Pedometers, heart-rate monitors, watches, and apps have already had a huge impact for many athletes, allowing them to track their progress and engage with a community of others pursuing similar goals. With the summer heat-wave breaking, the summer Olympics wrapped, and my own fall marathon looming, I can’t help wondering what the future of training will look like.
Here’s a look ahead at how the game might change, backed by recent and anticipated advances in science and technology.
Whole body scanning is typically reserved for elite athletes and those with access to expensive personal trainers, but body composition testing is slowly entering the consumer domain. Companies like Klarismo deliver a detailed analysis of body composition that goes far beyond the typical fat to muscle ratio offered by most body scanners. It’s not hard to imagine a world in which consumers are aware of their individual body composition. This type of technology can help consumers to:
- Match body dimensions and traits with ideal fitness activities. Why waste your energy in spin class if your body was built for Pilates?
- Identify areas prone to injury, proactively offering modifications and targeted strengthening.
- Recognize existing strengths, with other modifications recommended to maximize gains.
Multi-dimensional inventory for tailored diets
As consumers gain an awareness of their individual dietary needs and deficiencies, more customizable dietary regimens will inevitably emerge. Weaving together different (hopefully validated) data-points would generate a complex inventory – factoring in physiological markers, lifestyle, and your personal goals to create fully customized diet plans to compliment your ideal fitness regime:
- Customized diet plans recommended based on your specific physiology (blood type, DNA, body composition)
- Weekly meal plan calibration, adjusting to situational and lifestyle shifts – possibly even having the “perfect” meals delivered to your home and office
- Immediate feedback and guidance to help you sustain momentum, or compensate for indulgences
Customized training gear, with embedded sensors to track progress, provide real-time feedback and engage with coaches, physicians and other athletes)
Athletes (professional as well as us amateurs) already invest heavily in the right training gear. Shoes to correct pronation, compression tights/shirts/socks for muscle and tissue recovery, wetsuits, clip-in shoes…the list goes on.
Wearable sensors embedded in this gear can take training up a level:
- Track progress, analyze performance in real-time
- Responsive technology to optimize form and performance
- Real-time feedback from coaches (virtual and physical)
- Social connection to propel motivation, bringing your cheering squad (and your top competition) along for the ride
Biowearables (tech tats) and ingestible sensors provide feedback and recalibrate as nutritional needs and body change
Taking tracking and monitoring a step further, sensors are in development that can be embedded on the skin or even ingested. These sensors can detect changes on and in the body, reading and responding to biological changes and intervening when there’s an imbalance.
Ingestible sensors could also help maintain the balance between what fitness exerts and nutrition replenishes, ensuring that even during extreme workout programs you ingest the essential fuels that will enable you to continue in good health.
Athletics is a huge and rapidly expanding business. Brands that create personalized products and services for the demanding fitness consumer will be best positioned to succeed in this fast-paced environment.
Want to learn more about Personalized Health? Check out Unpacking: The Science of Me, our second installment in a three-part series on trends in healthcare.