Sometimes technology comes along that helps people get and stay fit. Sometimes it distracts them and causes more harm than good. Now before you think I am a tech seeking geek looking for the next gadget, do know that the back bone of what makes Coastal and fitness in general successful is consistent really hard work. No device, app or the other has ever or will ever replace this. With that disclaimer out of the way let's get into why I think Polar has created a great set of products and tracking environment.
First and foremost, there is no point in tracking something if nothing is done with the data. While pure observation is a fun conversation starter, it is the change in behaviour that we are after and if
nothing happens with the info it was a waste of time in my opinion. Enter the Polar Loop, a simple wrist worn activity tracker. I have been using the Loop now for over a month personally, looking for ways to integrate it into members lives with the intent of helping them get faster results. 3 things it does well. First, it tracks overall daily activity and reminds you to get moving if you have been sedentary too long. Second it tracks sleep and sleep quality. Third it integrates perfectly with the heart rate monitors (H7) that we already use at Coastal in our heart rate metabolic classes. This now gives us a much clearer picture as to the daily activity both exercise in the gym and out, as well as sleep tracking that can significantly improve performance and results. (Next blog post) Now the point of this is not a strict functional review of the loop, many of such can be found out here on the interwebz but more of a description of how it fits with our system.
Where I believe the Loop has its strongest benefit to our members and to us is accountability. When at the gym coaches can dictate movement, intensity, rest, ect. Outside of the gym, (most of the hours of the week) the loop will provide hard data on areas that can be improved with regards to activity/rest/sleep during the week. For most, more accountability is a good thing. This is a great way to understand why or why we are not reaching our goals. Simply showing your coach your sleep summary for the week or other activity goals that are being met can be a great way to stay on track or find new avenues for progress!
The other benefit is awareness. This is where I personally have found it valuable. Having something to give a quantifiable amount to my activity in the day brings an awareness that wasn't there before. Minus my training, I walk almost 10km a day in the gym. Now I know why I go through shoes so quickly... I also can see my sleep habits tracked over the course of the week/month. As the week goes on I need to trend higher on the amount of sleep I get. I anecdotelly could tell this, but now I have the data to prove it. Iwouldn't have known this if I had not seen it in plain graph format otherwise. We know that sleep and daily activity are a huge contributor to overall health, and things members need to be aware of on a daily basis, and as said I will be adressing this in a post very soon.
One of the things I am excited about is the total integration with all our products and system. As we all know Apple products 'talk' with other apple products as a rule of thumb better than other platforms. The same goes with Polar. As with anything that leads the way (so is the case with apple) there are things we want to work better specific to our situation, and we want it done yesterday. These better integrations are on their way and I can better explain this to you in person.
Note: If you are a Coastal Member, and would like to pay using the card we have on file simply click 'new to our site', type in your details and search for your name, when it comes up click it and confirm the details then follow the directions to be able to check out with your current account details.
If you are not in our system, just go ahead a enter your details in the 'new to our site' box and follow the direstions as normal with online 'checking'out'.