Take a poll of your friends, and I bet you can find at least one who gained some sort of fitness tracker over the holidays. I bet you can find even more who track their fitness with an app on their phone. Fitness has gotten a tech makeover, and that may not be a good thing.
That’s not to say that fitness gadgets are bad. They’re a great way to spur the motivation you need to lose weight and get fit. They also do an excellent job of providing you with a visual representation of your progress. Some of them can even monitor your sleeping patterns, suggest better food choices or lead you to different ways of working out.
But what happens when the novelty wears off? When the tracker isn’t new and cool, will you still wear it every day? When you’ve reached your weight loss goals do you still plan to track every work out and meal on your phone?
Probably not. The benefits of seeing your progress and having it clearly spelled out for you are external rewards. Likely, they will wear off in time, and then you’re left with little to no motivation.
Fitness is personal, and something that has to be motivated internally for lasting success. Sure, using the next big thing can be beneficial as a way to kick-start your goals, but ultimately lasting success comes down to you. Not the fancy gadget around your wrist.
Fitness trackers and apps aren’t all bad. They’re not even mostly bad. It’s just easy to turn their ways of showing progress into your primary motivation. Seeing that line on the graph dip down is exciting. It can even inspire you to work out harder the next day. That motivation, however, can be fleeting if not paired with a drive outside of updating your progress on your new piece of technology.
As long as fitness gadgets don’t become a crutch, they are a great resource. Use them to keep yourself in check, but don’t make their use the only reason to get up and work out. Set your fitness goals for you, and they’re likely to stick around for the long run.