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.
Mary

It’s Not Too Late to Get in Summer Shape

Happy August!

This month I’m talking with Lauren Dell’Olio, who heads up the marketing here at Koko FitClub and is a busy mother of three, about the challenge of sticking with fitness during busy summer months.

Many of us fall into this rut each year:  It’s summertime and the “living is easy”, and we take time off fitness. That can happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe work is crazy, vacations are calling, the kids are home from school and need more entertaining and chauffeuring, or just the simple fact it’s more fun to sit by the pool with a cocktail than exercise.

Taking that time off, even for the right reasons like enjoying family time, can make it that much harder to get back to where you were on your fitness journey, especially with added weight gain and lack of energy.

Maybe you cannot get to the gym 3 times a week during the summer. It’s okay! Going just 1 or 2 times most weeks during the busy summertime will help maintain your health and fitness and avoid detraining.

So if you’ve hit pause on your fitness this summer, It’s never too late to get that momentum going again. Today’s the day to start – or restart!

Best,

Mary Obana
President & Co-Founder, Koko FitClub

YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

Having hit the ripe YOUNG age of 75 last March, I started to feel my energy and strength levels slipping a little, despite the fact that I spent 5 hours a week with Pilates and outdoor biking. However, I had no intention of getting myself embroiled in another exercise program

Or so I thought until my wonderful wife, who constantly looks out for me, began pushing me into considering Koko. She had joined after finding out that they could develop a program tailored to her specific needs… and she was loving it.

“C’mon… give it a try,” she said as I rolled my eyes, “Maybe it’ll make you feel more energized.”
“OK, I’ll check it out,” I answered reluctantly, figuring I’ll come up with an excuse later on.

Well, I ended up keeping the appointment, mainly to appease her. Even though I’d been an active singles tennis player up until I injured my back 10 years ago, I was never a lover of pure exercise workouts! Nor was I ever one of those gym rats who worked out at a manly-man, sweat-factory where the smell alone could kill ya.

My Koko appointment day finally arrived and I went to the club with my ho-hum attitude perfectly intact, figuring Koko was going to be another “same old, same old” fitness club. Well it was anything BUT “same old, same old.” In fact even seemed a bit too complex for my simple mind. Digital keys, routines and this unique Koko machine/monitor that can put you through a zillion different weight-training exercises. It was mind-boggling; so mind-boggling that I almost tuned out while listening to one of the trainers, JD, a 6’1” 30-something guy with a perfect-body and more abs than I could count on two hands. Here I am… 75, slightly overweight, no abs…watching this perfect male machine show me around. When he finally asked me what my goal was I said… “to start getting in shape so I could come back in the next life with a body like yours.”

Even though the program seemed beyond the needs of someone who hates pure exercise, I kept hearing my wife’s voice in my ear and continued smiling as JD showed me the ropes.

There was no pressure to join; none of the usual heavy-handed tactics. Plus I liked JD’s easy, non-threatening manner. I figured it was either now or never for me so I plunged in. The program is actually easy to do on your own once you get the hang of it. But for me, I knew that I needed the discipline of a dedicated appointment and one-on-one supervised training in order to achieve success.

THAT was the best decision I ever made.

Not only did I have a an appointment , I had the benefit of working with very caring trainers who understood ME, my muscle groups, my needs, etc. JD and Sue became my lifelines; standing at my side each day and making sure my form , pace and weights were correct….and that my seat and back were in the proper position. They also taught me the benefits of each exercise and each gave me different tips about staying healthy.

One of the unique things about Koko’s exercises programs is that they constantly change so you don’t get into a rut. I also liked the fact that I was able to choose a program that met MY specific needs as a pre-diabetic. Koko is not a one-size-fits-all program. Now here comes part two. In addition to the 30-40 minute weight training session there’s a 15 minute intense cardio session on either a treadmill or elliptical.

My first reaction was: “Are you kidding me? You may have to CARRY me outta here when I’m done.”

It was exhausting at first; even using the most moderate treadmill and elliptical programs. But slowly and surely I found that the weight training gave me MORE energy for accomplishing my cardio goals . It didn’t take me long before I was “off to the races.”

I gave myself small goals at first….listening to my body rather than trying to keep up with audio program. But as time went on I began to keep up with the levels and pace. Last week I actually completed a Tabata program for the full workout. WOW! I felt like “king of the world” when I left the club..

As I look back…
Was Koko a challenge for me in the beginning? Absolutely!
Did I have to drag my a—in there on days when I preferred doing something else? YES!
Did I ever feel like a total idiot trying to remember where to position my hands and feet, how to adjust the seat height and the back pad, and staying focused on my pace? Yup!

But JD and Sue’s encouraging comments made all my self-doubts disappear. I felt accomplished. Am now in my 4th month and I can’t believe that I actually look forward to my KoKo sessions. My energy is back. Am feeling like Superman. The endorphins are exhilarating.

And I’m here to tell the world that 75 IS the new 55. WOO-HOO!

Written By
Ron Kaufman
Certified KokoNut