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

Can the Apple Watch Help the Non-Fit Get Fit?

Apple Watch Series 3 Announced at the Steve Jobs Theater

Leaders in the fitness technology world eagerly await each Apple product launch to see how the company intends to help people improve their health and fitness through technology, and determine the impact it will have on the fitness industry as a whole.

From a fitness perspective, the Apple Watch took center stage at this year’s big event, the first to be held in the new Steve Jobs Theater.

Apple calls its smartwatch the “ultimate device for a healthy life,” and while the original Apple Watch was somewhat of a letdown for fitness tracker fans, the Apple Watch Series 3 includes apps and features that rival the best activity trackers out there, giving fitness enthusiasts richer ways to monitor heart rate, track a larger number of activities and biometrics, and interpret results.

By far though the biggest announcement for the Apple watch was the addition of cellular connectivity, bringing the full smartphone experience to the wrist.  For runners especially, this is great news.  No longer will you have to carry your phone and your watch on a run.  Now it’s all on your wrist.

Apple and many wearable makers clearly see the wrist as a key technology beachhead. People wearing these devices will become hooked on data tracking and, the logic goes, they will alter their daily behavior to be more active and make healthier choices because of this data.  While this wrist-up strategy may be fine for fitness enthusiasts and quantified-selfers, we see a day when the technology itself engages a broader audience — the currently disenfranchised consumer — to engage with fitness and stick with it long-term. That’s what we see as the real promise of fitness technology and we see it every day at Koko.

Our team has dedicated the past 12 years to this space, cracking the code on how to engage the 80% of the non-fitness enthusiast population in a more direct, holistic way. In other words, making technology the centerpiece of the fitness activity and experience, not just a tracking tool.  Then using the data created by those activities to not only understand what a person has done or is capable of doing physically, but to precisely prescribe and coach each individual dynamically within the experience. This is how you engage people at a level that truly drives new behaviors that lead to lasting, positive health outcomes, with quantified progress.

We are encouraged by Apple’s push to make fitness more accessible and engaging to more people as part of a healthier lifestyle through technology. We look forward to tech leaders like Apple to help us drive the fitness technology industry to the next level, to truly engage and transform those who need it most.

Mike Lannon
CEO & Co-Founder
Koko FitClub


Koko Nation Sends Love and Support to Hurricane Harvey Victims

I hope this post finds you well and, above all, safe.  My thoughts and prayers are with all those in Hurricane Harvey’s path, particularly the members of our Koko Family in the Houston area.

The devastation is real and we know it’s far worse than any news coverage can convey.  Members of our own Koko Family have lost everything.

We Koko because we want to live our strongest life – so we can enjoy life to its fullest, but also to have the strength – both mental and physical – to withstand the challenges life can throw our way.

I’d like to think living a strong life also means coming together to help one another in times of need.

So this month, I’d like to challenge Koko Nation to help those who need it most right now.  There are many ways to help – and you’d be amazed at how much a simple $10 donation can add up to make a big difference.

Text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 through the Red Cross or follow the link below to an article below that lists other ways you can help, but time is of the essence.

Sending all of our thoughts and prayers.

Thank you.

American Heart Month – Let’s Talk About Healthy Hearts


As Valentines Day approaches, it’s important to remember that February is also American Heart Month. We wanted to share these recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA) for a healthy diet and lifestyle to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Healthy Eating

The AHA offers the following guidelines for simplifying healthy eating:

  • Use up as many calories as you take in.
  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups:  fruits/vegetables, lean protein, nuts, whole grains, lower-fat dairy products.
  • Eat less nutrient-poor foods. Simply put: avoid junk food.
  • Cut back on added sugars.
  • Keep an eye on portion size.
  • The AHA’s Heart-Check mark on certain products in your grocery store shows you which foods have been certified to meet the AHA nutrition requirements. It’s a good first step in creating an overall sensible eating plan.

Our Koko Fuel plan was based on nutritious, whole foods that meet these requirements. We encourage our members to review their Fuel plan online and try 14 days of healthy, individualized nutrition this month.

Physical Activity

According to the AHA, “Strength and resistance training exercise is one of the four types of exercise along with endurance, balance and flexibility. Ideally, all four types of exercise would be included in a healthy workout routine.” The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice per week. “Strengthening your muscles gives you the ability to perform everyday activities and helps protect your body from injury. Stronger muscles also lead to a boost in your metabolic rate, which means you’ll burn more calories even when your body is at rest.”

Stress Relief

It is well documented that stress can contribute to all sorts of health issues, especially heart disease.  Healthy habits can protect you from the harmful effects of stress. Here are10 positive healthy habits from the AHA you may want to develop to manage stress:

  • Talk with family and friends. A daily dose of friendship is great medicine.
  • Engage in daily physical activity to relieve mental and physical tension.
  • Embrace what you can change. You are never too old to learn or do something new.
  • Remember to laugh. Laughter makes us feel good. Don’t be afraid to LOL.
  • Give up bad habits that increase blood pressure:  alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, etc.
  • Slow down. Try to “pace” instead of “race.”
  • Get enough sleep. Aim for six to eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Get organized. Use “to do” lists to help you focus on your most important tasks.
  • Practice giving back. Volunteer, or help a friend. Helping others helps you.
  • Worry less. The world won’t end if  your kitchen isn’t cleaned.

Weight Management

The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight go far beyond improved energy and smaller clothing sizes. By losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, you are also likely to enjoy better sleep, less pain, lower your cholesterol and — most importantly — reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Fortunately, Koko FitClub builds individualized fitness and nutrition plans for each and every member, so that no matter what your age, ability or goal, we can help you with all of the above.  During American Heart Month, we want to remind everyone that a healthy lifestyle can be fun and simple, and easy to get started today.

– 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.

Barbie Finally Gets It: One Size Does Not Fit All


Mattel announced that Barbie will finally start to look like real women – tall, short, flat-footed and even curvy.

Over the past few years, Mattel has released Barbie dolls with more realistic body shapes and a variety of skin tones and hair textures representing the diversity of the children who love to play with them.

This year, Mattel has taken this a step further, announcing that Barbie dolls will now be available in a variety of new body types – Tall, Petite, and Curvy.

For parents of young children, and for those of us in the fitness industry, this is great news. For too many girls, being stick-skinny and “perfect” is a very real, and potentially dangerous, aspiration. It starts at an alarmingly young age, and continues on into adulthood for many women.

Here at Koko FitClub, we see far too many clients come to us feeling broken, having carried around the physical and mental burden of a negative body image their entire lives.  Each has different needs and requires an individualized solution and coaching to restore confidence and rebuild a healthy body, undoing years of damage to body and mind.

We do not live in a one-size-fits-all world, and we applaud Mattel for making these important changes to reflect our many shapes and sizes.

Our differences are what make us human, and wonderful. Moving away from the one-size idealized Barbie of the past, and allowing children to choose a doll that more closely resembles the real women in their lives, is a big step towards redefining the modern standard of healthy and beauty for our children, and ourselves.

— Lauren Dell’Olio


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



About Lauren Dell’Olio

Lauren Dell’Olio is a Fitness Life Correspondent and Managing Editor of The Stronger Blog. Lauren brings her perspective as a working mother of three, lifelong fitness enthusiast, marathon runner and “foodie” to the Stronger Blog. Lauren joined the Koko FitClub corporate team in 2008 as one of the company’s early employees and currently serves as Director of Marketing, with a focus on member experience, content development, social media and digital strategy. Since Lauren joined Koko, the company has grown from 1 to 125+ locations nationwide, serving over 20,000 members. Lauren and her family live in Norwell, MA.