Apple and Fit Tech Makers Need a New 1984 Moment

I recently wrote about my take on the new Apple Watch Series 3 announced on September 12 at Apple’s impressive new Silicon Valley headquarters, and its place in the fitness technology and wearables space.

It occurred to me after that the fitness technology industry as a whole, of which Apple is a key player by virtue of its fitness-featured smartwatch, appears to be stuck in a technology paradigm that is holding back the realization of the true promise of fitness technology as a means to help more people get healthier.

It is strikingly similar to the technology paradigm that Apple confronted in its early days; the one it lashed out against with its award winning “1984” TV ad aired during the 1984 Super Bowl. That ad helped changed the game for Apple, advertising and technology. An amazing feat by any standard.

Back then, the prevailing paradigm viewed technology as a tool whose primary purpose was to generate increasing amounts of data and squeeze out higher levels of productivity from a world of mindless worker drones. Apple and director Ridley Scott literally and figuratively smashed that paradigm to pieces. Apple championed a new technology paradigm that freed the world to see technology as something that empowers, celebrates and engages the individual.

This new approach viewed technology as an experience in its own right that improved the quality of people’s lives; revolutionary thinking that helped pave the way, and indeed fueled, the expansive application of technology as a means to engage people in whole new ways and on whole new terms. In no small measure, Apple helped open new possibilities for technology that we accept as commonplace today in areas like gaming, music, entertainment, social media and much, much more.

By comparison, fitness technology today seems stuck still in a perpetual “1983” world. The drive is for more devices collecting more data from a pool of exercise drones addicted to that data. But, to what end?

Alternatively, we have seen at Koko over the course of 20 million individually prescribed and delivered workout sessions that creating technology that directly engages people — of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels — is amazingly effective in creating new behaviors and sustainable health habits over the long term. Engagement creates consistency and healthy habits. At the end of the day, that is the only way to create positive, measurable, life-changing health outcomes for the people who need it most.

In this light, passive technologies, like TVs streaming Hulu to treadmills or data-driven activity trackers that garner lots of attention inside the industry, are not advancing technology’s potential in the fitness space. They do not change or create a new fitness experience to actively engage individuals long term in the activity of exercise. They merely use technology to capture data or distract the mindless exercise drone from the reality that what they are doing is tedious, unenjoyable and boring. It’s 1983 thinking, and it will never get the 80% of adults who don’t belong to a gym or exercise consistently to ever truly engage in fitness and stick with it long term.

When Apple aired its 1984 commercial more than 3 decades ago, no one could have seen just how relevant it would still be today. The fitness industry may be behind the curve at getting the message, but what gives me hope for our industry is the success we have seen at Koko, and the exploding need for ways to improve health outcomes for millions of individuals, the companies that insure them, and those that provide their healthcare.

Technology has impacted so many other parts of our daily lives in transformative ways. As our many thousands of Koko members can attest, it can in fitness too.

Mike Lannon
CEO & Co-Founder
Koko FitClub

How To Train For A Mud Run

mudrun blog

Ahh the glorious mud run. 

A community event where fitness lovers and adventurers come together to run miles through a series of exhausting, fun, and sometimes scary obstacles. They even throw in tons of free mud to frolic in along the way!

Mud Runs have become increasingly popular among all age groups. The intrinsic value received from completing such a physically demanding task is unmatched. It’s simply the ultimate way to test yourself, challenge yourself, and try to better yourself.

75% of a mud run is preparation. Here is our take on basic conditioning for yours.


The thing about a mud run is that… well… it’s a race. The number one thing to start conditioning for is the large amount of running you will be enduring. Typically the races are around 3-5 miles, but some go as far as 10 miles.

Cardio training to improve endurance is big. Now, you don’t have to be a marathon runner, but you should be able to hoof it on the treadmill for at least 3 miles without hyperventilating.

The good part about mud runs is that you can go at your own pace. So find your pace and base your training around that.

Make sure to switch up the settings to vary your movement patterns. You need to be able to adapt to hills, rough terrain, mud, concrete and gravel while running. Koko‘s cardio programs vary your workouts through intervals, varying speeds, and adjusting incline. You want well-rounded conditioning so you can tackle various terrains.


Mud runs are not a strength contest. The point is to test your abilities on all types of physical obstacles. Climbing, running, crawling, jumping, swinging, and swimming are all  movements that require total body development. And these are the types of movements you’ll be doing, not pushing 200lbs on a bench.

Circuit training is your best friend. It’s perfect for full development and to really get your heart rate up.

