Week 7 & 8 – Reflection by Rachel Stewart

Over the past couple weeks, the articles we discussed covered a wide range of topics such as personal trainers, fitness trackers, and mobile health.  I’m going to discuss the impact of mobile health, more specifically fitness trackers and health apps on the personal training industry.  Can the rise of these mobile health trackers and apps replace personal training altogether?  Will face-to-face interaction cease to exist because of the convenience and ease of tracking your own health whenever or wherever you want?

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The New York Times published an article specifically comparing fitness apps and personal trainers.  Both positive and negative aspects of each were outlined.  Personal training holds a person more accountable than a health app, but it is also significantly more expensive.  Health apps provide convenience and ease of use but are not as specific and modifiable as a personal training session.  The video below shows one woman’s journey in determining if personal training or health apps are better for her:

Other articles, such as the one by Daily Mail, discusses the potential that fitness trackers could be inaccurate up to 40%.  That is a pretty significant number for someone trying to lose weight.  Other articles point out how the advancements of technology are creating different ways for virtual fitness training that are more accurate than fitness trackers and usually cheaper than personal trainers.  Could these be the future of gyms?

Considering all this information, I’ve come to the conclusion that neither will end the other.  I think some people will work better with a personal trainer than using a fitness or health app.  These are the individuals who need to be held accountable and may require more motivation to get tasks done.  Personally, I work better with a personal trainer than I do tracking my own health.  I like to be told exactly what to do in order to see results and not have to worry about it myself.

On the other hand, some people may prefer to do their workouts in the comfort of their home, whenever they want.  Motivation comes easy to some people and it may not take much effort to create a new daily ritual of exercising or tracking their food.  For these people, health apps are a cheaper, easier, more convenient alternative to a personal trainer.

Since both health apps and personal trainers each have their own unique attractions, different from the other, I don’t think one will ever replace the other.

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