Mar 17, 2015 · 2 minutes

One of the most prevalent arguments made in defense of big data and sensor technology is that it can make us healthier. In the future, they argue, the notion of a "checkup appointment" will become obsolete. The sensors will always be "checking up," alerting doctors, patients, and -- perhaps problematically -- insurance companies of any potential health problems.

We still have a few years before that strain of dystopia takes over. But this so-called "quantified self" movement is already in full swing when it comes to fitness, first manifested by wearables like Fitbits, Fuelbands, and Jawbones, and other activity trackers. Now Apple and Google have jumped on the quantified bandwagon, respectively offering HealthKit and Google Fit tracking technology to their smartphones.

But does this granular data surrounding your every step and heartbeat really lead to better fitness? And even if it does, shouldn't we be concerned that the abandonment rate of wearable fitness trackers is up to one-third?

That's why SoulCycle founders Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice have taken a non-digital approach toward fitness -- one that relies not on sensors but on something arguably more powerful: human intuition.

"One of the core principles and things that we’d always hoped for when we started this business, was that in that room, you would find your own inner athlete," said Rice at our PandoMonthly event in New York last week. "For me, I really feel like when I go for a run now or I do something on my own, I can hear myself saying those words."

She goes on: "Part of the real goal was to train people to be their own coach. And there is definitely something when you fundamentally learn that, and when you can feel that in your body, when you can understand what pushing feels like and what it is to go to the next level, I think that it’s really different than looking at your wrist."

Watch Cutler and Rice discuss the quantified self with Sarah Lacy:

[Editor’s note: The Go On With Your Quantified Self series is being sponsored by New Relic, so you’ll only see their ads around “Go On With Your Quantified Self” pieces. But the series was conceived, commissioned and edited entirely by Pando. New Relic had no input whatsoever in the editorial. For more on our policy towards single sponsor series like this one, see here.]

Sponsored: Your software is your business. See your data and improve performance with powerful analytics from New Relic. Start now.

[photo by Yulia Rock]