Technological advances are continually helping us accomplish our goals. It’s hard to find an industry where this is truer than in the fitness world. It’s never been easier to monitor your heart rate or calories lost. You can track progress over weeks and months or discover new workouts. These individual technologies may change how we control or set up our workout routines. But they aren’t everything. The access technology as a whole, i.e., the internet & social media, is completely re-shaping how and why we work out in two major ways. Let’s take a look!
Finding motivation and a sense of belonging are huge benefits of working out in groups or with a class. Technology is making these communities and classes easier to find and join. We all know the CrossFit craze that is continuing to dominate the group exercise scene. But it’s important to understand that this isn’t the only option. For most actually, it’s the wrong option, especially for people who want to get started. The decision of what classes to join or communities to engage with should be based on your personal needs, not the latest fad.
Many people find themselves stuck between going to their local gym and working out on their own or joining a massive movement that isn’t right for them. Before the internet and social media, they didn’t know any other options. Technology is thankfully bridging this gap. Many local gyms are beginning to offer virtual training sessions with a trainer or virtual classes. If you are intimidated by the gym but still want to experience a sense of community, Virtual Gyms like Les Mills or virtual personal trainers like Aaptiv are a great solution. Technology is allowing us to find other people at our skill level and form communities based on our health needs rather than what’s popular at the time.
We also can’t discount the impact of social media on the fitness industry. The ability to share photos, videos or text updates is becoming more and more popular. Online challenges on Facebook or Instagram help keep participants accountable and motivated. The community you belong to doesn’t necessarily have to be the those you are physically working out with, instead, it can be those you are “reporting back” to. If we feel like others are counting on us, or at least expecting us, to perform at a certain level, we are much more likely to gut through a workout and achieve our fitness goals.
The other area technology is shaping the way we work out is in the abundance of dietary information that is available now. The internet and social media have given everyone access to more health information than ever thought possible.
Because of this, we no longer think in absolutes when it comes to our diets. The flood of information about what works and what doesn’t has finally led most people to the conclusion that your diet needs to be specific to you and you alone. There are of course dietary rules like more calories consumed than burned will cause weight gain, but there is a much more nuanced understanding of what a proper diet should be. A proper diet is one that allows an individual to accomplish their fitness goals. It’s that simple.
What works for some people regarding their goals, body type or schedule might not work for the next person. The Ketogenic diet is an excellent example of something that can work for a lot of people but, if you schedule or dietary needs don’t allow for 16-18 hours of fasting that’s ok! You’ll be able to find information on other options and individuals for whom it’s worked. If there is anything we’ve learned from all the studies, experiments and genetic testing that’s been done, it’s that your fitness goals need to be tailored to your body correctly.
“Fitness” has never been more accessible and community-driven than it is today. It’s also never been as customizable. As technology continues to advance, we’ll find more and more ways to find people who share our specific needs and hopefully achieve our fitness goals together!