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Why the Quan­ti­fied Self Move­ment Is A Busi­ness Oppor­tu­ni­ty For Fit­ness And Health Clubs

Every­one is talk­ing about quan­ti­fied self these days. With the rapid devel­op­ment of new apps and wear­able devices, we’ve wit­ness a grow­ing inter­est in col­lect­ing data about our bod­ies and lives in order to improve our­selves. This trend also impacts the fit­ness and health indus­try. It cur­rent­ly presents a busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ty for club own­ers to dis­tin­guish their club from oth­ers. In this arti­cle we there­fore con­sid­er the ori­gins of the quan­ti­fied self move­ment and its cen­tral ideas. We then look at quan­ti­fied self in fit­ness and health clubs and how this move­ment can become a use­ful tool to increase mem­ber reten­tion by increas­ing client expe­ri­ence.

Some his­to­ry: What is the quan­ti­fied self move­ment?

The quan­ti­fied self move­ment already start­ed in 1981, when Allen Neuringer wrote a paper in the jour­nal Behav­iourism, in which he pre­sent­ed a his­to­ry of self-exper­i­men­ta­tion and called for self-mon­i­tor­ing. Although the move­ment would only receive its name much lat­er, the paper estab­lished in the ear­ly 1980s that the idea of quan­ti­fy­ing the self through track­ing one’s own behav­iour is an old one. How­ev­er, with the onset of the dig­i­tal age, the pos­si­bil­i­ties of self-exper­i­men­ta­tion and self-track­ing have been rad­i­cal­ly altered. New wear­able devices, for instance, allow the doc­u­men­ta­tion of almost all parts of human life today. Yet, the aspi­ra­tion of “exter­nal­iz­ing our bod­ies through data to learn more about our­selves”, as researchers at the Berke­ley School of Infor­ma­tion define the quan­ti­fied self move­ment, remains the same.

Quantified Self in Fitness and Health Clubs

What data is exter­nal­ized?

Usu­al­ly peo­ple with an inter­est in improv­ing cer­tain aspects of their lives, start col­lect­ing data about any of these four larg­er aspects. 

  • Inputs: food, qual­i­ty of air
  • Phys­i­cal health: pulse, blood pres­sure
  • Men­tal state: mood, qual­i­ty of sleep, sat­is­fac­tion
  • Phys­i­cal per­for­mance: exer­cise, calo­ries burnt, steps tak­en

This is also known as lifel­og­ging. In gen­er­al they col­lect this data via smart­phones, apps or wear­able devices and only about their spe­cif­ic area of inter­est. But is data enough to quan­ti­fy or even improve the self? Of course not. It needs to be processed and ana­lyzed first. This essen­tial­ly means that the col­lect­ed data is processed into visu­al rep­re­sen­ta­tions like tables and graphs. After that, these are cross ref­er­enced with oth­er data sets, such as dai­ly rou­tines.

Can you give an exam­ple?

For exam­ple, Bian­ca is wear­ing a watch that tracks her pulse. After com­par­ing peaks with her dai­ly sched­ule, she real­izes that her heart rate is high­er than usu­al, when she is in her car on the way to her office job. It also peaks on her way back home. Con­sid­er­ing this, Bian­ca might try to com­mute via pub­lic trans­port for a while, if only to see whether this change improves her stress lev­els.

Bian­ca was only able to come to this con­clu­sion by cross ref­er­enc­ing the col­lect­ed data of her wear­able device with her work sched­ule.

Now you’re prob­a­bly think­ing: inter­est­ing, but what does this have to do with the fit­ness indus­try? Hang in there, we’ll get to it in a sec­ond.

Quan­ti­fied self in fit­ness and health clubs

As peo­ple feel inclined to col­lect more and more data about them­selves to improve their over­all well-being, they also want to track their work­out progress and opti­mize their exer­cise rou­tines accord­ing to their needs. Some peo­ple, for exam­ple, might sim­ply want to track how many times they are work­ing out, how long their work­outs gen­er­al­ly take and how their heart rate adapts over time, which they can do with fit­ness apps and wear­ables. Oth­ers, might also be inter­est­ed in exer­cise pre­ci­sion and the accu­ra­cy in which they per­form, for exam­ple, func­tion­al exer­cis­es, as they are in the midst of recov­ery.

How­ev­er, many fit­ness and health pro­fes­sion­als are still wary of fit­ness apps and wear­able fit­ness track­ers. They fear new tech­nolo­gies might replace per­son­al train­ers and fit­ness facil­i­ties alto­geth­er. But in real­i­ty there’s no rea­son to be afraid. Thats because train­ers are unique­ly qual­i­fied to help clients ana­lyze their data and make sug­ges­tions to improve the fit­ness rou­tine of their clients.

In fact, mem­bers will more and more rely on the ana­lyt­i­cal skills and over­all knowl­edge of their train­ers, since data with­out the abil­i­ty to con­tex­tu­al­ize, real­ly, is no data at all.

Thus, the knowl­edge of train­ers as well as fit­ness and health pro­fes­sion­als is essen­tial in order to use these new tech­nolo­gies the right way.

New tools for fit­ness and health pro­fes­sion­als

Fit­ness track­ers, apps and oth­er devices that gen­er­ate data are there­fore new tools fit­ness and health pro­fes­sion­als across the board can use to improve the expe­ri­ence of their clients. If used the right way, these tools can help you to cre­ate new and inno­v­a­tive approach­es to fit­ness that are not only more effi­cient but also tai­lored to the needs of your mem­bers.

So here’s three rea­sons why the quan­ti­fied self move­ment is a busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ty for  fit­ness and health clubs:

1. Bet­ter coach­ing

New data-dri­ven work­outs will not only help you to improve the work­outs of your clients accord­ing to their indi­vid­ual goals but also enhance the over­all qual­i­ty of your ser­vices.

2. More moti­va­tion

Bet­ter coach­ing and bet­ter ser­vices will inevitably increase the moti­va­tion of your clients. Because real­ly, who would not want to work­out in a club that val­ues the expe­ri­ence of their mem­bers above all things?

3.Happier clients = increased reten­tion

No mat­ter if dig­i­tal natives or dig­i­tal rook­ies, any­one appre­ci­ates tai­lor-made work­outs. And with increas­ing­ly hap­pi­er clients, you will see ris­ing reten­tion rates.

Quantified Self in Fitness and Health Clubs

 

Con­clu­sion

The quan­ti­fied self move­ment is a busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ty for fit­ness and health clubs. Cre­at­ing apps, sell­ing wear­ables or offer­ing data-dri­ven work­outs can improve cus­tomer expe­ri­ence by mak­ing suc­cess quan­tifi­able.

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