Will Mighty someday include a pedometer, a GPS, or a heart rate monitor to track data about workouts? We get this question a lot. The short answer is; nope. Here’s why:
Fitness monitors don’t work like most people think they do
Taking a hard, honest look at industry research and user habits, it appears the fitness metrics gathered by electronic devices and apps do not always motivate us in the long term to sustain our fitness goals. There are many studies that cast shadows on the positive impact of the metrics produced by today’s fitness tracking gadgets - counting steps, calories, or miles.
Fitness metrics do not necessarily make most of us work out more, or work out faster, harder, or better. But do you know what has been shown by research to help us work out more frequently, more intensely, and to burn more calories?
Leaving the phone behind
Bringing our music
While there is serious research that supports all this, I believe most of us already know these simple truths intuitively. So we’ve decided to do something that no other fitness trackers seem to do; support our simple, natural habits around healthy, happy, musical workouts. Think smiles per hour rather than miles per hour.
We want you to break free
If we can encourage more people to leave the phone at home and exercise outdoors with music we know they will experience better, happier, and more frequent exercise. So we’re focusing our version of activity tracking on the following core components of our “break free” philosophy.
Leaving the phone behind
Smartphones are loaded with apps that track our steps and our routes (as well as many ways to brag about our efforts) but they’re full of distractions. Those distractions are no joke when it comes to their impact on your workout. Taking your phone along has been shown to detract from the intensity of your exercise, thus lowering calorie burning during a given workout. Our activity tracking feature does not need a phone (or GPS, or a pedometer, or network signal).
Bringing Your Music
The one phone feature that has proven to improve workouts is music. We’ve solved that by making the first device to allow you to take your streaming music on the go without your phone. You know music makes working out more fun, but the positive impact of music on our workouts is serious medicine. One of the world's leading experts on the psychology of exercise, Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London, thinks of music as "a type of legal performance-enhancing drug." We’d agree, so we’re using music as the foundation of activity tracking and initial feedback from our customers is very exciting - 70% of customers asked were interested in tracking their activity through music.
“It sounds like fun because FitBit is too clinical. For me exercise is happiness, so it equals music in this respect.” - Mighty user
“Tracking my exercise and getting to set goals via music time would be an intriguing feature” - Mighty user
Studies show us that getting exercise outside (aka “Green Exercise”) provides a host of advantages over indoor workouts. The benefits include improved blood pressure, healthier levels of cortisol, increased energy, feeling happier, and even greater motivation to exercise more.
You’ve probably noticed that you’re happier after working out. You may not know that you also work out better and more often when you're happy. We don’t often hear much about happiness in our no-pain-no-gain fitness culture, we think it’s time that changed. We imagined a musical metric would be more fun. As we’ve experimented with early prototypes - it is.
We’re reinventing physical activity tracking
Of course music is the heart of our approach. We’re not releasing full details of our system yet, but the easiest way to understand the gist of what we’re doing is this; if you run away from your starting point for the duration of 4 songs (“4-out”) and then turn around and try to make it home within the duration of the next 4 songs (“4-in”) you’ll know you’ve run for about 30 minutes and that you’ve maintained a steady pace for the duration. Simple. Beautiful.
You can tweak the math to fit your own performance or to track improvements (or slippage) in your performance. For example, with inspiration from a well-timed power track you may say to yourself “just one more song” on the way out. Of course, this means one more song on your way back too – adding about 7 minutes to your run overall. You may choose to shoot for an hour run, aka “8-out/8-in” routine. Or, you may choose to increase the number of songs out/in gradually over time as your speed or endurance improves. The upcoming Mighty feature does the math and provides the encouragement.
Our system relies on a good streaming service (e.g. Spotify, Amazon, etc.). Of course, we’ve got that covered. We’re not counting steps, calories, or even miles. We’re using the streaming music playlist and individual tracks as the units of measurement to track distance, timing, relative performance, and perhaps more importantly of all, happiness - a proven key to good workout habits.
For all the studies measuring the effectiveness of fitness devices on our wellness, we’ve come to this conclusion; smiles-per-hour are more important than miles-per-hour.