. Some information just isn’t relevant or it’s not telling you the whole story (Correlation not causation anybody?). Data can be your salvation or the siren luring you to your untimely demise. You need something else to help you decipher which.

    Eventually you’ve gotta do. You need to put the information to use and learn for yourself what’s worth holding onto and what’s worth calling bullshit. This is especially true in fitness. I’ve got hashimoto’s and CMT (a degenerative neurological disease). Let me tell you that what works for a naturally athletic ectomorph, ain’t gonna work for this chick. It doesn’t mean the naturally athletic ectomorph doesn’t make valid or useful points about fitness. It means that I run that through my own whiz-bang-neato tool called personal judgement (or experience, or self awareness, or whatever). I test and I tinker. I iterate and I improve.

    Yes, no, maybe. Or perhaps yes, but.

    Also, ladies represent! What! What!

  • Kyle Westfall

    I’m not a fan of technology, it didn’t work for Ivan Drago. I think they’re(fitbit, and Lord, whatever else is out there) fine for aerobic/distance events(interval times, calculating wattages, etc.) but can detract from the connectedness to training. The levels of technolgy, the heirarchy of gadgets, to me personally is staggeringly overwhelming. Anything more than headphones and I’m outtie. My routines as I’ve gotten older, with less Bro time to train with Bro’s, has become more streamlined. I basically do a 3-5 routine I first heard conceptualized by Charles Staley(3-5 reps, for 3-5 sets, 3-5 exercises,3-5 times a week) although I do play with the rep ranges. There is a digital clock at my gym I do rely on for timed sets, does that count? I try to auto-regulate my workouts by how I feel, the crispness of my reps and my pulse, I don’t need a gadget for this, in fact, for me, it would detract. I like the technology afforded to me in cardio equipment, as it’s easier to see if in fact, you are burning more calories, improving conditioning. But, as for weight training, just let me wrap my hands around a barbell, or dumbbell, and I’m good to go.

  • Drew Scott

    Technology, as it has always been, is a double edged sword. Having worked in technology retail for the better part of the last decade I have not seen it displayed so clearly since the surge in popularity of fitness wear.

    Access to information is a wonderful thing, knowledge is power and all that, but at no other time in human history has it been so easy to access so much knowledge. Consequently it has never been so easy to have your version of knowledge heard and so you have to wade through the lead to find the gold (unless you’re an alchemist). This leads to so many people, including myself, into a state of paralysis by analysis or into jumping from one trend or idea to another in the blink of an eye while never actually achieving anything.

    Fitness watches or bands or apps do not remedy this, if anything they compound it. While those with clear guidance or a sound knowledge base can use these tools to gather quantifiable data to fine tune programs or exercise levels or macro intake, the average Joe just gets more recommendations thrown at them. Your fitness watch tells you to do 10,000 steps a day. Your nutrition app gives you yet another calculation of your ideal calorie intake (and its macro breakdown) which is different to the 5 other websites you just compared it against. While the idea is great, to make people accountable to themselves, so many people buy and wear such things to mediate the guilt they feel about being overweight in a society that is ever more weight-loss focused.

    While technology is wonderful (I’m actually a big fan) and it gives you so many tools to use in order to better yourself, it is often not without the human element that it becomes effective. The push of competition between mates of who can do the most steps in a month. Or the encouragement of a coach or training partner to get your heart rate up one more BPM to really hit your limits. Often without these aspects, a fitness watch becomes little more than a watch. And one far less stylish than you may otherwise pay the same money for.

  • Meg Davis

    I think that technology is just another tool to add to your “fitness box”. BodPods, FitBits, MyFitnessPal, fitness forums, etc., are just a few of the tools that I personally use. I have a love/hate relationship with them all….I think they provide good feedback about what you’re doing right and wrong, but I also think that you can easily get obsessive with it. I find that wearing my FitBit can give me a false sense of achievement at times. “Oh look, I’ve already met my step goals for the day!” Is 10,000 steps really that hard to get to for most people? The gratification of that little buzz is pretty amazing though, and I do find myself opting to go for that walk instead of letting someone else pick up my daughter from school, or looking at cleaning the house as a way to add some steps to my total. I suppose in that aspect, wearable fitness devices do increase fitness. The “self-quantification” is great…as long as you’re seeing results, but can be downright heartbreaking when you’re struggling to do so. Thus, the literal “I’m doing everything right” cry I tend to have with my husband about once a month. You also have to be wiling to use that data. I’m getting back on track (after taking a break for a month or two), as far as inputting my food into MFP, but I find myself getting discouraged when I see that my (perceived?) lowered caloric intake isn’t corresponding to fat loss. Or maybe it is. Maybe I should go get a BodPod test to really stress out about it. It’s a vicious cycle.
    Bottom line is that you need to put in the blood, sweat and tears to get/stay in shape, regardless of how you do it, but technology can make it more fun/engaging/traumatic/discouraging/awesome to do so. Just like with everything else in life, right?

