Casey Cordon on Wearable Technology
This month we sat down with Casey Cordon, the studio fitness director at Newtown Athletic Club, to discuss wearable technology.
What are the biggest advantages to incorporating wearables into fitness programming — specifically heart-rate tracking tech?
At our club, we have been incorporating Myzone since 2012. With Myzone — and most other wearables — the driving motivator is caused by gamification, and this can lead to a higher level of retention. Wearables help keep members motivated and engaged. It adds a fun component to group classes when members can compete in friendly competitions with one another. When people can see their numbers on a screen in front of them, it challenges them to push themselves harder than they normally would. It adds another level of group interaction and engagement.
How can clubs use/incorporate wearables successfully into their programs?
Regarding fitness programming, some usage tips to keep in mind:
Tracking. Trainers and instructors can push members harder when they see their heart rates on a screen. It also provides an accurate reading of calories burned during a workout session. These are important factors to evaluate when trying to help your client reach their goals.
Accountability. With the Myzone app, you can “add friends” so you can see/like/comment on other’s workouts. I add all my clients as friends so I can hold them accountable to working out outside of our sessions.
Heart health safety. With cardiovascular disease being so prevalent, it’s an invaluable tool allowing members to consistently monitor their heart rate zones so they do not train above or below their appropriate threshold.
How have members responded to incorporating wearables into your programming?
About 30% of our membership uses the wearable heart rate technology we provide. Over the years, as technology is continuously improving, our Myzone usage began to decline because many people began using other tracking devices. However, most of our members who use Myzone are dedicated to the point that they feel if they forget their monitor, their workout “doesn’t count” and their motivation is stunted.
What are some common mistakes clubs make with wearables or heart-rate tracking technology?
A common mistake is not properly onboarding and educating a member with the wearable technology. It’s important to have a well-defined new member onboarding process that provides education the member would need to get the most out of the tracking device. The more they understand it and its benefits, the more likely they are to embrace it.
Additionally, for wearables to be a successful retention tool, they need to be ingrained in the community of the club — especially among staff. Instructors and trainers should incorporate heart rate zones while teaching to push members harder. Lastly, make sure to enter as much personal information — height, weight, age, etc. — into the tracking device as possible, and make sure it is correct. The more information you add, the more accurate your numbers will be.
Four things to look for in a wearable tech partner.
1. Accuracy. Make sure the information the wearable is providing makes sense.
2. Comfort. Whether a chest strap or wrist, it should be snug for the most accurate reading.
3. User-Friendly. Understanding how to read the information your tech is giving you and understanding the app that goes along with it. The more user friendly for your members, the better.
4. Support. High level of support from the company when the need for system troubleshooting may arise.