Technology and Training: Confessions of a Health and Fitness Tracker

There's more gadgets, gizmos and apps than ever to help you train. When you're surrounded by information, it's easy to go overboard.

26 Apr, 2018


Tips & Tricks


In my quest to get fit and healthy, I’ve become something of a track star. Just not in the way you might think…

I’ve got health apps, a fitness wristband, a smartwatch – you name it – all tracking my every move. Pick any day in the past few months and I can tell you what I had for breakfast, how many glasses of water I drank, how long I slept – even the beats of my heart.

a man doing leg stretches on a fence in a city
Who’s with me?

I admit I get a thrill every time my phone lights up with a congratulations message, making me feel like a champion for reaching my daily goals. On other days, the ‘get active’ reminders can be more annoying than inspirational.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. Loads of us are obsessed with measuring our own health and fitness data – but are we missing a vital piece of information?

Let’s get personal

There are hundreds of thousands of health and fitness apps designed to measure anything from aerobic workouts to fat-burning zones. On the latest smartphones, health apps now come standard.

Clearly, we want to understand our bodies better. We’re searching for tools to help us make healthier choices.

But the goals we are setting and the equipment we’re using are typically designed around averages rather than individuals. This is why many people are looking to get an edge from what makes them unique – their DNA.

Health is the driving force

Around half of the adult population in Australia, England and the U.S. sport a fitness tracker, according to a PwC report1. More are joining the ‘track’ team every day, as the number of wearable devices ranging from fitness trackers to smartwatches to smart clothing is forecast to double by 20212.

Health is the motivation but does the initial enthusiasm for a new toy deliver results?

Do health and fitness trackers work?

For those like me who thrive on goal setting and encouragement, trackers can be a great tool for improving your health. Yet experts are divided on how effective fitness trackers really are.

Some studies suggest that fitness trackers and apps primarily benefit the already fit and healthy; others have found that trackers have little or no effect at all. Market research suggests around one third of devices end up in the bottom drawer within six months3. Why?

It’s got me thinking… Who decided that 10,000 steps is the goal for everyone4? How do I know that I’m doing the right type of exercise for my body? What’s the point of tracking my food if I’m eating the wrong things?

To find out what’s really going to be effective for your body, you need to get personal. You need to take a peek inside.

All the gear but no idea

DNA analysis is a growing field of science. Once exclusive to laboratories, genetic testing is now available to anyone who wants to know more about which diet and fitness regime will work best for their body.

Everyone’s DNA is different. While we share much of our DNA with each other – 99% in fact – it’s less than 1% that makes us individuals, giving us different facial features, hair colour, and height.

This small fraction is also what shapes whether you’re someone who easily gains weight, favours sprints to marathon distance – even how your body responds to your coffee habit.

Knowing this information is the best starting point for deciding how to manage your health and wellbeing.

How do I discover my DNA?

myDNA, offers non-invasive DNA tests, which involve a simple cheek swab and then popping the sample in the post to Melbourne. Around two weeks later, you can access your results and recommendations via a secure online portal.

Your DNA results will stay the same for your entire life. Your comprehensive and personalised myDNA nutrition and fitness report will tell you the best options for you and help you tailor your approach to health and fitness.

As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Your personal DNA results empower you to make the best choices for your body. Combine that with tracking your actual behaviour, and smashing targets should get a whole lot easier.

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