  • Anthony Mantarro

    Technology in fitness has benefits and drawbacks.

    The great benefits are in the tracking abilities we have these days.

    Back before these, people needed to log meals in a journal and calculate calories from books which needless to say is a time consuming endeavour. In addition, estimating calories was another calculation that you required to do yourself. Anyone here enjoy multiple math lessons per day?

    Other tracking with all in one devices like FitBit and Nuvi that replace the old school pedometer allowing better step tracking, distances and heart rates allowing you to better determine whether or not you are pushing yourself adequately both in the moment and as a day/week view.

    I have seen more and more training apps that allow you to workout with a full schedule in front of you and timing which add the benefit of a trainer in your pocket whilst keeping your wallet relatively less empty. Definitely a plus. I can say I have used such and app many times.

    I regularly use Drobox to review my PDF files of the workout I am doing and have excel to enter my log.

    The drawback I find is people absolute reliance on the technology without any question on the real world feedback.

    Some people track their calories and estimate their calorie expenditure, track their steps and monitor their heart rate but if they aren’t getting the results they desire, they don’t change what they are doing because the numbers don’t allow for any deviations.

    Whilst numbers are great, the body doesn’t know what these numbers are. The body doesn’t know that that piece of chicken you are eating contain 200 calories, it just does its job based on the internal and external environment.

    It is this reliance that contribute to a large number of people giving up on their goals of improved health and fitness.

  • Marc Fini

    It could just be that I’m a complete and utter nerd… or it could be that I’m easily distracted by shiny things… Oh look! A dog with a puffy tail… Heehee… Wait… Where was I? Oh yeah. Does technology make it easier to get in shape? In my humble opinion, it certainly does. I’m a firm believer that if it’s not measured, it’s not managed. Without knowing where you are and the difference from there to where you need to be, it’s a lot harder to achieve your goals. So devices which measure and provide specific, actionable feedback (check out something like Skulpt just recently on Indiegogo) are hugely valuable in helping me (and others?) get in shape. Technology like video calling and Apotheo help keep us accountable – another key factor in actually achieving your goals – and provide a management tool for nutrition plans, workouts and advice. Personally, I’d find it invaluable knowing that I had constant advice and contact with a trainer without having to trek off to the gym. That provides huge motivation to stay on track and immediately seek the help that I’d need. So personalised, specific data, access to advice when you need it and accountability are all huge benefits that technology brings.

    But, asking “do wearable fitness devices actually increase fitness?” – that, I don’t believe, is true as much. Technology like this provides fluffy data that doesn’t mean a lot and can give you feedback which is more likely to convince you that you are doing fine than drive you to the next level of achievement. In essence they are comfort inducing, not challenging, not motivating. The data isn’t in depth enough to provide a real analysis of where you are at and where you need to be. It becomes de-motivating and most of this sort of tech gets shoved in the 2nd drawer from the top after a few months and never seen again.

    So, in short, the right tech = good, fluffy tech = bad. Hope that clarifies it for you.

  • adam hays

    I believe technology does help with fitness. Technology allows us to track progress better, track calories, optimize supplements/ nutrition, analyze data, utilize the best equipment, etc. those who choose to use it to benefit are wise, those who lean on it as THE main focus of a program might be hurting results. People have been getting in shape and working hard to perform better, etc for many years. Results they have been able to achieve have been good throughout the years.. You want it bad enough and you put in the effort and work- you get results. However, one can leverage technology to be another tool in the belt that provides the extra edge. Gotta use it synergistically to help enhance a program not to direct and lead the program. Gotta have variety, hard work, determination, consistency, nutrients, and support. Technology can and will help with these things but can take the place of none.

  • As a cyclist, I have been lucky to use technology to track my fitness in recent years in a manner that was unimaginable 30 years ago and unaffordable 20 years ago. Power meters for cyclist are fantastic tools for measuring workload in wattage and kilojoules. Whether in the cranks, the rear hub, or in the pedals, a power meter is an essential tool for the modern cyclist who is serious about training.

