Are Wearable Fitness Trackers a Waste of Time?

Greg Glassman thinks fitness devices belong in the “Junk drawer.” Do you agree?

When Greg Glassman talks, people listen. Arguably the most powerful man in the fitness industry, the CrossFit CEO recently spoke out against devices that monitor activity levels like Fitbits and Jawbones, saying they belong in the “junk drawer.”

According to the International Data Corporation, the fitness-tracker market has seen a triple-digit growth this year, up 171.6% from 2014.

Glassman continued, “There’s some incredible technology. It’s amazing to have a wearable that knows what workout you’re doing and what reps you’re doing, but it turns out I know what workout I’m doing and what reps I’m counting, too.”

While Glassman may be aware of his daily activity level, many others are not. If a device that encourages an otherwise sedentary person to choose stairs instead of an elevator or go for a walk during lunch, is that reason to doubt the utility of the product?

Athlete empowerment is a powerful thing. CrossFit has always encouraged its Level 1 trainers to “grab a broomstick and go train your neighbor.” This is an empowering concept, but empowerment starts with the self. The more an athlete understands about him- or herself and the workings of his or her own training, the better position that Level 1 trainer will be in to help others.

If empowerment is too conceptual for you, consider this. The core of CrossFit’s marketing talks about “measureable, observable, and repeatable” results, and the fact that the “the CrossFit program is driven by data.” So why is Glassman eschewing devices that provide these objective pillars?

What do you think? Are wearable fitness trackers a worthwhile trend or a waste of time?

Headline photo courtesy of Vernon Chan via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

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