I am always impressed by how much Henry Torano understands about fitness, health, and his clients. He has great breadth of knowledge in so many areas. That is why I wanted to ask him about his experiences with fitness and health tracking devices such as:
I first had to ask, though, if Henry thinks it’s even worth having the discussion at all!
Are fitness tracking devices a net positive or net negative for most people?
Henry definitely thinks that these tracking devices are a good thing because they bring awareness to people. Even though the data is clearly not always accurate, the devices get people to think about where they generally sit which is a great thing - as long as people don’t get too carried away about every little data point haha.
What are some of the key data points that these general fitness tracking devices measure?
Henry noted a few of the biggest ones as:
- Heart rate - how many beats per minute is your heart beating
- Heart rate variability - HRV - the consistency of timing of each heart beat
- Activity levels during the day
- Sleep quality - these metrics aren’t too great for consumer models at this point
- Recovery score
The recovery score is based off of formulas - algorithms for the fancy - from the other bullet points. Henry simply likes to see the trends of these scores more than any individual data point.
Who is a good fit to use a fitness tracking device?
Henry thinks 95% of people would have some positives to gain by checking out these devices simply because they can see where they sit on a longer term trending way in their health “scores.”
So many people vastly underestimate the effect of poor sleep quality, poor or inconsistent nutrition habits, alcohol consumption, over-training in the gym, and a host of other factors that lead to poor recovery and readiness scores. Arming yourself with that insight into your body is very beneficial for almost anybody. It helps you see how your decisions affect your health outcomes.
Who is a bad fit to likely wouldn’t receive a positive impact from using a fitness tracking device?
Clients, athletes, people who overanalyze their data and end up stressing out about what the data is or may be are bad fits for this. Henry, and many other Big Dawgs coaches, have seen that the best way for most all of their clients to consume data like this is more in the bigger picture trending way as well as in the “I’m just noticing what this is and perhaps why this is” as opposed to “oh my gosh, I’m dying” haha.
Henry doesn’t want his clients to change their day based on one data point.
Henry then went on to use a beautiful analogy. He likened these fitness tracker data points to your car’s dashboard where you track you speed, gas, gauges, etc...Just because your oil ticks innocently down 1 level doesn’t mean you have to immediately take your car into the shop.
By that comparison, you want to use these fitness metrics over the long-term, and when you see a trend shift you want it to make you think about why it may have happened. You can learn what the consequences, or benefits, of your decisions are in the bigger picture which is very valuable to you - and your coach.
What metrics does Henry like to look at with his clients more specifically?
Henry really likes to look at simple metrics like the longer term trends of resting heart rate and HRV scores. He likes to help people have “a-ha” moments by looking at the longer term trends of those scores. One of the biggest a-ha moments Henry finds with his clients is alcohol. It’s often not until his clients see their trends bomb out because a night - or 3 - of drinking that they’re willing to change their ways.
What should a new user of fitness tracking devices think about when they buy a device?
Henry gave a great answer on this. He said that they need to be ready and willing to make a change in their behavior based on what they are using or why would they get the device in the first place. If you just want to see data for no outcome or progressive way, ok, but if you’re getting it to get more healthy or fit, you must be prepared to implement some better practices to move the longer-term trend in the right direction
Thanks for having a quick read! Cheers!