    What can I measure with a power meter? At a basic level, I can get a fairly accurate calorie count of how many calories I burned during my workout. How is this possible? Since a cyclist is 25% efficient, it turns out that the kilojoules of work performed is approximately equal to kilocalories. As someone who is trying to reach my racing weight, finding out an accurate calorie expenditure is a huge bonus.

    Power meters also allow me to measure intensity and improve my performance in certain types of efforts whether they be aerobic, VO2 max, or neuromuscular in nature. I can record wattage during races and then mimic those stresses in my workouts.

    A power meter also allows me to measure anaerobic work capacity and my ability to recover from multiple anaerobic efforts throughout a race. In a criterium or a cyclocross race, the deciding factor is being able to repeat dozens and dozens of hard efforts over the period of 45 minutes to an hour of racing.

    Lastly, a power meter allows me to look at my cumulative work load and gauge how much to rest or recover after big training days. Prior to power meters it was hard to guess how much to rest during the taper period leading up to a big event.

    Based on my experiences with power meters, I’m all in favor of any tools that add additional data that helps me train and recover in a more systematic way.

  • I’m certainly enticed by the constant offerings of
    technology to improve my workouts. Sadly, to date these offerings have fallen
    short. Worse yet, it’s not that these failures have been absolute. Rather, all
    the latest gadgets seem to get some features right, which far more infuriating
    than had they simply not functioned correctly at all. Far better if they could
    be cast aside without another worry, having clearly proven themselves total
    pieces of crap. Instead, I’ve got “smart” watches, GPS trackers, heart rate
    monitors, elevation training masks, e-stim devices, and God knows what else
    littering my home gym and my living room, all with an infuriatingly modest
    degree of usefulness. Which means that every so often, I’ll pick of them back
    up, hoping that “this time will be the time” that they’ll correctly count all
    my reps, or detect when I’m going from zone 2 to zone 3, or help me recover
    from a heavy squat day, and they will still only get about 70% right. 70% is
    barely a C, that ain’t going to cut it.

    We’re still in the early adapter phase for a lot of the
    technology, and so I try not to bash these gadgets too hard. However, the
    fitness industry is still a few iterations away from having a catch-all device
    that doesn’t force someone in the middle of a metcon to stop what they’re doing
    to re-enter the weight they just cleaned. Sure, if all you want to know is how
    many steps you’ve made in a single day, we’ve mastered that technology. I’m
    fairly certain people writing comments on Roman’s website aren’t satisfied with
    that level of technology however. All these shortcomings pull the exerciser out
    of their groove, interrupting the workout as they fumble with buttons,
    de-focusing their efforts from the actual task at hand by forcing them to
    handle minute details that have nothing to do with heavy squats. We’ve got a
    ways to go before what we hope for and what’s readily available are one in the
    same.

  • Brad Davis

    I think fitness related technology has a positive impact on fitness overall. I have observed much anecdotal evidence that supports assertions that wearable fitness devices are very motivating. The ability to compete with friends and family on a daily basis in terms of steps taken, calories burned, etc, is a motivating tool. Additionally, I have personally experienced success with online calorie trackers. Tools like Myfitnesspal allow users to keep meticulous control of calorie counts, thus leading to greater weight loss in the long run. I have no experience or knowledge of the other softwares mentioned.

  • Siawash Ahmadi

    Advances in technology mean nothing if the individual is not committed to the long-term commitment of being fit. All these technological gadgets may help individuals start their journey, but it won’t keep them committed. I’ve used Fitbit’s, had (have) a Body Space account, bought Kelechi Opara’s Nutritionist app (amazing app btw, definitely recommend it), as well as used multiple cool training apparatus’. But none of this made me any more committed that you would expect. I would still occasionally skip the gym, cheat on my diet, tracking macros seemed like an insane process, and don’t even get started on measuring meals.

    Just pick me, I’ll change my physique, be happy, and you can get more recognition as the cool guy who helps people.

    I am using apps as of now to track my progress (Habitica, BodySpace, Nutritionist, etc.) and help me with my goals. But none of that would matter until I saw myself in the gym lifting the same as I did 3 years ago. I focused more on recovery, nutrition, strength, and even…cardio. But I am now seeing my motivation dip again, as I am binging on weekends. So help me :)

    I know this isn’t 500 words, but I spent 5 years in University and I never had to write essays, so forgive me, I do not know what to write. I am however good at scientific papers.

