Fitness + Technology

Welcome to the Fitness + Technology Podcast for club owners, operators, and fitness professionals! This show is your #1 trusted resource for the accelerating world of fitness technology. We regularly bring you an expert interview with a global influencer at the crossroads of fitness and technology. You’ll get the insights, tools, and inspiration you need to stay connected to the pulse of what matters most for your fitness business in the age of exponential technologies. This podcast is brought to you by the Fitness Industry Technology Council, who is mobilizing resources to drive the fitness industry forward, and representing leading companies and organizations to success through collaboration. This show is supported by Bryan O'Rourke and his family of companies including Vedere Ventures, a boutique investment and advisory firm helping early mature and late stage enterprises, moon mission media a digital marketing firm dedicated to the fitness space, and Integerus Advisors. To learn more visit
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Dec 5, 2017

For episode 57 we're exploring the dynamic world of sports science at the crossroads of technology with Emmy award-winning writer and the author of "Unplugged," Phil White.

In this podcast we're talking about the connections between mindfulness and technology when it comes to breathing, eating, moving, sleeping, and exercising including the relationship of health club and fitness facilities and devices.

We also learn from Phil about the importance of what he calls having a "white belt mentality" when it comes to both fitness and technology, and why he believes that technology's best use case in fitness is to identify a movement fault that is potentially harmful to a client, know what the correct solution is, and to have the client implement that solution.

For successful coaches and trainers, we uncover why fitness technology must only be a tool in a professional's toolbox to help inform, educate, and increase self-awareness to get a client to a place where they are actually independent and no longer need that technology.

When it comes to sports science being fueled by technology, what are the real game changers and the most important aspects of consciously applied devices and software to truly support and uplift the human inside and outside the club? 

The answer to that question and much more takeaways for club owners, operators, and fitness pros in this episode with Phil white.

About The Book: Unplugged: Evolve from Technology to Upgrade Your Fitness, Performance, & Consciousness

In the first quarter of 2016, Americans bought 19.7 million fitness wearables, an increase of 67 percent over the previous year. By 2020, the global market for fitness-focused apps and devices is expected to grow to $30 billion. This means that more than ever, we’re looking at our wrists not only to check the time, but also to see how much we’ve moved, monitor our heart rate, and see how we’re stacking up against yesterday’s tallies.

As a result of our fitness tech addiction, we’ve lost awareness of what we’re doing, how we’re feeling, and what’s going on around us. This is bad enough in the gym, but when we get outside, the constant checking of a tiny screen truly wreaks havoc, downgrading what should be a rich experience into yet another task we need to complete to meet our daily goals. And if we fall short, we feel inadequate. There’s also the issue of data inaccuracy, with many device makers now admitting that their gadgets provide only estimates. So why do we continue to obsess over data and treat it as gospel truth?   

It’s time to stop, take a breath, and hit the reset button in a big way. Unplugged provides a blueprint for using technology to meet your health and performance goals in a much smarter way, while reconnecting to your instincts and the natural world. In addition to sharing the performance expertise of Brian Mackenzie and the scientific insight of Dr. Andy Galpin, Unplugged features exclusive stories and advice from elite athletes and world-renowned experts like Laird Hamilton, Tim Ferriss, Kai Lenny, Kelly Starrett, Steven Kotler, Erin Cafaro, Lenny Wiersma, Dr. Frank Merritt, and Brandon Rager.

About Phil White

Phil White is an Emmy-nominated writer who frequently contributes to The Inertia, SUP the Mag and Canoe & Kayak. He is the co-author, with Dr. Kelly Starrett, of the forthcoming books Flight Plan and Waterman 2.0, and is also collaborating on Game Changer with University of Michigan football performance director Dr. Fergus Connolly and Bridging the Gap with Sue Falsone, the first female athletic head trainer in Major League sports. His other books include Whistle Stop, which Larry King said, “I can’t put down,” and Our Supreme Task, which The Times Literary Supplement called “Illuminating.”

About "Game Changer" 

As the rewards for winning have increased, it’s no surprise that sports team budgets have followed suit. Sure, the athletic program at the University of Texas brought in $161 million last year, but the Longhorns also spent $154 million over the same period. Fifteen other college athletics program also racked up over $100 million in annual expenses. But that’s child’s play compared to the outgoings at the world’s most valuable soccer team, Manchester United, which spent more than $500 million in 2015. 

