We can’t manage without it, and sometimes we can’t manage with it either.
There are over a quarter of a million fitness/health and wellness apps available on the market now and many gyms and fitness centers have their own apps in an attempt to create customer loyalty and keep members coming back.
Your client is probably already using one. If they aren't they will.
The problems with technology
Do you remember when we were all told that to be fit and thin, all we needed to do was get to 10,000 steps per day? It didn’t take long before that was quickly debunked, and damaging headlines splashed across the internet talking about the myth of 10,000 and all those who had been walking 10,000 steps felt disappointed and disillusioned.
The big problem with technology is that it is not exactly trustworthy.
The ubiquitous step counting device is more sophisticated than ever, but it still counts steps that no one would really call a step. The minute the user realizes the count is approximate, the authority of the app is undermined forever. It becomes a guide, an estimate.
Apps are based on algorithms.
At the most simplistic they take in data and do the math to produce a result. An app will have you track what calories you put in, it might then calculate the calories you have "burned" based on BMI and activity, and then if calories out is less than calories in, you should be losing weight. Except it's not that simple.
There are as many reasons for working with a personal trainer, as there are clients.
Apps are based on a one-fits-all theory, and sometimes it simply just doesn’t fit for the client situation.
Apps and Personal Trainers
This is really good news for personal trainers.
It opens the door in two directions.
Your input, knowledge, ability to actually see the client and not simply measure data provide instant value.
By adding an app you put real motivation and the magic ingredient of wanting to do the workout, rather than being instructed.
Where does a personal trainer fit in?
Your ability to interpret the data and show the general trend towards the goal is going to have a positive effect on someone driving toward a goal. Trending over time in the general direction of a goal is always motivating.
Think about apps in this light: An app will show your client proof that the things you are doing and saying are working.
Used in the right way the app underlines your value to the client and keeps them coming back for more.
The app needs to be the tracking mechanism, not the program.
It’s your job to make the program based on what you know about the client and their goals.
It is working with you that gives the client their motivation, and helps keep them on track. When you sense that one part of the program isn’t working or something is working better than something else, you can adjust.
An app is never going to do that.
What should you look for in an app?
Choose an app that will track the program you have constructed.
Tracking food intake might be one thing, but tracking reps and types of weight work might better. Tracking runs or cycles rides also might help.
Apps increase in cost, as they do in sophistication, but there is a payoff. If you’re wearing a chest strap you should get an accurate heartbeat rate but potentially you could carry a blood pressure/heart rate monitor and check it at the start of the session.
Check out the market for an app that takes the data you want. Then look at the reports you get out. Charts and graphs brilliantly illustrate progress.
Consider being your own app.
There’s nothing to stop you tracking the data for the client and providing it back to them in the way you want to present it. You could even develop an app for exactly that. It could be a great selling point for your training business.