    So here is a five step process of how we can be BFF’s:

    Step 1: Pick me (I am also an advocate of I.F.)

    Step 2: Rock my world with scientifically backed workouts and nutrition plans.

    Step 3: I open a blog documenting the journey.

    Step 4: Profit?!?

    Step 5: I will give you the “most influential person of my life” award (when my blog opens). Think about it, you’ll beat my own father, by a solid five spots.

    Bonus: Profit???

  • Aaron Mathias

    I believe technology and apps make great additions to a persons pursuit of fitness. It puts more valuable info into the laypersons hands allowing him to be more concious of what and why he is doing what he is doing.
    That being said. You can have every piece of tech in the world and be no further ahead then you were before if you don’t have that one simple albeit sometimes elusive ingredient. Want! Wanting to really do it. To go for it and pull all the fucking stops out and go for it. The willingness to wake up and even sometimes when you are not feeling it to go in there and get it done.
    It’s easy to press download, it’s easy to show someone your awesome new triple delux 10g 3 d hollagram excercise designing widget, but pull yourself from the confines of the warm blankets and sexy flesh your lying next to and say this is important to me. Getting my self to my fullest potential is worth it. I am worth it !
    I think if you combine that amazing tech with that drive you will truly be unstoppable and access higher potentials. So go for it !! Do it for the one person who is always there. You!

  • Tom

    I think technology has the ability to improve ones level of fitness, but its not really there yet. Fitbits and GPS trackers do a decent job of tracking movement and some even capture some biometric data. But there are more aspects to fitness than those limited measures and none of them really track your level of effort. And they do a poor to non existent job of tracking activities like weight training. They can help to motivate, i.e., get your 10k steps in. But with the current limitations, they are not all that useful for really improving your health. When they can tell me I’m coasting during my lift and shock my butt into working to my capacity, then we will have a useful electronic fitness device!

  • Roy Reichle

    In general, I do not believe technology is all that necessary to achieving a premium level of fitness. In my opinion, the single-most important factor is personal drive. You have to want to be fit and the reason you want it must be emotionally important to you. In my case, I have always been in great condition because my chosen outdoor lifestyle demands it. I have been a rock climber and long-distance backpacker for over thirty years and in order to continue climbing and hiking I need to be fit. As I have aged, I’m fifty-five now, other factors have crept in, like being able to do whatever I need to do to live everyday life. I see too many people around me whose day-to-day choices are dependent on physical capability, and I want nothing to do with that.

    To me, technology is more of a hindrance to fitness than anything. I see too many people in the gym staring at the tiny screens on their phone, trying to do the workout they’re streaming. Since it’s so small, they have to hold the screen in order to see it, so their hands are rendered useless for working out. Then, when they set it down, they have no idea if they’re doing the exercise correctly, so they’re forced to restart the video and watch it again, all of which slows their workout to a crawl.
    Then there are the techo-users who spend more time scrolling through their playlists than actually working out. Music is good and the research backs up the efficacy of listening to motivating music, but when song choice escalates into thousands of different tunes, the workout actually suffers. Another similar problem is lack of focus. Too many gym attendees spend too much time scrolling facebook, snapchat, or some other narcissistic social inanity because they have all the focus of an ADHD gnat on caffeine. Maybe they’re lonely, but I think they might do well to cut the umbilical and be on their own for a bit. Again, getting in shape is about wanting it and that desire has to be greater than your need for choice, distraction, or attention.
    There are two technologies that I have used and seen used with success. The first is a heart-rate monitor. It’s an excellent feedback for exercise intensity, and until an individual truly grasps what real exertion feels like, it can get a person in the ballpark. The other device I have used is an activity tracker. I have used a Gruve and a Fitbit. Both have helped me keep more aware of how much I am or am not moving daily. Having that awareness keeps me from spending too much time in a chair and not enough time running, jumping, climbing, and lifting.
    Technology can be a benefit to getting fit, but it must always be subject to the first need of desire. There is no substitute for being personally driven to succeed.

