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- I wish there were an obvious position for a healthcare/general-fitness coach. You can easily get a coach to help you accomplish specific goals like running a marathon or riding a century. You can find someone to help you become more flexible, lift more, jump higher, sleep better, or eat better. But it's hard to find someone to integrate the research and help you figure out if you should lift more or ride longer, or what mitigating activities you should commit to in concert with such things.
A few months ago pointed me at http://www.amazon.com/Which-Comes-First-Cardio-Weights/dp/006200753X , which did seem to provide an interesting basis for informing some decisions in this area. But what I'd really want would be to put the author on retainer and pay him for a quarterly consultation or something :-).
I guess it's kind of like financial services. There are a wide variety of services available, but they all have biases making it hard to evaluate their efficacy without having already developed enough expertise to do much of the job directly.Mar 26, 2012
- Actually Scott, have you asked that author if he'd be willing to do a special consultation just for you? I don't see why he'd necessarily be against it!Mar 26, 2012
- I think for most people, it's a matter of finding something they like. Most people's problem isn't optimizing their time in the gym or on the bike, but rather, putting time into either!Mar 26, 2012
- I could see convincing the author to do a one-off, but I'm rather looking for something like a long-term relationship. Regardless of how you view the benefits of massage or chiropractic, having a consistent practitioner does improve the results. I envision it as being similar to my relationship with my CPA, where I can schedule an appointment with the expectation that when I arrive, he'll have already glanced over my file so I don't spend a bunch of time bringing him up to speed.
I agree that for the vast majority of people simply finding something they will actually do is the biggest problem. But once you've scraped out the hours necessary to train for a century or marathon or triathlon or whatever, you're already not in the majority. I think there's real value to achieving a goal like this - but once done, it's reasonable to ask whether you should continue along the same lines, or would your health be better served by making other changes?Mar 27, 2012
- Hmm, I was thinking about this more, Scott, and I think the only folks that would do something like that would be professional trainers. They exist for pro athletes, but obviously they don't do quarterly consultations. I'm not even sure you could do a quarterly consultation for something like this unless you kept extremely good numbers of your workout and times. Unlike financials where there's an automatic trace of 90% of your numbers, all numbers entered for a fitness log is 99% hand entered, the other 1% is for race results.
When I workout with folks, I can tweak their weights to make sure they're getting to failure points, or increase their speed on the treadmill or bike, and encourage each other to eat a lot better. Its a lot harder to do something like that on a quarterly basis unless you're willing to do 99% of the bookkeeping. And if you are, then you can probably tell yourself what you need to do next, since the research is probably only 10% of the work.
So I think what might make more a difference for you now is to have a regular workout buddy or hire a professional trainer. It'll be more expensive, but they should be able to do what you're asking for. They just have to shift focus on the results being "finish the race in x hours" to "should you continue along the same lines, or would your health be better served by making other changes?"
That's also horribly subjective btw. =) You'll have to probably lay out more concrete guidelines as to what would be considered "better served".Mar 29, 2012
- I use a personal trainer (which I realize may differ from "professional trainer" in some way), and spend fair time in the Google gyms observing other personal trainers working with their clients. Most trainers mix motivation with knowledge to various degrees, and obviously the trainers who are more towards the motivation side aren't really the subject, here.
Your point about professional sports programs is actually kind of getting in there, because they have a variety of people in different positions with different areas of expertise, and they can all share data and work together on an issue. I think an interesting (not scalable) solution would probably look a lot like a concierge medical service, or be a part of such a service. I revisit that notion every year or so, as I've heard good things about the physical therapy group associated with The Village Doctor, but since concierge programs tend not to accept children, I've left it pending. Which is easy, given the prices involved :-). ["Not scalable" because there aren't that many places likely to have such programs.] [[Looks like at least The Village Doctor now offers pediatric services.]]
As far as tracking, have you heard of http://www.coreperformance.com/ ? I sit one floor up from the Google location. They opened up last year, but I had a personal trainer and was training for Death Ride, so I really didn't have the free time to dedicate. Maybe I should revisit that decision. They have automated a lot of the tracking for workouts, and one could see automating a lot of other tracking, like Fitbit and Zeo and Withings scales and uploading photos of your food and having a central server make estimates.
Being able to cross the streams could be a powerful tool, like seeing relationships between sleep metrics and performance metrics not in abstract "We tested 50 volunteers" format, but as an experimental set of one. Then again, I don't yet have a PowerTap meter because I feel that it will just generate a bunch of additional data which I won't make use of.Mar 29, 2012
- I took a look at core performance and from my brief visit to the website, it looks a lot like a personal trainer without the human part. It does simplify the book-keeping aspect of it though, which is nice, but I'm not sure how much value it is to someone who already has a personal trainer or who already has a 1/2/3 year planned workout schedule.
I'm sure a concierge service that cross the streams, that can collect data from your workouts, get sleep data, get diet data, can tune you in on whatever it is that you can do to improve performance even more, but I wonder how much is there demand for that? And what the costs of that would be. The folks who are already paid to perform athletically already have this service, so the market for this would be strictly prosumers: folks who participate in events 5 or more times a year. Not pro, but definitively above amateur.
Sounds like a great idea for silicon valley =p, where data driven decisions tend to hold a lot more weight than conventional wisdom. But not scalable like you said, and the costs would be prohibitively high that only silicon valley engineers could afford it. Big enough market for something like this to exist here though!Mar 29, 2012
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