As technology becomes a bigger part of the world around us, it's allowed people to create things never before imagined. It’s redefined countless industries and has completely transformed our idea of how things are supposed to work. For the fitness industry, it means there’s never been a more exciting time. Dozens of startups have begun trying to answer the question: How can we make fitness easier? And they’ve had some amazing results.
Here are five that you should look out for in 2016.
Founded in 2013, this Chicago based startup makes wearables specifically designed to help women lead healthier lives. Trends for this year indicate that female targeted wearables are going to become a larger part of the market, and Mira Fitness is far and away the leader on this front. The Mira wearable is made from a single piece of surgical-grade stainless steel and sits on the wrist similar to a cuff-style bangle.
Similar to other wearables it monitors steps, calories and distance; plus the Mira app allows users to view summaries of their daily activity as well as create journal entries to track their exercises and meals. The focus of the wearable isn’t to turn its users into CrossFit champions, but instead to motivate them to be a little more active than they were the day before -- and it succeeds.
What if there was a tool that changed everything we knew about fat loss? According to Seattle based startup LEVL, there is. Typically attempts at monitoring diets are based around weight loss instead of fat burned, mostly because we lacked the technology to do so on a mainstream level. But at CES this year, LEVL revealed a prototype designed to give consumers individualized metabolic data that is usually only available in clinical settings.
The device measures the level of acetone in a user’s breath by having them breathe into a “breath pod” that goes into the device, which fits easily on a kitchen or bathroom counter. The device then analyzes the breath and displays a number that represents the user’s fat burning rate, which is useful to indicating whether or not a given diet or exercise is effective for a specific individual. Over time the device will understand what levels are optimal for the user, making it easy to see which exercise plans work best for them.
65% of all runners hurt themselves every year. Sensoria Fitness’ goal is to help bring that number to zero. At first Sensoria Fitness launched with tank tops and sports bras pre-wired for heart rate monitors, but that was just the beginning. Recently, the Seattle-based startup released smart socks embedded with textile pressure sensors to help runners better understand their form to avoid injury. Along with the pressure sensors, the socks include magnetically attached anklets that capture performance metrics, which are then sent to your mobile device via Bluetooth.
Sensora’s mobile app features a virtual coach that updates users on which pressure points their feet land on, their pace, speed and even cadence. If a user’s cadence needs to be adjusted or if they’re landing too much on their heels, the app can play a metronome to help the runner adjust their pace while also telling them which foot they should be landing on at a given time.
We all know about Ivan Pavlov’s response conditioned dogs. But did you know there is a wearable that can condition you to drop your unhealthy habits? Boston based startup Pavlok has created a wearable device about the size of an Apple Watch that can send “zaptic” feedback at up to 450 volts to shock users out of their bad habits.
For example, say you needed to start waking up earlier to workout in the morning. You can set the Pavlok to vibrate at 6 A.M., but if you snooze it, it’ll shock you the second time it goes off. Over time, the idea is that the wearable will shock it’s users into action and force them to proactively make changes in their lives.
There’s also a social element to the device. Through either their app or Facebook you can team up with a partner and monitor each other’s progress. If your goals for the day is to walk 15,000 steps, go to the gym and to log a jog, your partner can see what you've accomplished. If you failed to complete one goal, they have the ability to send a shock to your wrist.
Samsung Wellness Belt
I know, Samsung isn’t quite a startup. But, they do have an in-house incubator called Creative Lab that allows company employees to test out ambitious ideas and turn them into full-fledged startups. That’s exactly how their Wellness Belt (WELT) was born. Unveiled at this year’s CES, the WELT is described as a “smart wearable health belt.” The WELT looks like a normal belt, except it’s filled with sensors and has the capability to pair with your mobile device to tell you things like how long you’ve been sitting down, what your waistline size is and even whether or not you’ve overeaten.
Samsung says that the WELT is still in development and not currently available for retail, but they’ve indicated that they would like to see it reach market at some point.
These startups aren’t the only thing helping redefining the fitness industry in 2016. Check out our 10 Tech Trends in 2016 guide to see what else your club needs to know to continue being successful this year.