An Industry Built On The Learning Curve – Or At Least My Version Of It

The Learning Curve Of Fitness

Let’s start with Wikipedia:

A learning curve is a graphical representation of the increase of learning (vertical axis) with experience (horizontal axis).

The Learning Curve Of Fitness

A learning curve averaged over many trials is smooth, and can be expressed as a mathematical function.

The term learning curve is used in two main ways: where the same task is repeated in a series of trials, or where a body of knowledge is learned over time.

… the term has acquired a broader interpretation over time, and expressions such as “experience curve”, “improvement curve”, “progress curve”…

Thanks Wikipedia!

My interpretation of this learning curve is that in the early stages, or when one is a beginner at something, there is a steep increase in learning and progress. However, over time that progress reduces and eventually flattens. This flat portion can also be known as a plateau.

Now, what is the timeline in which someone reaches that plateau are we’re talking about here?

In my experience of coaching fitness, the flattening of the curve usually happens within the first 1-3 months. As in, clients can see rapid results for the first 1-3 months and then those results slow down or stop.

Whether this is in increased strength, increased endurance, increased power output, weight loss or reduced body fat percentage, the results slow down rapidly or even stop all together.

Now that the baseline knowledge is out of the way, I want to apply this to my industry: Fitness.

It is my opinion that 90+% of the services and programs that are out there are targeted and marketed directly at this learning and performance curve. They are built within the range of achieving the most success from their customers.

Where do we see this?

  • 30-day challenges
  • 8-week bootcamps
  • P90x – aka 90 day DVD program

Do a search on Intagram for Fitness Inspiration, Workout Motivation or Booty Challenge and you’ll find thousands of accounts with 6 pack abs and peach booty’s with links to their DVD or downloadable programs.

(and no, “peach booty” isn’t a typo)

You’ll also see dozens, hundreds or thousands of people who have had success on that program. However, often those numbers only represent a fraction of the people who actually followed the program. So if you see 100 success stories, it’s likely that thousands of people tried the program. If you see thousands or success stories it’s likely that hundreds of thousands tried the program.

I have no scientific data to prove this, but from my experience observing clients over the past decade, I would bet that at most 10% of the people that do a program get the results you see advertised. That leaves 90% who didn’t even make it that far!

Heck, if you’re still reading this you probably ARE one of those 90%!

My question is always: what data or percentage of success stories would we get if we expanded that out to 4 months, 6 months and 12 months after the program. How many people STILL have the success once the 4, 8 or 12 week program is done?

As I said, the programs are built to fit WITHIN the highest growth rate of the learning curve.

After the program, let’s look at:

How many people have built a habit?

How many people have created a new lifestyle?

How many people actually learned what’s next?

I don’t have exact numbers on these things either, but I’m not sure anyone does. Honestly though, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that no matter the program, 100% of people will experience a flattening of their learning curve at some point in their progress.

100% of people will hit a plateau at some point in their training.

It’s totally unavoidable.

The thing I encourage you to think about from this article is whether or not your program, plan, system and/or training considers and addresses this fate.

Is what you’re doing ready for the inevitable plateau and are there resources available to take you past it?

Or is it designed to end before your plateau and then leave you hanging when you get there?

Deep right?!?

The good thing is that millions of people get 1-3 months of success usually within every calendar year. ( Can you say “new years resolutions” anyone?) Every year people are stepping up to the plate and taking a swing at their health and fitness goals.

The sad thing is that millions of people only get 1-3 month of success usually within ever calendar year.

They then enter a perpetual cycle of programs, challenges and bootcamps with the promise of the quick results we all desire so badly.

If I can leave you with one thought after reading this article it’s this:

The next time you consider and fitness program that lasts less than 90 days, think about your learning curve. I guarantee you that you’ll hit a flat point and plateau. Ask yourself:

How does this program address that inevitable fate and how will it take me past it?

Once you have the answer, you’ll know if it’s really worth your investment.

Thank you for getting this far and reading my article. I love feedback and interaction!

Did you like this article? Did it trigger any questions? Please comment below and let me know what you think.

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Plank Challenge – vBlog #8

Plank Challenge

This weeks fitness challenge is a front plank challenge. I’m challenging you to see how long you can hold a front plank for every single day. If you missed last week, I offered a walking challenge that’s worth checking out.

