Fitness wearables and their impact on 'virtual training'

Covid-19 has pushed the fitness sector to respond to a growing demand for bespoke digital services.

The challenge

A woman lifting weights

Base PT is a high-tech online personal training company that aims to make personal training accessible for as many people as possible. The company is working to make personal training an accessible support to everyone by advancing the ‘Home-Workout’. Base PT combines technology with professional personal training to create a virtual yet bespoke personal training experience in the comfort of customers' own surroundings. 

This project aims to investigate the impact of wearables and their effectiveness at improving individual and team performance in non-competitive sports and support Base PT to raise investment in this market niche. 

The solution 

The project team is generating a comprehensive report about the use of sport wearables amongst fitness enthusiasts. This includes:

  • A review of the literature and current market as well as a survey and focused interviews with current and potential customers;
  • Collections and analysis of data to understand how wearable fitness monitors improve people’s performance;
  • Recommandations on how personal trainers can use these wearable data to help customers maximise their performance.

Research team 

  • Janett Adler - PhD researcher in Graphic Design and Future Technology (Manchester Metropolitan University, School of Art)
  • Sam Bateman - PhD researcher in Business Administration (University of Manchester, Alliance Business School)
  • Jon Bebb - PhD researcher in Philososphy (University of Manchester, School of Social Sciences)
  • Helen Cheng - PhD researcher in Business and Management (University of Manchester, Alliance Business School)
  • Amy Cortvriend, PhD researcher in Criminology (University of Manchester, School of Social Sciences)


  • This research project has provided Base PT with a detailed insight into the current market of wearable fitness trackers 
  • Researchers produced an extensive report on how wearable fitness monitors improve sport performance through a review of secondary literature and a competitor analysis. They also carried out comprehensive investigations into the current sport wearables market through a literature review, a survey and a series of interviews with fitness enthusiasts. 
  • In light of this, they have offered clear recommendations on the design and marketing of a wearable device that will maximise individual performance and meets the needs of Base PT’s target audiences. 


This project was completed in 2019-20 as part of the Collaboration Labs programme, a PhD research consultancy programme created by REALab, with funding from the ESRC, the NWCDTP and the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester.