Significantly due to COVID quarantines, fitness tech has been enjoying exponential growth and value. That growth and value have resulted in market saturation of options and competitors. Over the past decade, having embraced the innovations of technology, fitness tech runs the gamut of wearables to online training & coaching to genetic testing. One of the most prevalent examples of fitness tech and the COVID effect can be seen with training apps.
In the app market alone, FY 2020 witnessed the emergence of more than 70,000 new apps. The fitness tech market is now positioned to reach nearly $60 billion by 2027. As such, fitness tech can be expected to appear in more and more of our everyday lives, expanding into every conceivable niche the fitness world has to offer.
The Symbiosis of Technology and You
While technology is not new to the fitness industry, the fact that it now directly communicates and links to your body is. Most training apps seem basic in operation. Most offer sleek interfaces, ease of use, and reminders to keep you going. All essential quarantine saviors so that staying in shape didn’t require learning new skills.
Behind all that colorful click-through imagery, lies sophisticated coding integrating some of the most advanced technology today. Nearly all fitness tech products implement Artificial Intelligence, AI, to some degree. How facial recognition analyzes an individual’s face, human pose estimation technology analyses the body.
Example of human pose estimation technology from Neurohive.io
This allows the app to monitor form and execution of each exercise to identify if you are doing it right. This alone maximized the outcome of every second dedicated to the in-home routine. That by-default produced results, and results feed motivation.
AI is why fitness tech does much more than simply store health and training data. AI allows for monitoring advanced health metrics, such as your calorie burn, heart rate, breathing, and stress, as well as send an alarm if anything is irregular. Some products can even identify a likelihood you may suffer from health issues like diabetes. AI is behind the personalization of your training program, diet, and pathway to achieving your individual fitness goals.
While AI operates behind the scenes, upfront the user enjoys the benefits of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Apps use AR & VR to better engage and immerse the user into their branded experience with virtual involvement. The user can enhance their session with any interactive imagery; the gym, a trainer, the mountains, zombies, or turn your world into a game.
Thanks to the union of AI, AR & VR, and the fitness industry, a family can use one product, but each member will have an individualized plan and experience.
All this advanced fitness technology made for the perfect training solution for the quarantine of 2020 and the ‘new normal’. Fitness is founded upon routine. So, after a year or more of relying upon training apps as the cornerstone to personal training, not too much is expected change.
Training / Workout Apps
For lack of a better way of saying it, apps were one of the fitness industry’s biggest ‘winners’ from the COVID year. Most people can walk into a gym and figure out what to do and how to do it. However, when worldwide quarantines brought back the home workout, people were lost in their own living rooms. But it’s the 21st century so, there’s an app for that.
Many training apps shined in 2020. 8fit, MyFitnessPal, Sworkit, Freeletics, and Pear were some of the most popular apps that cornered the in-home training market. Thousands of apps emerged targeting every possible user; beginners to the advanced, with or without equipment, and ranging in price from free to the very expensive. While they all provided essentially the same service, it was how well each brand leveraged the power of AI and AR/VR that mattered the most.
Training apps also proved to be a viable market to keep users connected to existing brands. If you always wanted to look like Thor, quarantine was your chance. Chris Hemsworth made his Centr app available free for a limited time during the pandemic. Nike, Johnson & Johnson, Peloton, and FitBit all have training apps that saw growth during quarantine.
Trying to figure out how to stay fit while stuck at home was only one dimension to the quarantine fitness chaos. Being motivated to get down onto the living room floor wasn’t the same as going to the gym.
Finding Motivation at Home
In 2020, training apps were not only significant for filling the knowledge gap but the motivation gap as well. The advanced AR/VR made it possible for millions of people to leave their homes during quarantine to train. Well, at least virtually. Potentially, a psychological diagnosis of our pre-COVID lives but running from zombies turned out to be a good motivator for staying in shape. The advanced AI features produced personalized fitness journeys which provided an essential light at the end of the quarantine tunnel using training milestones and KPIs.
Another app helped to fill the void of motivation with purpose. Throughout 2020, the news was filled with global heartache. Now, in 2021 changing that has proven slow. Adding a humanitarian element to the industry, Charity Miles uses supporting your favorite charity as motivation to train. The free app monetizes each mile your run, walk, or bike through organizations willing to donate to a charity of your choice as you train. And, you can take Charity Miles from the treadmill or exercise bike back into the world and continue training to change both your life and others.
Fitness Technology is Fitness Mobility
The COVID crisis has not only changed the way people train but their professional lives as well. COVID challenged professionals to work remotely. However, once that challenge was engaged, many realized it is their preferred method of working. Now entering the ‘new normal’, remote work and the Digital Nomad lifestyle are experiencing an unprecedented boom. As during quarantine, this also requires an effective approach to work-life balance.
With the ‘new normal’ accepting more remote-based professionals and DNs, fitness technology will continue to be as central to their training as it was during quarantine. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Training apps are a perfect fit for the perpetual mobility of the DN’s life. Training apps provide DNs stability in their training journey throughout the perpetual change of travel. And, with the in-home workout taken on the road, these apps are there for the DN who needs to train in their hotel or rental without equipment.
COVID changed what ‘normal’ used to be. In the ‘new normal’ the world is going to live and work differently. Many people have found new sovereignty to themselves and will continue to work and train on their terms. Training apps were perfectly situated for the COVID crisis and played a significant role in getting us through it. Now, with the world re-opening, it is opening to professionals looking for new opportunities. And since most of this technology required a financial investment, people are not likely to add the cost of a gym membership back into their budgets. Training apps will continue to be a core technology in the professional’s toolkit for keeping their training in check and maintaining their work-life balance.