Adidas Gets Smart

Adidas unveiled Fit Smart, a fitness-training product worn on the wrist, at the Wearable Technologies Conference in San Francisco today. Designed for athletes and gym bunnies alike, Fit Smart measures heart rate, calories, pace, distance and stride to calculate workout intensity.

Eighteen months ago, the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based brand “turned on the gas,” focusing on a product that would provide feedback and coaching to help users reach customized goals with an updated version of the MiCoach Train and Run app, said general manager Paul Gaudio of digital sports at Adidas.

Here, Gaudio talks to Footwear News about elevating training through new technology.

Who is Fit Smart’s target user: athletes or anyone looking to rev up their workout?
It’s very much a combination of both. It has the capabilities to be useful to any athlete, whether you’re looking to run a faster marathon or a faster 10k. Because of its size, shape and the experience, it’s great for the everyday, recreational athlete who is looking to keep track of — and get credit for — what they’re doing. [They will] get guidance along the way to identify their goals.

Fit Smart works with a mobile app focused on meeting goals. Why was this an important feature for Adidas?
We have spent a lot time working with high-level trainers and athletes and have learned that it’s one thing to say, “I’m going to bite off a three-month training plan” — it’s quite intimidating for the everyday person to make such a commitment. It’s really helpful to form good habits and for those habits to happen on a day-to-day basis. Those habits can become normal activity in smaller steps, giving people a chance to succeed, and as they succeed, they see progress and get more confident. Workouts becoming more habitual translates to wanting to do more and set high goals.

This would work with yoga and pilates, too; anytime you’re able to get your heart rate elevated, you get a training effect, and that’s what we’re capturing. [Fit Smart] is aimed toward fitness and sports.

How do you envision the average user to interact with Fit Smart and the accompanying app daily? Weekly?
The average person is likely to set a weekly goal. There’s an assessment as well to help you get a more specific view on your fitness level and to set targets. Starting with weekly, because Fit Smart is really tracking workout intensity based on heart rate, you’re getting credit, and the response is coming back.

Most people will stumble into the sticky, engagement aspect of “It’s about me. How did I respond to the work that I did?” That’s where motivation comes in.

You talk about working with athletes a lot to better understand their needs. What are some of the issues that you get feedback on?
Motivation. Even elite athletes respond when they have a coach dialed in to their personal needs.

Knowing how much is too much. It’s one thing to jump into and get dedicated to training planning, but quite often people overdo it. This can lead to injury, fatigue — the opposite of the effect you’re looking for. The coach is there to help so you’re ready to peak and hit your goals. It’s taking those insights and boiling them down and getting similar benefits so you’re not discouraged.

What is the future of Fit Smart?
There’s a platform that these products link with, and it’s constantly updated. Once you buy into the product, it’s not static. It continues to evolve. It’s an experience that won’t stand still.

Describe Fit Smart’s connection to soccer.
MiCoach already includes soccer-focused training plans. It’s also very useful for someone who wants to get in shape for the upcoming season — say, a high school kid getting ready for the upcoming season. We’ve partnered with Team Exos and trained the German national team with MiCoach; we will always be very connected with the sport of soccer.

Fit Smart, which retails for $199, will be released in late August exclusively at Best Buy and Bestbuy.com, and then on Adidas.com.

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