Every runner and cyclist will tell you that if it isn’t on Strava, it didn’t happen. CrossFit is built on the concept of quantifying work for comparison to others. As athletes, and indeed as human beings, we’re fanatical about attaching a measurement to everything, and all the better if an app or a wearable fitness tracker can do that for us. Wearable device manufacturers and fitness app developers know this, and they’re cashing in big time on our obsession with the quantified self.
But is any of that making us any better, as athletes or as people? Dr. Andy Galpin doesn’t think so. He’s the coauthor of Unplugged: Evolve from Technology to Upgrade Your Fitness, Performance, and Consciousness, a new book about how our blind adherence to technology is handicapping us in some profound ways. Dr. Galpin is a professor of human bioenergetics at Cal State Fullerton, author of countless studies on physiology and sports performance, and has coached scores of elite professional athletes.
He and managing editor Pete Hitzeman discuss the philosophical underpinnings of his scientific approach, what technology can do for and against us, and how our relentless pursuit of comfort has caused us no end of problems as a species. Dr. Galpin believes that we all need to disconnect from our reliance on GPS watches and other wearables, and reconnect with our bodies, our senses, and nature.