It also helps your body adapt to various weight distributions as well as conditions it to switching quickly between different movements. That’s why Koko makes up almost all of its custom workouts through circuits and controlled reps. Koko X specifically focuses onfree, natural movements. Precisely like the ones needed to complete a mud run.


Mud runs are meant to be done with a team. They are your support and backbone through the whole thing. When you think you’re about to quit and can’t push on anymore, your team will be there to tell you – “you got this!”

Train with your team and your community. Whether it is to be fitter, healthier, to raise endurance, or to build strength, reaching for a goal together will be the motivation and support you need. 

Train together, finish together. 

Don’t worry – mud runs come in all shapes and sizes, as well as varying levels of difficulties. It is up to you to judge which ones are a proper fit.

Find the one you like, assess the time you have until the race, and develop a workout plan to reach the goals necessary to complete the race with flying colors.

Work on the things you know you need to work on.

The biggest obstacle is your own brain. Don’t let the idea of a mud run freak you out. Get excited, get pumped, and train as best you can. Remember, these runs are not pitting people against each other. They are here for fun, to test your limits, and to do it alongside others so at the end you can all say “We did this!”

Last but not least – don’t underestimate yourself. You and your body are capable of amazing things. Go out there, crush your mud run, and exceed your own expectations.

Stay Koko Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


One Size Does NOT Fit All


For most people, your chronological age can be an indicator of many things. Your eyesight, your experience level, whether you can drink a beer or not, or if you qualify for a 401k.

But, did you know that your chronological age is not the only category of aging your body can be subjected to?

In fact, a 15 year old can have the same physiological age as a 55 year old. And two 25 year olds can have entirely different developmental ages (their level of cognitive and emotional maturity).

Recognizing the different types of aging is important for understanding your skill level.Koko, for example, takes into account your previous strength aptitude (training age), how old you are (chronological age), and even cognitive skills (developmental age) when developing your specific workout programs. By pinpointing where you stand on these spectrums, we can help you figure out how to start your fitness journey the proper way.

Picture this:

There are two clients, both 50 year old males. They’re both 30 pounds overweight and want to burn some fat because they’re heading somewhere warm with their families over April vacation. On paper they both look the same and want the same thing, but their activities of daily living are very different.

One has an office job where he sits at a desk. The other works in construction and is tackling physically exerting projects each day.

The issue is, we can’t solve their problem the same exact way because they’re two completely different training ages, or, the number of years a person has spent in training or various sports.

Let me explain…

The guy that works in the office is in a state of rest for the majority of his day. He is not contracting and extending the majority of his muscles, he is forgetting to stand up throughout the work day, and his body is in a sitting and hunched position for extended periods of time.

He is equally as de-conditioned as he is dysfunctional.

Guy number 2 is constantly in an active state. He works a job where he is always on his feet, is constantly alert for hazards, and his day involves lots of physical activity like heavy lifting, hammering nails, and climbing ladders.

He is well conditioned and used to physical exertion. However, he may be somewhat dysfunctional (in terms of form, mobility and stability).

So, what’s my point?

Well, while Guy #1 and Guy #2 are of the same age, weight, and share equal goals, theydiffer greatly in their strength, body fat content, range of motion, endurance, and much more. That means their training and physiological ages are different. Each need to start at different weight levels, different motions, and different types of exercises. It is most likely their daily routines will be no where near similar!

Workout programs are NOT one-size-fits-all. Just because that spin class works for your friend, doesn’t mean it will have the same effects on you. Box gyms try to solve this discrepancy with group training.Group classes and training can be energizing and motivating way to stay engaged in fitness. But what is missing is the individualized attention.

What most people find so appealing about these options is the community aspect — the feeling that you are in it together. Unfortunately, since we all have different body types, needs and training ages, a group style “one size fits all” approach can be less effective for people who need a more personalized solution for their issues or goals….”

People flock to group classes because they are affordable and they’re not ‘going it alone.’ But, you are going it alone. The trainer isn’t stopping to teach you, as long as the majority of the group keeps up, they’re doing their job. Why pay for the class at all if you’re not going to do what your specific body type needs to do?

The fitness industry has a tendency to focus only on your ‘show muscles’. This is because the client (you) will see visible results in a short period of time and therefore will believe the class is working. That way, you’ll buy more group classes to work muscles you don’t actually need to work. Show muscles look nice, but they do nothing to make you live longer or move better.

The bottom line is – everybody has a different training age and body type. Therefore, everybody needs their own personalized workout plan to truly feel better every day and look better! What works for one, doesn’t always work for another. It’s all about personalization, and following the plan that is best for you.

