Technology has been a driving disruptive force in industries across the world, and the fitness industry is no exception. On this week’s episode of The Playbook, host Mark Collier, business consultant for the UGA Small Business Development Center, sits down with MT Strickland, Co-founder of Metric Mate. Today, he shares why his groundbreaking technology tool is taking the health and fitness industry by storm.
Mark Collier:Welcome into The Playbook MT.
MT Strickland:Mark, thank you for having me brother.
Mark Collier:You’re welcome. Listen, for those of my viewers out there who don’t know as much about you and your past as I do, share some of your background on how you got into this business that you’re in today.
MT Strickland:For sure. For sure. Native of Atlanta.
Mark Collier:All right. One of the few and the proud, huh?
MT Strickland:That is something that you’re hearing less and less as we go through life, and I like to enumerate that every time I come on. Native of Atlanta, came up right outside of Atlanta in Dakota, Georgia, graduate of Chamblee Charter High School. Go Bulldogs. So I am homegrown and very excited to be bringing this patented, amazing fitness technology to the Atlanta area.
Mark Collier:All right.
MT Strickland:So me and my business partners actually met at Morehouse College. We are able to come together to bring this technology together, all of us with different expertise and all of us looking to change the world for the better.
Mark Collier:All right, well, I’m excited. So let’s get right into it. Let’s do it. What is Metric Mate? Give me your, 30-second elevator speech, as they say.
MT Strickland:And you’ve heard it already. So, you know, it’s polished pretty well.
Mark Collier:Yes I have.
MT Strickland:But Metric Mate is a company that’s invented a patented technology that allows you to turn any stream training equipment into smart stream training equipment. So just by adding our patented sensor, which I have here, as you can see, is compact, is easy to carry. You can take it into your fitness bag. You can take it anywhere that you need to go. And the thing that separates us from other businesses in this actual space is that we are mobile and we are agnostic of equipment.
MT Strickland:So not only do we work with machines, which this orientation that I have it now was prepared for, but you can remove this pin from the end and now you can attach it to your bar bells, the kettle bells, your dumb bells, everything else, because this is the smart part of the sensor.
MT Strickland:So where a lot of our competitors have focused in an area and been able to take advantage of that, we found a way to invent a patented technology that allows us to be able to spread it across all stream training apparatuses at any fitness facility, whether you’re at home, you’re at the LA fitness down the street, or if you’re in the hotel gym. You can take Metric Mate and get your data, track your information and know that you’re getting the most out of your workout.
Mark Collier:Phenomenal. I like it. I’m a fitness buff myself, man. So you have already sold me prior to you coming in for this interview. But let’s talk about kind of the Genesis. What was your vision in creating Metric Mate? And what void did you see out there in the market place that kind of led to your vision?
MT Strickland:Excellent question. So Braxton Davis, Patton attorney, amazing guy, Georgia tech and Georgia state, 40 under 40 is the Genesis of this actual idea. We’d go work out and he had a problem not remembering what he did last time he went to the gym. Did I work out on 40 pounds or was on 60 pounds?
Mark Collier:We all have that same problem.
MT Strickland:Did I do the chess press last time? Or was I working on triceps? So he envisioned a product that allows you to not only autonomically check your reps and sets so you can keep up with that data, but also allows you to know how many calories you burn. Know how much force you put out, how much power you exerted, where you’re fatiguing along your workout process. All of these data points that you’re generating, but you just weren’t able to capture it until Metric Mate came along.
Mark Collier:That’s all critical data that will not only help you focus on your workout, but will help you move closer to the goals that you set for your fitness regime. Makes perfect sense.
MT Strickland:And allow you to efficiently and any time you want too.
Mark Collier:Okay, all right. I like it. So differentiation is the holy grail of all business models. So how is Metric Mate different from other fitness apps that are currently out there in the marketplace?
MT Strickland:We focused on not being another wearable. A lot of people will walk around with their watches and their Fitbit clip-ons and all of this stuff that’s attached to the body. The first thing we wanted to do is move away from being another piece that you had to put on yourself.
Mark Collier:There’s a market for that. I wear a regular watch. I’m a traditionalist. I don’t like those Fitbit, Apple watches, Samsung watches. I don’t like them. So there is a market out there for that, but I’m sorry. Please continue.
MT Strickland:No. For sure. For sure. And so that was our first focus. In building that platform, we wanted to make sure that we gave you data that you don’t have, which is why we went down the stream training portion because Pelotons’ got biking and Hydrows’ got rowing and Fitbit and Apple watch and Samsung have walking. Strength training is something that they’re guessing and we allow that guessing to be exact.
MT Strickland:Now you have the data to support the information that you’re getting. You’re not just closing your rings because it assumed you were at the gym and you were working hard. It knows that you were working hard with Metric Mate and then the portability of our device, as I said a little earlier, you can take this to any facility at any time and get data and have that data analyzed and compared and crunched and displayed in a way that makes it easy for you to understand where a lot of our competitors are stationary, for lack of a better word.