  • Felipe Oliveira

    Hey roman. First of all I’m from Brazil, then sorry if I write something which doesn’t make sense. =D I believe technology helps just a little bit, because with technology, I mean with internet and this a lot of information we have to be wise in choosing the right websites and people to seek information about everything, mainly about fitness stuff, because nowadays many companies just are interested in make profit and not helping people. But softwares lake Apotheo I think is a good tool to help people achieve their goals. About the wearable devices, at least for me I get stressed with this kind of stuff. I’m a kind of person which less is more and I think they are not too accurate yet to for its use reason. Anyway, thanks for the opportunity about the 6 scholarship. Peace out.

  • Kimberly Neil

    I think that technology can make getting in shape easier, but obviously a person still has to put in the work, which some people struggle with. Technological advances, like apps, can be great tools to use when a person is already motivated to work towards a goal. Apps like Nike Training, that offer workout programs to follow or just individual workouts can help a person have guidance and structure. Apps that sync with our various watches and fitbits or whatever are good tools to measure progress and motivate general movement. Food tracking apps are a good way to document your caloric intake, since it’s giving tons of information at any time, where you might not know what you’re looking at calorie/macro wise in a dish while eating out. Since most people have their smart phones with them everywhere these days, all these apps offer instant portability and easy access. With social media platforms, joining a group or following people who motivate you, offer tips, etc., is easier than ever. On the flip side, there’s the fact that these type of things can lead to comparisons and lowered self esteem. There’s also the fact that since you could be following anyone, just because they look how you want to look or talk smart, doesn’t mean they actually know what the hell they’re talking about. Videos made by the average gym goer or someone who follows guides you also are following and is getting great results, don’t necessarily show great form, which can lead to injury if you think that’s the right way to do a move because this person who you follow looks so awesome. Then as far as the downside to apps, some of the same things apply. Misinformation, miscalculations, misuse (read: lying to the app about what you ate or how active you were), and then just failing to ever get around to using the 10th app you’ve downloaded because there’s so much to choose from. Misinformation can come from info that other users have entered in incorrectly (my fitness pal is an example that comes to mind. When you’re searching for the particular food you’ve added, your search results may include what other people have added themselves.) Miscalculations, because while all these apps can give rough estimates of caloric burn, they only ask for so much information. Since it’s not taking into account muscle versus fat in a person’s weight that’s entered, it’s going to be skewed at times. A fat, overweight person is going to burn much less calories than a person who is the same weight but loaded with muscle, which will often lead to an overweight person thinking they are burning way more than they actually are.

    Overall, my opinion of all the improvements we have is that they’re extremely useful though. The good outweighs the bad. The key is just actually using them, and being honest with yourself when you use them and putting in the work. And it always burns down to that: you have to put in the work if you want results. It’s not always fun, it’s not easy, and you have to stick with it.

    I’m not sure if I’ve met the word requirements, but this is my opinion and therefore my entry, so I hope so!

  • drew smith

    Technology definitely makes it easier to coach. It allows for more accurate measurement as well as easier tracking of an individual’s progression. The ability to track energy expenditure, muscle quality, range of motion, and other factors allows for safer training as well as better programming that is tailored to the individuals needs. Possibly the greatest advantage is the ability keep consistent lines of communication open. It allows the client to easily contact the trainer with any questions and/or concerns. This allows for changes to be made more easily to accommodate client progress and/or life situations that may arise. You can also tweak any nutrition parameters more easily. Due to this it helps keep clients motivated because they see the progress and they see the care the trainer is able to put into their success.

  • I think new tecnologi makes it easyer to trach personal fitnessdata, but personaly I think it takes something away from teh enjoyment of fitness. I like to workout because of how it make me feel, not to track calories, walked steps in a day or kilometers run. I do like to have the choice of the annual fat mesurment by tecnology, but it does not nessesary make me more motivated to get fit(ter). Anyways.. I just want da scolarship. O:)

  • Cristofer Morante

    I believe that advances in technology do not make it easier
    for the vast majority of people to improve their body composition. It is simply
    not the case that people struggle to attain their aesthetic goals due to a lack
    of quantifiable data (in my experience). However that is not to say it can’t
    make it easier IF used in the correct manner.

    The availability of more information to the individual is
    unlikely to give them any significant advantage. It could even contribute to
    the confusion caused by the vast quantities of misinformation and opposing
    ideas that are presented to the average person when they seek guidance on
    improving their physique.

    That said, if the data from whatever instrument it may be is
    utilised by an adept coach in devising and implementing their strategies then
    it will no doubt prove beneficial (particularly in an online programme where
    the coach may never physically meet the client).