The trouble is that all this spending often fails to yield better results. Teams in all sports have tried just about every gimmick to “hack” their way to better performance. But as they’ve gotten stuck in stats, mired in backroom politics, and diverted by the facilities arms race, many have lost sight of what should’ve been their primary focus all along: the game itself. 

In Game Changer, Fergus Connolly shows how to improve performance with evidence-based analysis and athlete-focused training. Through his unprecedented experiences with teams in professional football, basketball, rugby, soccer, Aussie Rules, and Gaelic football, as well as with elite military units, Connolly has discovered how to break down the common elements in all sports to their basic components so that each moment of any game can be better analyzed, whether you’re a player or a coach. The lessons of game day then can be used to create valuable learning experiences in training, evaluate the quality of your team’s performance, and home in on what’s working and what isn’t. 

Game Changer also shows you how to expand training focus from players' physical qualities to also advance athletes technically, tactically, and psychologically. His TTPP Model not only helps players continually progress but also stops treating them like a disposable commodity and instead prioritizes athlete health.

Listen To Episode 057 As Phil Uncovers

  • Why Phil partnered with Coach Fergus Connolly to write Game Changer
  • Why when it comes to fitness technology Phil believes that for bio hacking or any "hacks" are only a short-term solution and are not sustainable for a life of health
  • Understanding the white belt mentality: being humble in your service and growth in a career
  • Training: RPE rate of perceived exertion vs. MEPS or HRV
  • Why Phil believes one of the most important coaching aspects for trainers is to stop trying to reduce everything to the physical
  • Exploring the Technical, Tactical, Psychological and Physical aspects of Game Changer
  • Quantitative vs. Contextual when we view the lens of fitness technology 
  • The Six Laws of Winning: 
    • The Law of Knowledge
    • The law of Human Superiority
    • The Law of Intensity & Quality
    • The Law of Individualization
    • The Law of Preparation 
    • The Law of Support 
  • Actionable steps for club owners, operators, and fitness professionals around technology and members
  • The role of emotional intelligence in the age of exponential technology
  • Going back to the basics: eating, moving, breathing, sleeping, human connection with specialized training
  • Why successful fitness trainers and clubs will encapsulate technology into a wellness ecosystem rather than just being fitness specific
  • What Phil beliefs about college athletics that transferred to the fitness industry in both monetary concern and client care
  • Parting guidance for owners and operators in 2018

Top 3 Takeaways From The Show

  • Emotional intelligence is becoming a more valuable skill set every day in a world of fitness technology and a growing dependency that some coaches may fall into with too much of a focus on the actual device, rather than cuing their client for movement and behavior. Phil believes that with the right amount of mindfulness, fitness pros and coaches can use fitness tech as a tool for cueing, learning, and sensing instead of as a taskmaster that stresses them out.
  • Understanding the six laws of winning in the fitness industry and in athletics, when we look at the segment of human superiority, Phil believes that fitness and coaching has always been and will continue to always be a truly shoulder to shoulder personal endeavor. While technology can support behaviors virtually along with concierge coaching, the most important part of your facility's approach for the client entering a relationship with a trainer to be a win is that there must be a focus on human superiority in contrast to technology.
  • Phil believes that we all must "major in the majors" in order for health club members and personal training clients to achieve the real transformation their paying for. The law of individualization states that highly effective winners can't be mass-produced in a short training cycle, and in that same regard, no matter where our industry rides the wave of exponential tech in 2018, what's most important is that we always remember the basics of eating, moving, sleeping, breathing, and human connection. These must be uplifted by the tech we use, and in this world of distraction the fitness industry has an incredible responsibility on its shoulders: to give our millions of members worldwide a trusted space to practice those basics and never forget no matter how much technology grows to keep the human as the master rather than the servant.

Power Quotes From Phil White

"It's not enough to have quantitative analysis through a fitness device unless you are putting it into a behavioral and environmental context."  - Phil White on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

"Technology's best use case in fitness is to identify a movement fault that is potentially harmful to a client, know what the correct solution is, and then have the client implement that solution. For best success, you use fitness technology only as a tool in your toolbox to help inform, educate, and increase self-awareness to get your client to a place where they are independent and no longer need that technology." - Phil White on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

Resources Mentioned From Phil White

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