MT Strickland:Tonal and Mirror are competitors. They sit in your home, they stay right there. Perch is another competitor of ours that has to be calibrated and programmed in a single location. One of the biggest appeals that we’ve seen in the athletic space is that now if you have athletes that have not made it to campus yet, you can get data from them with Metric Mate. If you have athletes that are on sabbatical or going on vacation. Now, it’s not about assuming that they completed that workout, Metric Mate, gives you everything you need to know they completed that work.
Mark Collier:That sounds like a coach’s dream.
MT Strickland:I’m telling you, that’s why we’re here. We want to make sure that they know it’s available because we know everyone’s looking for that competitive advantage.
Mark Collier:Sure, absolutely.
MT Strickland:And we want to be there.
Mark Collier:All right. So kind of walk me through what a user experience looks like and feels like for someone using Metric Mate.
MT Strickland:Love it, love it. So we made this as simple as possible. Three easy steps. Turn it on, which it’s on now. A flashing red light tells you it’s on. Connect it to your phone. It’s Bluetooth. It’s autonomous. As soon as you log into the app and click, I accept Bluetooth to be used. You never have to do it again.
MT Strickland:As long as you’re close to your Metric Mate device, which usually when you’re working out with it, you are, connects automatically and then you get to work. You lift your weight, you make your movement. You do whatever you need to do to get to that workout place. We wanted to make it as succinct and as seamless as possible. Not changing how you move, how you work out, just what you get from it.
Mark Collier:All right. So I know you’ve got certain target markets and I know that data tracking, data analytics, that’s paramount for elite athletes, but why should regular people care about tracking their weight training activity? What is the attraction for just a regular Joe Blow guy who goes to the gym, like me?
MT Strickland:So injury is a big part of working out. A lot of people don’t know if they’re working out too hard. A lot of people don’t know if they’re working out properly, a lor of people don’t know if they need to rest and give their body some time to recover before they go again. With Metric Mate, we give you the opportunity to not only know the data about your workout at the time, but give you guidance on what to do next time and how to proceed so you can efficiently reach your goals.
MT Strickland:So now you have the agnosticness of your schedule. If you’re busy, doesn’t matter. We can go with you. We can be with you wherever you are. Now, when you walk into the gym with Metric Mate, we have an audible command saying, “Hey, last time you did chest and triceps. Now you need to do back and biceps. Here’s the list of exercises that you need to do. Here’s what weight you put it on, here’s how many reps you do. This is the rest time you need to have in between.”
MT Strickland:So now the regular person can go into the gym and have the same awareness, the same understanding as if they were trained for years in body building and know exactly what to do.
Mark Collier:So it’s almost like having a real time personal trainer in your ear, giving you feedback, giving you encouragement or kind of directing you along the workout path for that particular day.
MT Strickland:For sure, and the crazy part about it is, that it is a personal trainer because we allow you to connect remotely to a human personal trainer. One of the things we learned about the market is that that relationship is what really draws people in with trainers. We don’t want to break that. We want to be a conduit for that and to enhance that. And that’s what we’ve built with Metric Mate.
Mark Collier:Okay. Well, I’ll tell you what. Many employers out here, as well as insurance companies, understand that if a person who is healthier and more fit is going to get sick less often and cost them less money. So can Metric Mate be used with my insurance company to get discounts on a premium or with select employers who are aware of the benefits of this? Tell me a little bit about that.
MT Strickland:Without a shadow of a doubt. We want insurance companies to know the information about their actual clients, about their patients, about their participants because, like you said, that allows them to better understand what these participants need to serve them better, which is what they’re here for.
MT Strickland:But then every business is here to make money. That’s why we’re on the small business networks. That’s the lifeblood of a business. We can provide insights that allow them to be able to decrease the amount of time that it takes for people to rehab injuries. We can decrease the re-injury rate, which is a little known issue in the insurance industry. Not the injury the first time, but the ailments that come from improper rehabilitation of that first injury [crosstalk 00:10:32] cause another injury.
MT Strickland:So we want to be the go-to tool for employers, for insurance companies, for healthcare providers, to be able to have a more rounded understanding of what they’re doing. You know their cholesterol level, you know their diabetes and their glycerol. Now you can know their fatigue level. How that translates into how they’re healthy, how healthy they are, how healthy they can be.
Mark Collier:All right. I mean, that makes perfect sense. I mean, it makes sense from an insurance and employer perspective, who’s trying to save money on costs for unhealthy employees. And it makes sense for the end user because he’s hopefully adding years to his life. Years of useful life. So, all right. So I know the tech space. It’s crowded it’s competitive and in many cases it’s cutthroat. So what are some of the biggest obstacles that you faced as you kind of move Metric Mate through the tech space continuum?
MT Strickland:Excellent question. The tech space, like you said, is a cutthroat space that is becoming more and more saturated as people become more inundated with that and understand how data affects their lives and how it can be a benefit. So we have competitors, we have people in the market.
