Quantified Self was a term coined by Wired magazine editors Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly back in 2007. And it is most commonly thought of in relation to personal fitness tracking devices but in fact encompasses much, much more than that.
One way to look at it is it attempts to answer the age old question: am I good in bed? And how would I really KNOW if I'm good in bed? We'll come back to that one in a few minutes...
Now people who make a living predicting when various technologies will "become big" are almost always off by a few years. But here are some recent predictions including this idea that 2013 will be the year of personal wellness tracking.
In today's day and age every presentation must refer to Wikipedia at least once, and so here's mine... Quantified Self is defined as Data acquisition on aspects of a person's daily life in terms of inputs, states and performance.
Inputs include things such as... How many CALORIES did I burn when we were filming that Harlem Shake video last week? How many HOURS did I end up sleeping after I watched that horror film last night? How HOT was it while I was out for my run today?
Whereas 'States' are *perception* measurements that I record myself like how happy was I after my hot yoga class this morning. And did I *feel* as though I'd had enough to drink before the bike ride I just finished in the midday heat?
And lastly there's the typical *performance* tracking we think of when we think of Nike+ and Garmin and FitBit... How *far* did I run and what was my *heart rate* during that run.
Many of the ideas of Quantified Self came from the author of the 4-Hour Workweek. In his book The 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss claims to have recorded every single workout he has ever done since the age of 18. And since 2004 he has been...
...recording incredible detail from those workouts including blood chemistry levels. In Vegas terms he parlayed that information into a debut at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and spent 3 weeks in the top 3.
For me this journey in self analysis began with my first experiments a few years ago when I bought a Withings scale and Withings Blood Pressure Monitor. I now have 2 years of daily measurement of my weight, resting heart rate and blood pressure, all automatically loaded on my iPhone and into the cloud.
Soon after, I started adding heart rate monitoring to my GPS run tracking. I finally could *see* what I'd been feeling. I could *see* how temperature and pace and elevation changes affected my ability to stay within my target heart rate zones.
I started getting my wife involved in my journey when I decided to see how good I was in bed. As it turns out there were nights when I was great! And there were nights when my sleep habits were bordering on nocturnal.
What became fun was figuring out what else I had been doing before a good night's sleep. What you see on screen are actual results from my sleep tracking when I was wearing a Zio headband, which was monitoring my brain activity while I slept.
Now before you judge me as some kind of freak in this area, this is an exploding segment of the larger health and wellness world. Apple Stores and Best Buy are showcasing entire sections of these tracking devices. Here we see a display of no less than 20 such devices.
And customers by the hundreds of thousands are beginning to learn more about their fitness journey from *these* devices than anything our industry has been able to supply them with in the past, at least not with any degree of regularity.
Now I *thought* I knew a lot about this subject until I spoke at the ANT+ wireless symposium last year in Alberta, Canada and learned that devices already exist today that I had only *begun* to dream about.
Like a running visor that not only protects your eyes and face from the sun but takes the heart rate from my chest strap, and the cadence from my shoe, and the speed from my GPS powered smart phone and shows it in front of my eyes on a heads up display like you'd see on a high end BMW!
But how much more can we actually track? Things are getting a bit outlandish already. Like this fork, for example, that measures how quickly you eat a meal and encourages you to slow down when you're eating too quickly.
And increasingly sophisticated training tools normally reserved for pro athletes are starting to come down in price, such as this ECG chest strap that can predict, IN ADVANCE, good and bad days to exercise and customize your workout based on your physiological readiness.
Ultimately we're either going to find a way to integrate these technologies into our clubs or members will find that they can get more information and support outside our of clubs and we will be relegated to old ways of thinking and antiquated services.
IHRSA Ignite 2013
What is Quantified Self? And why should you care?
What exactly is Quantified Self?2007 The Year of the iPhone2009 The Year of Social Media2011 The Year of the Tablet2013 The Year of The Quantified Self
"Data acquisition onaspects of a persons daily life in terms of inputs, states and performance." ~ Wikipedia
Inputs: Calories, sleepquality, air conditions,weather...