I’ve only broken one bone in my life. It was when I was about 10 years old, and I was playing baseball. I tried to catch a pop fly with my palm up. The ball bounced off my glove and smashed me in the nose. I’d never seen so much blood, and cried in the dugout for an hour.
I only start with this anecdote because, as you'll see, there are some things that become blindingly obvious after the fact: A wrecked nose playing baseball, or a smart device on a bat explicitly telling you that you are bad at baseball. Which is worse? I have always considered myself a decent ball player. That afternoon, so many years ago, didn’t do me in. So the notion continued after that, until today.
At CES Day 2, exploring the Sands Expo—which houses about 75% of the fitness and sports tech being showcased—I ran into some folks from a company called Diamond Kinetics who make a smart device called the SwingTracker. The device attaches to the bottom of a baseball bat that tracks, among many other things, the speed metrics, power and control of a swing. They had a booth set up with a tee ball that they let people try their swing against the hard tyranny of pure data.
My score was pathetically bad. Technique, speed, power—I averaged a total score of 2.7 out of 10.
I only bring this up because the tyranny and the blessing of data is all around us now. Many exhibitors—especially the big ones—acknowledged that the Internet of Things is here now, tracking your every move, washing your clothes and guiding the intelligence of your car. This might sound scary, but there is a huge fitness advantage to it all. You can set a goal, motivate yourself to get there, and track your progress to a better mile time or smaller BMI. Or, you may find out you really weren’t meant for baseball.
But let’s start on a lighter, less data-driven note: on-demand video workouts? At the ass-crack of dawn, I got up to do a group fitness class hosted by Radius, a new on-demand fitness channel and subscription service, in the manner of DailyBurn. Guided by an all-too-cheery Radius master trainer double team of Keoni Hudoba and Natalie Uhling, I, along with a few fellow journos, participated in what was promised to be an “easy” workout.
But we didn’t blame Radius For almost an hour, it was a blur of calisthenics and cardio that I’ll definitely feel in the morning. Thanks, guys!
It’s hard to imagine that video workouts will be quite as intense as a group fitness class, even if the workout’s the same—after all, the trainer’s aren’t physically present to motivate/humiliate you. That said, Radius has a ridiculous built-in base unlike DailyBurn; besides the obvious advantage of having VoD, workouts also air on NBC Sports on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Now that’s a wake-up call.
And besides, it gave me almost 5,000 steps toward my #LoopForCharity step counter in competition with my fellow journalists at CES.
Onto the Sands Expo. (I walked from the Excalibur to the Venetian, which put me at over 9,000 steps.)