The rise of technology has delivered a plethora of fitness trackers and wearable tech to our everyday lives. Initial releases were limited to basic measurements such as mileage, pace and calories burned, but have since evolved to offer seemingly endless channels of data. The emergence of 5G, IoT and high-precision GPS will only intensify this rapid growth, but as we have seen in the entertainment sector, deeper personalisation will become the next phase of technological innovation.
The endur8 concept, initially conceived in early 2017 by founder and CEO Daniel Slight, is to help users maintain optimal performance by delivering personalised fuelling strategies. Slight first began to understand the importance of nutrition and correct fuelling times while training in and competing for the British Canoe Union in marathon kayaking.
“It wasn’t until I attended a cycling event and saw many people with pieces of paper taped their bike frames with hour one, hour two and hour three, notifying them when to fuel, that I realised there must be a better way to do this,” says Slight.
As a result, Slight vowed to deliver a service combining good nutritional science and technology to pinpoint an individual’s needs. endur8 soft-launched in August 2017 before arriving in the UK and US in January this year, and is now operational across the globe.
He says: “We created endur8 to boost an athlete’s training and refine their race performance. Performance nutrition is incredibly complex and cannot be left
to guesswork, so we designed endur8 to simplify and manage nutrition intake, enabling the athlete to focus solely on their personal performance, safe in the knowledge that endur8 will tell them when it’s time to take on fuel.
“We are fortunate to have found ourselves in a market which is otherwise relatively saturated, but with a very clear, topical solution to a problem a lot of people are talking about.”
John Kerrigan, endur8 chief strategy officer, expands: “Anyone who has undertaken a long endurance event knows it is difficult to achieve the Goldilocks zone, which is that just right place between under fuelling and hitting the wall and over fuelling and hitting the bathroom. endur8 helps athletes reach that zone.”
The main challenge, he explains, is educating users on how fuelling at the correct times increases performance. “We recognise that training ingrains behaviour to the point that it becomes second nature, and we bring additional value by way of a pre-planned, scientific fuel strategy with real-time alerts.
“Explaining that the endur8 app can run in conjunction with all other performance trackers as well as in its own right has been a challenge we didn’t initially anticipate. If endur8 is running in the background rather than the foreground, at key points, it sends push notifications, using minimal battery power for those long rides.”
So, how exactly does the algorithm work? “There are two aspects,” says Slight. “One is the quantity to be taken, along with the frequency of the feeds, and the other is the positioning of the fuel points to account for demanding elevations, allowing time to fuel the muscle ahead of a climb. The first aspect is calculated using the metrics of the athlete’s body, while the second is based on the elevations of each individual route.”
endur8 has just launched on the Apple Watch, with plans to explore the possibility of expansion into more sports. “Right now, our main focus is to make the app as accessible as possible for current users which currently sit within the cycling, triathlon and running markets,” says Slight. “We are considering the option of taking the app into winter sports, water sports etc, but for now, we are hyper-focused on our current market.
Moving forwards, endur8 will continually refine its algorithm to incorporate variables such as sweat rates and VO2 max. “As a new company, we enjoy the benefit of being able to adapt quickly to the wants of our athletes,” says Slight. “From a technology perspective, we’re securing partnerships with third-party timing devices and bike computers to share the alerts to fuel, which will help with user experience. Through the Apple Watch, we’ll soon be able to identify changes in sport types, as well as to draw analysis from heart rates and calorie burn, among other features.”