Monitoring fitness goals have come a long way, thanks to technology, and wearable fitness trackers are one of the many new gadgets that have become super popular in the past few years. They have taken the old school pedometer to a whole new level in terms of tracking goals and staying motivated outside of the gym.
Depending on which device your client is using, it can track stats such as number of steps taken and calories burned, to flights of stairs climbed, heart rate, and sleeping patterns. Some even have a built-in display screen, are waterproof, and have ‘smart’ sleep alarms. The tracker can sync all of this data with various apps to further assist in keeping track of goals.
The great thing about these wearable trackers is that they can help your client become much more aware of their body, habits, and daily movement (or lack thereof!). In other words, they can help change your client’s mindset of what it means to “be active”. Fitness doesn’t begin and stop during their time with you in the gym… what happens outside of the gym is also important.
Since your client is going to be armed with all of this great information, help them put a plan together to do something worthwhile with it! Once they’ve been wearing their tracker for a few weeks, they’ll have an idea of their baseline information for whatever is being tracked. Start setting small, achievable goals and increase them by a small percentage every week/month (or another agreed upon and realistic timeframe) until they reach their overall goal. Once the overall goal is reached, they can start focusing on maintenance.
For instance, say you have a client who wants to get in at least 10,000 steps per day and currently averages about 6,000 steps per day. Aiming to incrementally increase their number of steps over time by building new healthy habits (i.e. taking stairs not an elevator, parking further away from their office building, etc.) will help them to more easily sustain the 10,000 step minimum once they reach that goal.
A client with a desk job may not realize they’ve been stationary for a few hours because they are so engrossed in their work. The fitness tracker will help them be more aware of that by reminding them to move every hour. I have a client who, once she started wearing a Fitbit, quickly noticed that she moved so much less when she worked form home versus going to the office. As a result, she now incorporates a lunchtime walk into her day and will pace around her house while on conference calls. Small changes, but they all add up.
Depending on the apps used by the trackers, there may be an option to ‘follow’ other people who use the same device to stay updated on their goals, give (or get) a virtual ‘high-five’, and engage in a little friendly competition. Comradery in fitness, especially when it’s part of a fun challenge amongst friends, can help keep motivation levels up… especially if the ‘newness’ and novelty of wearing the fitness tracker starts to wear off.
Keep in mind that fitness trackers are just one of many tools that can be used in your client’s health and fitness journey… ‘journey’ being the operative word. You wouldn’t advise a client to go by what the scale says on a single day as a total picture of their fitness, and the same is true for the wearable trackers. It’s what the data looks like over time that matters.
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She has a B.S. in Business Administration from Framingham State University and a M.S. in Physical Education/ Strength & Conditioning from Bridgewater State University. She is certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and with USA Weightlifting as a Sports Performance Coach.
Moe lives in Boston where she keeps busy crossing things off her fitness bucket list.
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