The Healthy Executive

Is The Health And Fitness Industry Broken?

woman hurt leg

The fitness and health industry is $47B in the U.S. and $78.17B globally.

For all that money being spent, you’d expect some results to show for it.

You’d be wrong.

The failure rate of diet and exercise is 80% after 1 year, 95% after 2 years, and almost 100% after 3 years (Pubmed study and ACJN study).

Did you ever wonder why?

There are 2 reasons.

The first is the industry sells you what you think you need to succeed. Hence the endless and bewildering flood of everchanging diets, smartphone apps, recipe books, meal plans, workout routines, fitness programs, pills and supplements. On Amazon.com alone there are 738,712 fitness related and 246,242 diet items for sale!

It’s in our nature to think that in order to succeed this time we need new information. The health industry unerringly caters to our desire for the latest fad (as evidenced here and here).

The thing is, you don’t need to learn anything more. If all we needed was more information, everyone with an Internet connection would live in a mansion, have abs of steel, and be blissfully happy.

If something health and fitness industry fails more than 95% of the time, is it really helping you?

uniqueYour Health Is Unique

A major flaw in the health and fitness industry is a “one size fits all” approach.

Most health or fitness programs require that you follow their schedule. Go to the gym when the trainer is available. Go to yoga when the class is scheduled. Give up an hour of sleep before work. Give up study time after school. Forfeit weekend leisure time. In addition to fixed schedules, most health or fitness programs rarely account for even basic factors like age, gender, dietary requirements, or sports preferences.

The reality is everyone is unique.

People differ physiologically as well as in motivation, habits, attitudes, illness or disease, work and home environment, and their family and social and cultural circles. People also have different passions, activities, and sports interests. And if developing healthy habits is hard in the home environment, it’s virtually impossible when traveling. All these factors make everyone’s life circumstances unique.

Logically it follows that one’s health plan must be highly personalized.

What does health and fitness personalization cost?

I reached out to my colleague Ramit who actually did this. He pays $16,380 a year to see a personal trainer 3 times a week. He pays a certified nutritionist $3,000 a year to evaluate his progress and adjust his diet weekly. He spends $21,635.64 on a personal chef to prepare his food based on his training plan and the recommendations of his nutritionist.

So health personalization can be can expensive. And we know that more fitness information doesn’t really help us.

The situation seems bleak.

But the advent of wearable health sensors and online health coaching is poised to change all this.

psychology trumps technologyPersonalized Health: The New Wave

Recent studies indicate that smartphone apps by themselves are not effective for weight loss or fitness, but are effective when combined with coaching.

Traditionally, personal health coaching is done face-to-face and is usually confined to a fixed setting. Now that technologies like smartphones and wireless internet can replicate the functions of an in-person session, face-to-face coaching is evolving to virtual coaching.

The time has arrived to combine the best human experts with the right coaching skills and science with the modern technology to make personalised support affordable and accessible for everyone.

Geographical locations and fixed schedules are no longer barriers because virtual coaching can be done via phone, video conference, email, SMS, iMessage, WhatsApp, FaceBook and a myriad of other apps.

Innovative companies like Dupl leverage personal sensors and developments in sports science and nutrition and fitness from top health coaches to give a truly personalised health experience. They deal with complex science and data behind the scenes and integrate seamlessly into people’s busy lives.

A new wave of personalized health innovation is poised to help people affordably achieve their fitness goals for the long term.


Also published on Medium.

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