    Even so, personal trainers have for decades used their own
    faculties to make insightful observation and achieved great results without the
    need for technological assistance so it is certainly not vital.

    It’s apparent that I am not the biggest advocate of fitness
    gadgets, maybe this is an extension of the cynicism I’ve grown thanks to
    exposure to all the stupid products and pure bullshit omnipresent in the fitness
    industry. BUT unsurprisingly there’s one blue haired alpha that seems to have
    nailed it.

    Having watched “Apotheo Informative” on YouTube, I would say
    that this appears to be a seriously impressive piece of software that would
    prove extremely useful for trainers and their clients. I’m excited to use it in
    pursuit of my own goals and would certainly consider using it with people that
    I will be coaching myself in the future (I am currently in the process of
    getting my personal trainer qualification).

  • Gerald Maulding

    My companies health insurance provider, like many these days, is offering incentives for their customers who are willing to monitor their health using a number of different electronic measuring devices. I have found that to those that have not kept up with their activity levels it seems to make a small difference in their physical activity. The problem is for most people this small difference does not lead to any real physical changes. Discipline and desire are in short supply and unfortunately these devices do not provide it. They make tracking a breeze. Whether it be your diet, your exercise, heart rate, calories burned it’s all right there. What’s not there is the ability to make yourself get out of bed, get off the couch, push away from the table and move. Until someone can tap into the part of the brain that makes someone WANT to do it all we’ll have is a lot of distraction. I wish I could transfer some of my need for fitness to others but no matter how much I want it for them, until they make up their minds to live a healthier lifestyle, they’ll always be frustrated. So to answer the question – No these devices don’t actually increase fitness levels – they just make it easier to keep track of how much you’re not doing.

  • Aubrey Fitzhenry

    Advances in technology can add a lot of data points, which can certainly be valuable. I would say that more data could be potentially very helpful for a coach, or for someone with a different personality type than me. For me personally though, more information is not always better. As an extremely analytical person, I find myself with a tendency to be either totally immersed (and obsessive), or able to be very relaxed, and use only the major data points every 2 weeks to check progress. Staying in between is difficult for me. It’s important for me to minimize stress, and little things like a wearable device telling me I burned 45 less calories on that brisk walk than I normally do would have a tendency to eat at me with little nagging questions (“Should I keep walking, should I eat a little bit less to make up for it?”). Without that information, I’ll just go for a walk, try to keep the distance and pace within a reasonable standard, and not stress about it otherwise at all.

    While I’d be happy to collect and record any data for a coach I trusted to make decisions about my programming for me, I’ve found over time that if I track my workouts and macros, and use the scale weight along with waist measurements, and the mirror test, things tend to progress just fine. Even if my scale weight stalls on a fat loss plan (this happens often for me) over a few weeks, but my waist is getting smaller, and clothes are fitting better, I know I’m on the right track. However, one of the biggest advantages of a coach is that they can remain totally objective in a way that I would not be able to, so with a great coach to keep me grounded, I could see more data being useful in providing more actionable information. When I am on my own however, additional data points thrown in for me really only allow me more chances to become obsessive, and that has treated me very poorly in the past. So I’ve found myself able to be much more consistent in progress, consistency, and general happiness on a fat loss plan when I just focus on hitting my daily/weekly goals, and tracking the more major measuring sticks for progress mentioned before.

  • Scott Carroll

    I definitely believe that advancing technology, especially in the area of wearable devices, can help a large majority of the population to get more fit and lead them down the path of an overall healthier lifestyle. I think it can do this in several different manners.

    First, technology can make a difference in your daily routine and “gamify” everything. Trackers can collect data (steps climbed, calories burned, etc) and push you towards new goals. You don’t have to do anything to get this information, so it frees you up to spend more time achieving your goal/working out.

    Second, apps that track your progress and very important because through all of that monitoring and setting goals, it creates positive feedback that we all know has psychological benefits towards weight loss.

    Third, I am very competitive with my close friends and like to have fun. My friends have trackers that rank their steps/activities with other friends and pushes them to take the top spot and win.

    Fourth, I love a challenge, in general, but I am not very good setting realistic goals for myself. So, my friends showed me on some of their devices and apps, like MyFitnessPal, that they have built-in challenges and goals. Takes the guess work out and makes it easy to participate.

    Ultimately, though, for people who need it, technology allows for many levels of “support.” You can be engaged or not engaged, as you like.

