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The Training Benefits of Wearables


Watches are not just for telling time. Companies like Apple and Fitbit have reinvented watches to monitor sleep, activity, heart rate and a range of other health and fitness metrics.

While all of these features could be a distraction, Rachel Hamersley, a certified personal trainer and metabolic specialist at Life Time Fitness Castle Creek in Indianapolis doesn’t think so. In fact, she uses the Garmin Vivofit 2, as well as the LT Connect app, to monitor her clients’ fitness goals.

“There are so many other aspects to daily living, so I really like the VivoFit because it monitors not only heart rate, but steps, calories and your sleep, as well,” said Hamersley. “That way I can keep track of my clients’ overall lifestyle, when I don’t see them physically in the gym. I can help them with their habits outside of the gym as well.”

Wearables typically connect to an app on a smartphone. At the end of each day, Hamersley asks her clients to screenshot their daily fitness log and send it to her. During their next personal training appointment, they will go over their log and discuss the client’s goals.

Not only does this help Hamersley keep track of her clients’ exercise and nutrition habits, but she said it allows them to compete against themselves to reach their goals quicker.

“Our personal trainers often work with their clients via wearable data,” said Dan Hubley, the program manager for metabolic assessment and health technology at Life Time Fitness. “They use it to track their client’s progress on off-days when the client is not in session with them. The ability to look through recorded data and discuss feedback, setbacks or improvements allows them to be more insightful in their training sessions.”

Nasario Majia, the vice president of fitness at Crunch, integrated the app and tracking device dotfit, to measure clients’ food intake and calories burned. While members can log what they ate through a phone app, their wearable will track how many calories they’ve burned that day.

During the client’s next training session, the trainer can adjust the nutrition or workout to meet the client’s goals.

While wearable watches benefit many of Hamersley’s members, she understands that not everyone is able to afford them. For those members, she recommends simply investing in a heart rate monitor to check their heart rate during a workout.

“What I like to do for those clients is a more cost effective way, which is the LT Connect app,” said Hamersley. “They get the best value, so all they have to do is get a heart rate strap. I believe those apps are $29.99. So for 30 bucks, they basically get to monitor their heart rate during their exercise activities.”

Ultimately, the goal is to have some sort of tracking measure to ensure goals are being met, and to better understand members’ habits.


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