Technology continues to shape the world in which we live. Easy-to-use, accessible tech is constantly being refined and recreated to make our daily lives that little bit more manageable than they used to be, with smartphone apps and embedded technology leaving few techy stones unturned when it comes to convenience.
For instance, there are apps where you can order your own personal driver with a couple of clicks, do the weekly shop, or perhaps bet on tonight's game – and these are the basic ones! When it comes to the world of fitness, gadgets such as Fitbits, running apps and heart-rate monitors are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, but how are these technological advancements affecting the world of health and fitness?
We sat down with Rhonda Bacchi, one of the owners of Onfit Training College, to ask her a few questions about technology in fitness.
A technological triumph
One thing that cannot be denied is that technological advancements in fitness are progressing at a phenomenal rate. Today, fitness bands, countless smartphone apps and a great raft of others are available at very low prices, and many are free, making them accessible to almost everyone, young and old.
One thing that cannot be denied is that technological advancements in fitness are progressing at a phenomenal rate.
Such technology was hardly around ten years ago, let alone at the turn of the millennium, so how does this affect the way that personal trainers and the fitness industry approach such things?
"I think technology has made fitness more 'trendy' than it has ever been. Exercise is now no longer the exception, it's almost the rule and technology is a big part of the reason why. Workout stats have become dinner talk, and people get a real kick out of sharing their workout results with others."
She feels that not only has technology enhanced the social element of fitness, it's also made things very accessible. Having that technology available means that regardless of what time and money people have, they have an easier entry into getting fit and taking care of themselves.
"Technology in fitness is no longer the preserve of the already-fit. People are going out and buying Fitbits, or downloading fitness apps. It made it easier for people to get interested in fitness to have something to gauge themselves with, something that was giving them feedback," Rhonda says.
For Personal Trainers, that means they now have a way of getting feedback on their client's sessions, when they aren't with them, and they can use that to help set new goals and keep their clients feeling connected to them. Rhonda is a firm believer that 'it's the psychological benefits that are the biggest factor here. It's the feedback that's the motivator, and that drives clients to keep going; it helps them form new habits. That's the change we need!"
"We've come a long way from the pedometer- but it probably set the scene, for technology's star role in getting motivation through technology" says Rhonda.
Embracing technology for the greater good
Onfit Training College is in the business of delivering world-class fitness tutoring to aspiring personal trainers, and it's inevitable that technology in fitness will play a big part in how their courses are taught to incorporate these constant changes. Rhonda talks of how certain fitness businesses – gyms, private studios – are already using such technology to give feedback to clients during and after their workouts in a visual manner. They can see their progression and feedback right in front of them, and in some cases on a big screen, and that's motivating clients during their sessions.
Onfit has picked up on this and has been working behind the scenes to develop their own technology to simplify and motivate their students during their work placement, which gives students, supervisors and Onfit staff feedback in an instant on how their students are progressing.
"We're setting new standards and communicating in new ways with our students and industry supervisors and it's changing the face of our business. It fits with our company values: to change, challenge, influence, improve and inspire, and we're excited about the difference we can make to our students and to the fitness industry itself."
Where are we headed?
There's so much happening in the fitness space right now and in the land of technology, where do you think the health and fitness industry will be in five years' time?
"Glad you asked! There's so much happening in the fitness space right now and in research in technology. Virtual reality is about to take us to a new level of experience and there is an explosion of interest and discovery in neuroscience. Almost everywhere you look you'll find something new being said about neuroplasticity and the way our brains work. As a company, this is something we've been researching for the last four years and we're able to share this in some of our courses."
"Education on how our brains and therefore our bodies response to stress – physical or mental – will change our whole approach to exercise and diet."
"So, in the next five years, I think the focus of the fitness industry will get an upgrade. Education on how our brains and therefore our bodies response to stress – physical or mental – will change our whole approach to exercise and diet. The research is just too convincing to do otherwise," says Rhonda.
"Technology will follow, with emphasis shifting away from traditional goals of 'exercise harder' to 'exercise smarter' – and they're definitely not the same thing! The next five years will be groundbreaking, an information explosion, and at the end of it we will all have a better understanding of the relationship between our brains and our bodies. It is an exciting chapter that we're headed into and Onfit can't wait!"
Be sure to get in touch with us at Onfit Training College to hear more about how you can make your first steps in the fitness industry – Rhonda and the team look forward to hearing from you!