  • Christopher Scarfo

    I think that it’s a bit of both; easier and harder to get in shape with advances in technology. I think that it obviously makes it more attractive to a lot more people, and that’s a good thing. But, nothing can replace person-to-person feedback. How exactly you should be doing your workouts, not just what workouts you should be doing. Furthermore, a lot of those programs are cookie-cutter programs, and will not benefit everyone the same way.

    Now, as for wearable technology, I think that this provides us with a ton of usefull data and is definitely a plus for people wanting to get serious about their fitness. Again, its not absolutely necessary, because we can all calculate it manually (heart rate/ duration/ distance), however, having all this data in the same place with no extra effort, is what makes this really interesting.

    Last note would be this: anything that helps you personally get into shape, is a plus and should be utilized 110%. Don’t waste your time or your money though if you don’t need anything these programs/softwares/technology can offer.

    Good luck everyone.

  • Amy Neikrie

    I think technology makes it much easier for people to get healthy. It gives people access to the top trainers in the industry which can be life changing. It also enables us to get healthy recipes off of nutrition websites, follow bloggers, and access databases full of exercise videos.

  • Sarah Eads

    Advances in technology make it easier to hold yourself accountable and keep track of goals and progress. Without personal motivation and drive these items become useless. However, for the individual who is ready to make a change this may help them achieve their goals more quickly. Once the individual has access to the tools proper coaching is required. In the fast paced world we live in access to online coaching gives the individual options that can work with their schedule and financial limitations. Software like Apatheo can bridge this gap for the coach and client. The coach can now provide their expertise to many without the restriction of geographic location or facility access.

    The usefulness of fitness devices for self quantification depends on the individual and if they are educated in the features and how user friendly the device is. For many this makes life easier and fitness goals more attainable.

  • Fredric Voelker

    Technology is a tool to further your results. As technology improves over time, and science continues to improve our understanding, we will see vast improvements to the fitness industry. Supplements continue to be researched and improved, equipment continues to improve and education on proper nutrition continues to develop.

    The changing times with apps and programs such as the fitbit and Apotheo, do allow the individual user to completely better themselves, but they will only do as well as the work they dedicate to putting into their own personal fitness. If they don’t track their macros, fast and put the work into the gym, then all the programming in the world is going to fall short. The devices and programs are amazing, but only if the person is willing to put in the work.

    I believe that the devices and the push toward collection of data does simplify out lives. I can use the fitness tracker on my iPad, and from there set my entire feeding schedule for the day in a matter of a few minutes. What used to take a considerable amount of time is now quickly figured, and I can make quick changes if something comes up. It completely relieves a stressful activity. Finally, I believe that technology is truly a godsend and if used and used correctly produces better results.

  • Darren Frank

    Accountability is one of the main determinants of success or failure, especially when it comes to changing body composition. Technology can provide a convenient conduit to such accountability when properly used, however, we all know people who strap on a fitbit and assume that’s enough.

    Tracking by itself, or data without some form of proper interpretation and application, is meaningless. I don’t care about taking 10,000 steps instead of 9,000 or 7,0000 because I’m unclear as to why that actually matters in the pursuit of my goals.

    While on the whole tech gives access to more information than ever, it’s often difficult to parse the useful from the useless. It’s important to know what you’re doing so you have a baseline, but what of that is useful or relevant? How should I adjust?

    If tech or access to people through tech (e.g., online coaching) helps us understand what’s important, then it will help us succeed in reaching our goals. I know it’s unamerican to say that more isn’t always better, but if all tech does is increase the sheer volume of information without context, we’re better off fighting scrael with a wooden sword.

  • Clay Kelly

    I think whether or not technology is helping the average person reach their fitness goals depends on the level at which they start. As a biology graduate, I’ve come to understand that the way any one body adapts to stress (ie. exercise, diet, etc.) is extremely individual and dependent on many factors outside of those which technology can measure and report. In the end, any data is good data– it just depends on the decisions made as a result of collecting that data.

    I believe the effectiveness of a given piece of technology, whether it’s a wearable or something as simple as a meal tracker, truly depends on the starting point of the person using it. An advanced bodybuilder or fitness athlete likely has enough experience to know exactly how to work out, how to eat, and what changes that will affect in his/her body. Something like a FitBit and knowing how many steps they’ve taken isn’t going to help. Conversely, your average sedentary individual with an office job probably has no idea how much they actually move in a day– and so a wearable may actually give them some insight and help them set goals to move more over the course of a day.