As far as the plank goes, it’s a pretty straight forward exercise that you can do anywhere. All you need is you and a floor. So yes, literally anywhere. Here is an extremely exciting video I made of the front plank.

In this video blog post, I offer up a plank challenge to see how long you can hold it every single day. I suggest doing it at least once a day, but aim for 2 or 3 at various times throughout the day for maximal benefit. A good starting point is around 30-60 seconds if you’ve never done a plank before. If you have 1-2 minutes is a nice average. However, advanced athletes can hold for 3, 4 and even 5+ minutes!

The plank itself is an amazing exercise. It provides great benefit to the core helping you develop a strong posture. You’ll feel it in you abs, obliques, erector spinae muscles in your low back, and also in your legs and arms. It truly is a full body exercise.

As always, I encourage you to track your progress. Keep a journal for yourself and I welcome you to share your tracking with me so I can see what you’re up to. Otherwise, please post questions or comments below and good luck on the plank challenge!

Walking Challenge – vBlog #7

walking challenge

Think you can handle a walking challenge? It may seem silly, but truth is people are walking less and less these days. We now spend a majority of our time sitting, so we’re not getting all the benefits of a basic human function: walking.

In this video blog post, I offer up a walking challenge of at least 5 miles per week. The average human walks around 3 miles per hour. If you walked for 15 minutes per day, you would easily reach 5 miles per week. However, it wouldn’t be a walking challenge if I didn’t push you a little further. In this walking challenge I propose 35 miles per week. That’s 5 miles per day! This would require about 1.5hours of walking per day. Now, if you have a handy little tool like a FitBit, it can track your total activity throughout the day.

As always, I encourage you to track your progress. Online tools can be great. I personally use Evernote because it can track way more than just my fitness. If you too use Evernote, I welcome you to share your tracking notebook with me so I can see what you’re up to. Otherwise, please post questions or comments below and good luck on the challenge!

2013 Evernote Fitness Challenge

2013 Evernote Fitness Challenge

I have teamed up with Evernote again this January to create a New Years Fitness challenge. You can check out the full details on Evernote, but here is the gist of it.

The Challenge: Create your own Evernote Workout Journal

Get your workout on in as many creative ways as possible and use Evernote to snap as many photos as you can, logging your day-to-day progress. Here are some ideas for photos you can capture using Evernote on your mobile device:

  • Show us how you’re working out at home: lifting cans, doing push-ups with kids on your back, walking the stairs with your dog, etc.
  • Show us your favorite outdoor workout spaces such as the park, trail, hill, or monkey bars you use.
  • Show us your favorite gym equipment.

To help you track your progress, save my document, “Creating an Evernote Workout Journal,” to your Evernote account.

Tracking what you do and your results will help keep you motivated throughout the Challenge and the New Year.

Be sure to share photos the Evernote Facebook page and my Facebook Page and Twitter using the hashtag #evernotelife and @evernotelife @anthrophysique.

Get started now and let me see what you can come up with. What kind of cool places have you already worked out?

2nd Evernote Fitness Challenge

On Monday, Evernote announced our 2nd Fitness Challenge. These challenges are a 30 day effort to focus on a Fitness and or Nutritional Challenge. It is meant to be fairly basic so that the majority of people can participate. The basic details are:

For this challenge, you’ll have the option of choosing one or both of the challenges below:

Get outside for at least 15 minutes per day. You have to spend these 15+ minutes doing something active — smoke breaks and sun bathing at the beach don’t count. You have lots of options: walk, jog, ride your bike, play a pickup game with friends at the park.
Eat only vegetables for carbs. To get that leaner body, you’ll want to reduce your carb calories. For the next 30 days, you’ll cut out processed grains and fruits. Got questions? Find Chad on the Facebook event page, our Lifestyle forum, and on Twitter.

Check out the Evernote Blog for even more fun details and join us in this challenge! Also, join us at the end of the 30 days for our Twitter party. Let everyone know you’ll be participating by tweeting:

I’m participating in the @anthrophysique + @evernotelife Fitness Challenge and Twitter party on Tues, July 24th. Join us! #evernotelife