The best way to find this plan, is to find a coach or a gym that works one to one and focuses on what you need.

Stay Koko Fit

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer

Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

Quality Input: The Koko Strength Test Explained

After our members, Koko Smartrainers are the superstars of Koko FitClub. Their revolutionary technology sets our members up for incredible strength training results. But, you know the phrase “garbage in, garbage out?” Even the best technology in the world can’t accomplish a thing without quality input. Enter the Koko Strength Test.

The Koko Strength Test is how Smartraining technology customizes and controls each and every workout on the Smartrainer. First, it determines a baseline strength value, then every 12th session it checks your progress and adjusts your workouts based on your new-found strength. Every strength test is comprised of the same four, basic exercises. They are:

1. Leg Extension,
2. Lateral Pull Down,
3. Chest Press and
4. Bicep Curl.

The first set of each exercise is a warm up that gauges your range of motion (ROM,) a critical detail that is different for every body. After the warm up sets, the initial load is determined by a Koko algorithm using a number of variables including your age, sex and weight. During a strength test session, you will complete between 4 to 6 sets of each exercise. Depending on the exercise, each set has between 5 and 10 repetitions. The resulting data translates to a value representing your Five Repetition Maximum or 5RM. And what, exactly, is a 5RM?

Here’s a mini lesson in exercise science to answer that question: To get the best effect from strength training, one should lift 66-80% of the maximum weight possible with good form. The traditional method of determining this amount of weight is based on a one repetition maximum. Translation: The heaviest weight you can lift one time with proper form. Koko uses a 5 RM to determine your maximum weight. This would be the heaviest weight you can lift five times while maintaining proper form. This results in a lower maximum weight, but greatly reduces the possibility of injury.

Once your 5RM is determined for each of the four strength test exercises, that information allows the Smartraining technology to extrapolate the 5RM’s for all the remaining Koko exercises. Quality input. Pretty cool, isn’t it?


Michael Wood, CSCS

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


Koko FitClub Automates Instant Body Transformation*

This morning, Koko FitClub LLC announced the latest comprehensive upgrade to its patented Smartraining System. Through a massive re-write of software to incorporate the application of quantum physics to exercise, starting today, Koko’s Smartrainers will now offer an “instant body transformation” option. (**Please see disclaimer below.) Not only do these state-of-the-art, all-in-one universal exercise machines guide you through each and every exercise of your workout, they will now actually perform an entire year-long program of exercises on your behalf and at lightning speed. A Koko member can simply walk into the club, plug in their Koko Key, and then reap the benefits of an entire year’s worth of Smartraining sessions, in just 30 seconds or less.

Of the new upgrade, company founder Mary Obana says, “The original Koko Smartraining System was revolutionary, without a doubt. We took the heavy lifting out of the thinking side of the fitness equation, allowing members to follow a simple, expertly prescribed program with zero guesswork on their part, at an incredible financial value. But we still had a number of people who wanted results, more quickly, with zero effort. That’s when we decided to also take the heavy lifting out of the heavy lifting.” Hoboken, NJ franchise owner Michael Ander adds, “Our club was lucky enough to be a beta tester for the new technology, and with the NYC metro area population being so strapped for time, it was an instant hit.”


Company co-founder Mike Lannon still prefers his workouts “the old-fashioned way”, allowing the Koko Smartrainer to guide his every move while he performs the reps himself. But every once in while, he admits to “skipping ahead a year or two…It’s great that I can have a ripped, chiseled ‘situation’ six-pack right before I hit the beach by selecting Koko’s Total Body Definition track. Then I can tone down to a more slender form for running a marathon later that week, or for an important business-related golf outing, utilizing the Born to Run or Performance Golf programs.”


Josh Roman, Head of Product & Technology for Koko FitClub, gives some insight on how the remarkable leap forward came to be. “In our current timeline, this type of technology will not be discovered for another 500 years. So, we were extremely pleased to have an unexpected visit from the future version of Mary Obana, who traveled back just for the purpose of equipping Koko FitClub of today with this incredible technology.” It should be noted that “future-Mary” came from the year 2586, where people live as long as they choose by joining Koko and following the wildly popular “Longevity” track. Roman adds, “This whole experience of meeting future Mary was incredible, but it was a constant struggle trying to keep future-Mary from meeting current-Mary for the duration of her visit, to avoid a space-time paradox.”


* Partially true. Koko automates the much of the process, but it is not instant.
**Untrue. Body transformation requires real work.

Thanks to Michael Ander, owner of Koko FitClub Hoboken, for this April Foolery!


Michael Wood, CSCS

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.