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.

Also follow me on Snapchat for more frequent ideas and insights.

Chad

Weekly Challenge – Nutrition – Gear up your Greens!

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I recently visited Amsterdam for the first time. What an incredible city to get lost in. The biking, the canals, the food! I had a few recommended lunch and dinner spots written down from a couple foodie friends. One being a new salad bar. Salad bar? Sounds kind of like something you find in the food court of the shopping mall right? Wrong. It was one of the best lunches I’ve had while in the city. This leads us to the nutrition challenge for the week.

Time to get creative with your greens! Why? Because a salad can be so incredibly satisfying (and beautiful) if you know how to build it.

Greens (aka Leaves)
The base which should make the bulk of your green salad. Spinach, romaine, rainbow chard, kale, or a lovely mix from your local farmers market. Up to you, go wild.

Note: If you’re using a more bitter fibrous green such as chard or kale, I like to cut off the ends, roll up the leaves, and chop horizontally to create thin strips of greens. Give the greens a little massage in some olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. A lovely salad base!

Veggies
This is where you get creative with colour and texture. Try shredding the starchier veggies such as carrots, purple or golden beets, summer squash, and sweet potato. Shredded zucchini and fennel are delicious too. As for your juicier veggies, try dicing cucumber or quartering small cherry tomatoes.

Fruit
If you enjoy a little sweetness in your salads, having it come from fresh fruit is a healthy option. Low glycemic fruit such as berries, diced pear, and shredded apple are great options.

Grains
Grains are a nice option for adding bulk to a salad, especially if you are enjoying your salad as a meal. Millet, red quinoa, wild rice are personal favourites, but any gluten-free grain could work. Try cooking a big batch at the beginning or mid week and keep in the fridge.

Protein
If you are choosing an animal source of protein, it is important to go for free-range and organic to ensure you’re getting a good source. The same goes for those that enjoy adding cheese. Try organic goats feta, as this can be easier to digest for some versus cows feta.When it comes to plant-based protein, try sprouted beans such as chickpeas, mung beans, adzuki beans, and lentils. They are incredibly satisfying and filling.

Healthy Fats
The cherry on top! I’m a big fan of the healthy fats, but in moderation and try not to skimp on quality so that you know you’re getting the highest amount of essential fatty acids. Some sources are diced up avocado, chopped nuts (lightly dry roasted or sprouted raw), or a homemade dressing made of extra virgin olive oil or unrefined sesame oil.

Note here: Most salads can keep well in the fridge, just wait to toss in the dressing until you are ready to serve.

Make sure to share some of our favourite flavour combinations in the comments below. The possibilities are endless all year round. Light and cooling in the summer, hearty and cozy in the winter.