    The other confounding factor is individual biochemistry, body composition and diet. In the early days of those amazing calorie counters on Precors (yes, I actually used them…), the device was basically averaging calorie burn based on weight and movement alone. It’s obvious now that there are plenty of other genetic and environmental factors that affect results. Something like a wearable may be more accurate these days, but still doesn’t address the inherent need to have experience with both dieting and exercise to know how your body is going to react to your regimen. The biochemistry may now be measurable, but the results of it are certainly observable over time, and I don’t think technology is up to par on that yet.

    There’s really no substitute for a great program, some solid nutritional advice, and more importantly, good old fashioned hard work and will power. Technology has certainly advanced enough to be helpful to fill in some gaps– but not far enough to be completely relied on. It can help observe and report things we may not be conscious of, which is helpful depending on who you are. What is needed most for actual change is inside every one of us, and not something we can purchase from a store.

  • Irideducs

    Advances in technology can make it both easier, and harder, to improve fitness. Most advances increase the amount of data that is available to the fitness professional and the individual. The data may, or may not, be relevant to the specific goals of the individual. For example, a heart rate monitor measuring realtime heart rates and recovery times can help an individual who is trying to increase their cardiovascular performance. On the other hand, an individual who has the primary goal of increasing mobility and flexibility may find the data provided by a heart rate monitor to be a distraction at best.

    To the extent that advances in technology provide useful data, the rate of improvement and efficiency of the improvement will increase; provided that the data is interpreted and applied correctly. This is where the knowledge and experience of the individual and the trainer are key. All the data and technology in the world will not supplant the knowledge necessary to apply that data. All the communications possibilities in the world will not improve training and results unless the communication is correctly understood, correctly applied, and timely.

    Anecdotally, in my case, a heart rate monitor has been useful to help know how hard to push myself, but it hasn’t provided me with the insight necessary to know when and for how long to push myself. This is where a great trainer comes in. Additionally, a bodyweight/body fat scale is useful to tell me my progress (or lack thereof) towards my body composition goals, but lacks the ability to tell me how to move the dial in the right direction at a sustainable rate.

    Finding the right set of data, that matches the specific goals, is the work of the individual and the trainer. Finding the right technology to produce the appropriate data aid in moving towards accomplishing the goal. But technology and data for its own sake simply increases complexity and stress. That is why the technology is a support for a good plan and a specific understanding of the goals.

  • Lauren Minor

    I love the opportunities fitness tech opens up! I jumped on the bandwagon early on and have tried many of the products on the market. Some good some bad, some plain ugly. I am still waiting for that killer app/technology product that does it all and does it will. A girl can dream can’t she? For now I love the usability of the Apple Watch, but hope to see some richer fitness features as the product progresses. Definitely great to know we are headed in a direction that can better help us reach our health and fitness goals via the assistance of tech. Takes a lot of the guess work out and makes barrier to entry much lower for many people who might not otherwise invest in their health and fitness.

  • John Fawkes

    In theory, technology makes it easier to get into shape. In practice it’s not so simple. We have access to more data, better calorie calculations, and better fitness equipment. And yet, the average person is in worse shape in spite of this- so there’s obviously something wrong here.

    First off, tools don’t make people successful. Systems, habits and discipline make people successful. Both in fitness and in productivity, tools tend to be overvalued while people undervalue the fundamentals- are you cutting calories, working out more, getting enough sleep, etc.

    Second, technology can easily lead to paralysis by analysis- giving us a bunch of data that isn’t really helpful, and that we waste time fretting over. For instance- how much does it really matter is our macros were 30/30/40 or 30/40/30 protein/carbs/fat? Probably not as much as how much we ate in total. And excessive data can lure us into nitpicking little things, missing the forrest for the trees.

    Third, merely using technology can give people the illusion that they’re doing more than they really are. There’s a psychological trap called balance sheet thinking, where you rationalize that because you did something good, you’ve earned the right to do something bad- or that when you’ve done something bad, you can make up for it by doing something good. And when using fitness tools gets added to your mental balance sheet as a “good” item, that can paradoxically cause you to give yourself an excuse to skip more workouts and eat more cake. And I say that as a guy who loves cake.

    Technology doesn’t get people into shape- hard work does. Hard work has been building better bodies forever, and it still works now. Having said that, technology can be helpful- but only if you navigate the minefield of mental traps that it presents.

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