What is Fitness? Our chief medical officer Dr. Jesse Slade Shantz believes there isn't one answer.
What is fitness? Working on a fitness and performance product at OMsignal has pushed me to question a unified definition of fitness. Prior to my start in the wearable technology industry I primarily defined fitness based on the recovery from injury and disease. That is the typical medical definition given that doctors, and particularly specialists, only see people at their worst; when they're injured or sick. One of the advantages of working within wearables is my ability to turn that paradigm on its head by taking a more consumer (and in that human) view of performance. I've done that alongside my year of training in sports medicine, so it's been an interesting journey.
Here are a few of the conclusions that I've come to so far:
Fitness is defined at an individual level. The uniqueness of each person and their response to activity and training means that fitness is a hard concept to pin down in a population. That's why we've worked hard in the Bioengagement Department at OMsignal to develop a host of metrics that cut across different physical activities and sports. We also realized that both real-time feedback and reports are what drive performance, so we've built both into our initial product.
No single metric defines fitness for a given person. When you look through the human performance literature, no single measure of fitness or test of performance seems to be the Gold Standard. I think it's because fitness is so multifaceted that the measurement of each component feeding into a peak performance is a stretch goal. Given the tools that OMsignal offers it has been fun to take what I have learned about performance and apply it using our technology at the gym. That's where a few of our metrics have been born.
Performance and fitness are measured 24/7, not just during workouts. It is clear that the body sends off signals during the day-to-day that tell us about our fitness in the moment and show us our long-term gains of strength and endurance. With a shirt that continues to sense your body we have been discovering more and more about some metrics of fitness that can help guide people to the correct workout on a given day. We can't wait to hear how people serious about performance use these features to tailor their workouts and reach their peak and maintain it.
Needless to say, working at OMsignal is a blast for a scientist interested in providing a valid way for people to reach their health goals. I see this as the next logical step after spending so much time finding ways to help people get over injuries. This is only the beginning.
Dr. Jesse Slade Shantz