Health Club Management January 2018

Page 36

ASK AN EXPERT

Is data-driven CV training a threat to the gym-floor PT? More and more operators are investing in gym kit that uses data analysis to capture and relay user performance – a key role of the traditional PT. Kath Hudson asks industry experts if the growth of such tech could make the gym-floor PT redundant

D

ata-driven training is becoming an ever greater part of the gym experience. By providing metrics, like power output, heart rate and leg speed, Wattbike has helped to transform British cycling fortunes on the world stage and is now a standard feature in many gyms. eGym can integrate with many cardiovascular (CV) equipment ranges, as well as apps, and many gym members are now using their own data-driven technology with Garmins, Fitbits and apps, such

Steve Marshall Wattbike: UK sales manager I think the goals of club members who like using data-driven CV equipment and those of the majority of PT clientele are currently very different. Many PT clients have no prior knowledge about training with heart rate, power and leg speed. Instead, their motivation is to build strength or to change their body shape. This has been a rich vein for PTs and is unlikely to disappear. What has changed is that those who are confident using technology and data have usually educated themselves because they are training for a specific goal or sport, such as a triathlon or cycling. These customers are unlikely to book in for a standard PT session, but would certainly seek out a sport-specific coach who understands the data they train with. There certainly is a gap here and 36

this is where the innovative PTs can really succeed. In my experience, PTs don’t automatically head for the data-driven CV equipment, but prefer to focus on boxing, functional, weights and hard intervals. However, as more people are now using datagathering technology, such as Garmins, Fitbits, fitness apps and our own Wattbike Hub app, PTs do need to make sure they stay educated on how they can use these tools, otherwise they risk missing out while customers get their PT advice online. Currently, I don’t think data-driven technology provides any threat to PTs. While the market expands and demographics widen, there is a great need for PTs who can create personalised programmes, provide expert motivation and keep their clients accountable.

healthclubmanagement.co.uk January 2018 ©Cybertrek 2018

as mapmyrun and Strava. Furthermore, when Apple’s GymKit – which will sync with up to 80 per cent of CV equipment – rolls out worldwide, we can expect interest in data to skyrocket. But how will data impact the industry and particularly the role of PTs on the gym floor? Will they see their responsibilities taken over by data-driven technology or could they use these innovations to make themselves more relevant than ever, helping members to achieve better results? We ask the experts…

Many PT clients have no prior knowledge about training with heart rate – their motivation is to build strength or to change body shape. This has been a rich vein for PTs and is unlikely to disappear

Many people who use data are training for a specific sport or goal