By Marla Kaminsky, AFS Community Expert
How are you using data to make useful changes to client habits? The single biggest mistake I see fitness experts make when it comes to technology is using the data to tell the past, not drive future wellness decisions.
Finance professionals have a great term for this, a sunk cost. A sunk cost is money that has already been spent and cannot be recovered.
When you take a fitness measurement, whether as sophisticated as a bio impedance analysis or as simple as a measurement with measuring tape, the information is a sunk cost. It’s already been spent. Good or bad, there is nothing you can do about it. The value of the information is in the ability for that information to drive future wellness decisions.
Your doctor uses this all the time. Ever notice that the medical assistant rarely tells you exactly what your blood pressure, unless you ask. They say it's high, low or normal. Why? Because the purpose of knowing your blood pressure is to drive future decisions like habit change and medication.
As fitness professionals we tend to get very excited about data, wanting to share as much as possible with our clients. Often times, that is the most ineffective thing you can do. The purpose of the data, for us, the experts, is to drive future decisions.
One of the things I love about the ACCUNIQ by Selvas Healthcare, is that all of the units include a biological age. It takes all the data and puts a number on it so you can see how your health compares to your age. For example, you are 50 and you have the body of a 54-year-old. You are telling the client what they need to know and shifting to a goal-focused discussion. You are taking the focus away from the sunk cost.
Once fitness experts get that ah-ha moment, the next question that I usually get asked is, "How many changes should I suggest at once?" The answer is two very specific changes at most. If it is too general, or if you give too many changes at once, people won’t implement it in their daily lives. For example:
- Get 25 grams of fiber 5 days of the week
- Add a 10 minute warm-up and 5 minute warm down to every workout.
You know, as an expert, that these two very simple changes, will have far reaching impact. You are dramatically improving their diet, increasing their exercise time and taking care of their musculoskeletal system. As the expert, you become part of the intelligence that makes the data effective. When you use data to predict the future, rather than tell the story of the past, you change the narrative.
Marla Kaminsky is the owner of Spartan Wellness Technology. Ms. Kaminsky is an expert in the implementation of technology in the fitness and wellness industry. Her expertise extends into training and educating business owners in how technology, when implemented thoughtfully, can improve member engagement, increase revenue and help achieve goals. If you are interested in learning how SWT can help achieve your specific goals, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.