11/28/16 - Quantified-Self: The Era of Fit Watches
With great pride, I can safely report that we’re in the midst of an era unlike any other. A movement, most commonly referred to as Quantified Self, is changing the way men and women understand themselves and get feedback about their lives. We know the old adage, “If you can measure it, you can improve it.” Now, more than ever people are taking notice.
Since we’re living in the information age, the actual moment the Quantified Self (QS) movement began was when WIRED editors Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly coined the term in 2007. The movement kicked off with a meet up with thirty attendees in the tech savvy city limits of San Francisco. Today the group has more than 20,000 members in 188 cities. Where most grassroots movements like this one start in the tails of the bell curve, the Quantified Self movement has transcended the innovators and early adopters and landed square in the middle of the bell curve. Currently, 60% of US adults use devices to track their health and performance on more than 40,000 apps geared toward this purpose. (Forbes)
Many DEUCE Gym members are in the crowd and I’m fortunate to call one of the earliest contributors to this movement a dear friend. Observationally, I think the movement is a wonderful indicator of a shift in the average American’s mindset surrounding an ability to improve him or herself, but keep in mind much of this bell curve is simply scratching the surface of what we can and, what I’d argue, we should be quantifying. While I am thrilled at the commitment from the average American consumer, counting steps and calories are a far cry from meaningful statistics and, in many ways, further solidify weird worldviews about the metaphorical fitness bank we envision ourselves trying to balance like a checkbook of pumpkin pie and time on the treadmill. It’s my view that this worldview continues to at best be a distraction from true personal responsibility and at worse perpetuates unhealthy relationships with both food and exercise. Soon, I foresee more buy-in and more sophisticated tools for measurement in our future, which will only yield more positive results.
How lucky are we to be involved in a quantified movement practice that preceded this QS movement with apps and wristwatches? We measure everything at DEUCE Gym via power output. The truth is spoken on the whiteboard with definable measureable expression of work capacity. This, of course, is inclusive of a broad, general, and inclusive evaluation of fitness capacity and addresses both top end potential and skill acquisition, not how many tens of thousands of steps one made.
My dream? My dream is that everyone that is counting steps today is tracking power output, skill set, and work capacity tomorrow. It’s a slight difference, but a significant one. Let’s focus on not just what you did (walking mindless paces) but what you can do (increased potential). The latter takes skill development, increased performance, and demands quantifiable results. The former is just, well… quantifiable.
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