The UK’s top PTs explain how data is integral to offering a better service and growing your business.
The Personal Training landscape has changed significantly in the last few years. Rising numbers of fitness apps and increasing consumer self-sufficiency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic means that PTs need to offer their clients a higher-quality, more personalized service to survive and thrive.
We sat down with three top PTs – Luke Worthington, Shaq Porteous, and Joey Bull – to discuss the future of the PT industry and why wellness data should be an essential part of upgrading your services. Recently, all three PTs have been using wellness data to grow their businesses and support their clients both in and outside of the gym, utilizing unique data insights to guide them to make better lifestyle choices.
What is ‘Wellness Data’ and How Can It Be Used to Improve Well-Being?
Your state of wellness can be measured by tracking and monitoring your Heart Rate Variability (HRV). Heart rate variability is the variation in the time interval between consecutive heartbeats in milliseconds, and it opens up a window into the body’s stress-recovery balance.
HRV is typically higher when the heart is beating slowly, in the ‘rest and digest’ mode. HRV naturally decreases during stress, in the ‘fight or flight’ mode, when elevated sympathetic activity helps the body keep up with the demand, for example during stressful activities or exercise.
HRV is also affected by substances like alcohol and caffeine, further stimulating our sympathetic nervous system and increasing our body’s stress levels. High HRV is generally considered to be an indicator of a healthy heart and has been found in many studies to be associated with reduced morbidity and mortality and improved psychological well-being and quality of life.
Chronic stress, both mentally and physically, can cause the body to become stuck in a sympathetically dominant state, meaning high cortisol and stress hormone levels, and low HRV even at rest. This can cause a wealth of both physical and mental problems and is extremely taxing on the body.
By monitoring HRV we can learn about the body and how it responds to our lifestyle. If we are over stimulated and over stressed our bodies will not recover sufficiently, which could lead to a variety of health issues. It is clear that improving our health, fitness, stress management and recovery skills are key to improving HRV.
Add Value with Wellness Data to Increase Client Buy In
Luke Worthington is a sports scientist and elite personal trainer to Hollywood stars. Luke believes that utilizing wellness data helps to increase client buy in – the key to a successful PT business:
“During COVID, gyms and studios were closed, and the personal training business didn’t exist in the form it did before. Everything became online. In the post-COVID era that hasn’t gone away, so trainers are not just competing with other trainers or studios, but they’re now competing with that. To build a successful PT business in the post COVID era, you must be adding significant value to your service. So, any tool that enables you to have more interaction and more traction with your client is going to improve your buy in from the client.”
Utilizing Accurate Data for the Most Personalized Advice
Tracking the HRV of clients enables you to get precise insights into their stress-recovery balance. This opens up incredible possibilities for trainers to give their clients accurate and detailed advice.
“The conversations I’ve been having with clients in recent years have been more about what’s happening outside of the gym, and the impact that may have on their overall well-being as well as their physical. Measuring heart rate variability gives a very accurate way to track a client’s stress, recovery, and sleep and therefore provide an indication of their overall well-being,” adds Luke.
Integrating wellness tracking technology into your business means offering clients a much more personal service, improving recovery, and implementing strategies to optimize sleep quality.
Improving the Stress-Recovery Balance of Clients Leads to Improved Well-Being
Shaq Porteous is an experienced personal trainer and Mental Health and Support Worker for vulnerable young people within the YMCA. Shaq has a diverse client base with different needs, goals and lifestyle triggers.
“My clients can now see how stressful their days and lives are and are more aware of how they feel. One client really struggled to get any periods of rest during her day, so we implemented some changes to ensure she is taking more time for herself and getting some additional recovery throughout the day. She’s spending more time focusing on herself, switching off from work and she feels a lot better because of it” says Shaq.
Joey Bull, acclaimed Personal Trainer and UK fitness champion has also been integrating Firstbeat Life into her offering as a coach and agrees:
“With my clients it’s been fascinating to see improvements in sleep following an increased intensity of exercise as well. Likewise, one of my clients has a stressful job and is in the red, stressed zone, a lot throughout the day.
It’s been great for him to see his own stress data and we’ve begun to work in some recovery periods throughout the day to help offset this stress. A little walk around his garden helps get some easy exercise and steps in, whilst also distracting his mind from work and his recovery balance has really improved.”
How Data Improves Your PT Service, Before the Session Even Begins
Seeing your client’s data is invaluable. PTs usually rely on verbal communication from the client at the beginning of a session to determine their energy levels and readiness. With Firstbeat Life, it’s possible for trainers to analyze their clients’ physiological data, stress and recovery levels ahead of the session – helping to inform their decision on the training plan.
“What I’m finding Firstbeat is enabling me to do, is attribute a number to somebody’s well-being or somebody’s ‘readiness’ if you like. It’s helpful to me to be able to have something to quantify those conversations rather than have just a general ‘how are you feeling?’, ‘how are you feeling compared to yesterday?’ or ‘how are you feeling compared to last time I saw you?’ I can see that before I meet them and think, ‘right, I’ve already changed the plan’ because I already know that you’re not feeling it before I’ve even met you. ” explains Luke.
Shaq Porteous agrees:
“It has been revolutionary for me as a PT. It enables me to get a window into my clients’ days and weeks, allowing me to optimize their routines and schedules by seeing when they are stressed and when their periods of recovery are. It allows me to give my clients more structure and build better rapport. I’ve got a better connection going into sessions with my clients because I’ve got a lot of data. The data that I get from Firstbeat Life enables me to plan ahead and be well prepped going into the sessions. This is very valuable as a trainer because I can give a better service and coaching in the time I get to spend with them.” Says Shaq
“Integrating Firstbeat Life into my training has given me and my clients more than just data. The data is insightful and leads to meaningful changes for the client and helps me deepen individual client relationships. I can understand my clients better, and therefore I can give them a better and more personal service.” Says Joey Bull
Firstbeat Life for fitness professionals
Firstbeat Life is world-leading wellness technology, backed by scientific data. It enables personal trainers and coaches to delve deep into the health status of their clients by accurately tracking variables such as stress, recovery, sleep, and physical activity.
How does it work?
The compact Firstbeat Bodyguard 3 device, a clinical-grade ECG heart rate monitor, is worn by clients for periods of 1-5 days, which precisely and reliably measures their HRV. The data is then fed back to the client and trainer through the Firstbeat Life app and admin tools. The data reveals the stress and recovery levels of the client, as well as the restorative effect of their sleep.
More personal and more effective
Firstbeat Life brings clinical-grade ECG data into the hands of the fitness professional. It keeps them connected to their clients so they can offer an unrivalled personal training service that always takes wellbeing factors such as stress, recovery, sleep and exercise into account. Firstbeat Life enables trainers to build deeper connections with their clients by offering them a much more personalized and tailored service that can reveal the true state of their well-being.
Business growth with Firstbeat Life
The Firstbeat Life solution also allows professionals to level up their payment structure as well as the services they offer. The added value Firstbeat Life brings means trainers and coaches can increase their hourly rates and offer additional services to their clients. By integrating the pioneering technology into their offering, trainers can strengthen client relationships, promote engagement, and increase retention.
Firstbeat Life for clients
By working with a trainer that integrates Firstbeat Life into their services, clients are educated about their own training, lifestyle, and stress-recovery balance. By having a greater awareness of their own stress and recovery metrics clients can work with their trainer to exercise more efficiently, develop positive lifestyle habits, and ultimately live a happier and healthier life.
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