MT Strickland:And one of the hardest parts about us, is that instead of being a company that invented an app that’s strictly housed on a phone or on a database or in the cloud and you can manipulate it from anywhere. We have a piece of hardware. So we are more like an Apple watch or a Fitbit. When they were new, people didn’t adapt them the same. People didn’t believe that folks would want to know how many steps they were doing in the day.
MT Strickland:How novel of a concept was that back in the 1998? Like, I want to know, I want somebody to be able to tell me how many steps I’m taking and now if you don’t track your steps, you looked at like a leper. That’s the hurdle that we’re trying to overcome with Metric Mate. There’s so many people that are confined to the archaic system of writing it down with pen and paper. That’s the way we’ve done for years. A lot of athletes-
Mark Collier:I see folks in the gym every day with their little note cards, jotting down what they did. How many reps in this, you’re right, it’s archaic. Yeah.
MT Strickland:Yeah. So we want to be the digitization of that process. We want to allow that, but overcoming that learning curve, that’s the word I was looking for, the learning curve.
Mark Collier:And educating the consumer out here. You know, why this is better, why this will help you. That education process along with enhancing a learning curve. So I definitely get what you’re saying.
MT Strickland:Yeah. And the pandemic completely set us back because it was easy when you’re in front of people. You can say, “Hey, try this out.” Let’s get some data on your phone. So we got set back by that and then that also set back the investment learning curve as well because this is a new space and people with money want to invest in what they know.
MT Strickland:They want to invest in what they know is going to win. And when you’re exposing a new space, you’re exposing a new area and no matter how intuitive you think it may be, as people walk around with all of these gadgets attached and they’re tracking all this data. Why would this not be something that would fit in that same lane? We have to educate investors as well. So this opportunity, our website, our social media presence, other spotlights that we get to talk about Metric Mate allows us to be able to do that.
MT Strickland:And as we roll out of this pandemic we’ll be able to get more hands on with the customer and hopefully overcome that. But in the meantime, that has been a huge chasm in our progress.
Mark Collier:Understood. All right. MT I’m a strategist and a big picture guy. All right. So I understand how data tracking is important. It’s improving the lives of many. So in what ways do you see Metric Mate kind of impacting the larger community out here in terms of the bigger picture and delivering that type of value?
MT Strickland:No. For sure. People get injured every day.
Mark Collier:Yes they do.
MT Strickland:Running into problems, running into injuries and for those that are fortunate enough to get the rehabilitation, have the surgeries, come back at a point or if not better than they were before. Wonderful for them. But there’s a large population that cannot. There’s a large population that, if they have insurance, once that insurance has paid their 12 to 15 visits to the rehabilitation center. You’re on your own.
MT Strickland:So Metric Mate is an apparatus and I take this to heart because I actually have a partial hip replacement. I received that right before my 21st birthday and I speak from experience because once my 15 weeks of training was up…
Mark Collier:They said, “Good luck to you MT.”
MT Strickland:“Hope you do well, keep doing the exercises that we’re doing.” But how do I know I’m getting better? How do I know I’m progressing?
Mark Collier:Where are the measures? You know, there’s an old adage in business, what cannot be measured, cannot be improved. So you are tackling that.
MT Strickland:If you don’t track it, it doesn’t count. So we put that power back into the hands of the individual. Not removing the physician because that knowledge and that information that they’ve spent time cultivating is very important. But if you can go to your gym that’s five minutes from your house instead of driving 30 minutes to the physical therapist, that changes your life.
MT Strickland:Now start adding kids and responsibilities and jobs on top of that. That might be the only way that you can continue to progress to get better. And so we see this for the single mom in the middle of the city that has to pick up her kids. And it’s like, “The only time I have to workout is after they go to sleep.” Metric Mate can track your data.
MT Strickland:You can send it to your physical therapist. You can send it to your strength coach, personal trainer continue to move forward. Or the rural farmer in China, who, their only way of generating income is with their body, is going out and working in that field. And if they get injured, the whole livelihood of their family goes down.
Mark Collier:So injury prevention is their driver?
MT Strickland:Is their driver.
Mark Collier:I get it. Yeah.
MT Strickland:And even if it was to happen, now you have a tool to help you get back as quickly, efficiently, instead of going two or three hours to a hospital or physician. Now you can be where you are, go to the gym, use it at your home gym. Even order some stuff from Amazon. You can get to work where you are, but we remove that inhibition that comes with the location and the local of a lot of people and the scheduling of a lot.
Mark Collier:All right. MT Strickland, co-founder of Metric Mate. I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy day to come and just kind of detail and share how this product is going to just disrupt the entire fitness and weight training industry. And I can see nothing but groundbreaking success for you.
MT Strickland:Mark thank you for allowing me to come on, man. This is an excellent experience and I look forward to sharing success stories going forward.
Mark Collier:Absolutely. Thank you.
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