May 07, 2009
Chris Cooper started with a scientific experiment about “fitness adherence.” It ended as another CrossFit success story: The secrets of sticking with it.
This is the story of how you get your clients off their butts.
Or, if you insist on more polite conversation, we can talk about a fitness adherence study I conducted to try to understand what makes people stay with an exercise program. Among the key factors identified were intensity, novelty, accountability and competition. Sound familiar?
I put an article on a local news site asking for 12 volunteers who weren’t currently Catalyst members. They were told we were studying the efficacy of a workout program, not the adherence rate. The volunteers were split into two groups.
Group 1 got a booklet with exercise descriptions and pictures. The booklet detailed a month’s worth of workouts, written day by day. Group members were told to check off the workouts they started, even if they didn’t complete them. Group 2 was given the same booklet without the workouts included. Instead, they were e-mailed the daily workout and asked to reply with times or weights they had used.
We applied for government funding through one body and were redirected to another. In the end we were given a 50 percent reimbursement allowance. That meant for every dollar we spent on the research, we’d be given 50 cents back, provided we developed a product for sale and created jobs. That started a two-year research and development process. More importantly, it changed the way we approach fitness.