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Getting personal in a crowded space…

In a mountain of digital fitness solutions and apps, what could possibly be missing? A lot.

Whether it’s a result of Covid-19 concerns, an attempt to curb spending or just the desire for something different, the wild west of fitness apps and online workouts has become mainstream. The interface of technology and fitness is more popular than ever. While casual observers see these solutions as an emerging trend, most publications agree that the use of mobile devices and digital support is a natural evolution for fitness. They also agree that the space is crowded, clunky and potentially irresponsible.

The digital fitness space is crowded, loud and dynamic. The Wall Street Journal has reviewed apps that helped one lawyer in Austin remember what exercises he’s done recently and helped him time his intervals, another app that helped a user start running, and several more that show pictures, play music and beep users through a series of exercises. Online, at-home digital solutions have even made it to the most recognized symbol of consumer success- the Superbowl commercial circuit.

With over 17 thousand apps and online fitness tools available in the market, what could possibly be done that hasn’t been done before? A lot.

In USA Today’s review of health and fitness apps, reporter, Janice Lloyd, and her industry experts cautioned that apps aren’t designed for the individual. They provide a one-size-fits-all solution for a unique user with specific circumstances. As exercise physiologist, Carol Torgan clarifies in the article, most fitness application developers aren’t even fitness professionals or certified trainers.

What guides most fitness application development is the goal to quickly engage a user and attract “hits”.

The field is littered with digital fitness solutions that do one or a combination of specific things:

– keep users entertained
– give users ideas
– help users track their progress
– allow users to match calories with activities

Each of these goals is laudable, but none provides the solution people seek- a program that will meet their individual goals, on their schedule with as little time and energy as possible.

What conclusion can we draw from all of the buzz? Do digital trainers and fitness apps help people? Maybe. Can digital trainers and fitness apps harm people? Maybe. Do they provide fitness solutions for people? No.

Can digital applications provide fitness solutions? Yes, if they can think like a trainer.