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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Building A Better Booty: Coach Shelby’s Quest For Glutes

Building A Better Booty 3

Is there anything better than a well developed set of glutes aka: Booty?

Hm.. perhaps some gorgeous back muscles but one thing at a time!

My obsession with glutes started in my early twenties. I had a classically flat bum. Don’t get me wrong, it was small but it was most definitely flat.
And I hated it (along with this picture!)

Building Better Glutes 1

So I set about to change it! I squatted, deadlifted and lunged for a good three years; and while my glutes did develop, the results weren’t exactly what I was hoping for… “Womp womp”

So the next two years I spent truly trying to grow my booty. Again, changes happened but not many, I am very hamstring dominant and without proper focus they take over all the work my glutes should be doing.

Slowly but surely I started to get pissed off!

Then I got pregnant – Having to scale back my workouts a bit I decided to spend the majority of my time working all the tiny muscle groups I normally neglected in my regular workouts (preferring to train the core lifts).

So I then delved into glute research; I read a total of 387 articles on glutes, glute programming and how to achieve a roundly backside shape. and finally, finally! I realized where I was going wrong:

My glutes were failing to contract fully and for me personally they respond better to high volume than heavy weight.

Well… OK…

So back to the studio. I began training glutes six days per week for 20-30min each day. I used a range of exercises to target all functions of the glutes (hip extension, hip hyper extension, hip transverse abduction, hip abduction, hip external rotation) and in a variety of repetition ranges.

Building Better Glutes 2

The most important part for me was ensuring I really felt my glutes working, specifically in hip hyperextension.

The fun thing about the glutes is you can work them in low loads with really high volume without causing damage. So that’s what I did.. for six months.

The results:

I put two inches on my glutes and changed their entire shape. While my pants fit around my waist I cannot get them over my butt. Thankfully, I no longer have a small booty!

Building Better Glutes 3

To top it all off, now that I understand their contraction I’ve been able to put some much needed numbers onto my core lifts. It’s been a win all around!

So here’s the thing:

Some people have great glute genetics, while others can contract their glutes on a whim and therefore have an easier time developing a roundly shape.

Then there are people like me who have poor glute genetics (read: flat bum!) and struggle to contract the glutes properly.

If this is you, you’ll have your work cut out for you.

BUT, a nice ass is definitely possible (with the right amount of work!).

There are three things it takes to build your glutes (or any muscle for that matter):

* Metabolic stress (that oh so lovely “pump” feeling)

* Mechanical tension (activating your muscles through a full range of motion)

* Muscle damage (feeling sore the next day)

If you’re missing one of the three your results will be a bit lack luster.

And what many females fail to realize is that putting muscle onto your glutes is a good thing. In order to have a “nice butt” you need to have muscle back there. The perk of this muscle is that stronger glutes help alleviate low back pain, protect the knees and are a great supplement to your bigger lifts (squat and deadlift).

So if you’ve been training in the hopes of having a nicer butt for some time with no luck, give me a shout. No one should have to suffer with a flat booty 😉