A Scalable Fitness Dashboard
This is a standalone essay on Day 7 of the Tech Progressives Writing Challenge, also join build_ to connect.
There is a saying that you need 10000 hours to become an expert at something. I played professional tennis for 15+ years, worked as a tennis coach for 6+ years and started a community-driven sports club 3+ years ago. If there is one area, I can consider myself an expert in, then I could state with confidence that I am an expert in tennis and sports in general. I know all the ins and outs. I’ve been around everyone, from complete beginners to pro athletes. I know almost every need and struggle, I’ve been through it all, mentally and physically.
Personally, I think it is almost impossible to create a scalable fitness dashboard. By scalable I really mean scalable, supporting 1M+ athletes. I have been thinking on and off about this topic for years, but I have always run into some problem. Here are a few reasons why it is so hard to standardized solution for everyone: different sports, different types of workouts, different levels of skill and knowledge, different regime (work, family, travel, fun), different pace, different results, different metrics, different problems.
Nevertheless, I have no option but to come up with a real MVP soon, otherwise we will not have "gainz" in the Network State.
So, let me start by creating a general framework. As I want to keep this article short, I will abstain from lengthy explanations on why I chose a metric, just take my experienced word for it. Firstly, I am going to define the goal: A scalable fitness dashboard for the average citizen of a Network State to achieve long-term health.
To make it scalable we need a metric. What would be a great metric for long-term health? The only metric that might be a great indicator for long-term health across different sport is probably “Consistency of Workout”. I would argue that if you do some kind of physical activity over a long period of time, this should be a great indicator for your long-term health. Also, I believe that everyone can reach a decent level of skill and results by just being consistent. We are not aiming for perfection, as pro athletes do, we are creating a dashboard for the average citizen, so decent results are more than enough. We are going for long-term health and not for peak-time superhuman performance.
Next, the metrics must be very simple and need to be collected almost automatically. Thus, everyone needs to wear a fitness tracker. I propose 2 key metrics and 2 optional metrics. The sleep metrics can be derived automatically, the workout and meditation scores need validation:
- “Consistency of Workout” Score
- “Sleep” Score
- “Consistency of Meditation” Score
- “Stress” Score
Unfortunately, metrics are the easy part. There are plenty of apps out there with cool dashboards and innovative metrics, but they do not deliver any results. The difficult part is to create a system around these metrics that actually delivers results. In our case, if you manage to workout consistently and sleep well over a long period of time, chances are high, your overall health will benefit from it.
The main reason people fail to workout consistently over time, is simply because it requires discipline. Everyone is always super motivated during the first weeks. However, after some time everyone starts making excuses which gradually lead to inconsistency or a complete halt in working out. Gains are lost, people start feeling guilty that they stopped working out and the vicious cycle starts again.
Rest assured; this is normal. That is also why pro athletes have coaches and often train with teammates. A coach is always there to push when you need motivation. Teammates pursue the same goal as you, suffering together is much easier than suffering alone. For normal people however, only a private coach will help, group classes often tend to fall apart once the first people start to skip.
Hence, there needs to be a system that holds people accountable. Moreover, it should be gamified to keep it fun. If its fun, people are more likely to stick. Finally, there needs to be a mechanism for the difficult cases, those who see no way out of their misery, those who completely lost faith in becoming healthy.
Following comes my proposition for an MVP of the scalable fitness dashboard, based on smart contracts and balajis proof-of-workout
Before the workout:
At the beginning of every week, a certain amount is deducted from of every citizen. It should be an amount that hurts a bit when you lose it due to stupidity. Let’s say 100$.
Every citizen should work-out at least 3 times a week. Thus, the threshold is 3 times per week. You must set your workout day at the beginning of the week but can change them as the week goes along.
The day of the workout:
On the day of your workout, you select your sport and the app puts you into a group of 3 people. These people are also working out on the same day. These people are preferably in a similar time-zone, do a similar sport and live in a nearby location.
- Then you press a button “Starting Workout” and “End Workout” to time the duration. While working out, two metrics are measured “heart rate” and “calories burned”.
After the workout:
Immediately after the workout, your data gets sent to your group to be validated. They get your “heart rate” & “calories burned” during the workout . They compare your workout data against your average “heart rate” & “calories burned”. If the metrics show to be higher over most parts of the timeframe, they will validate your workout. Finally, you also validate their workout.
You need three validations per week to fulfil the norm. If you manage to fulfil the norm, you will keep your balance of 100$. If you manage to do better, you gain money from people who failed to workout. For example, you can do better by keeping your streak over many weeks, or by working out more than average.
If you fail, you get punished and lose money. If you fail multiple weeks in a row, you become part of a “support group”. The supports groups are moderated by community managers. These should act like coaches and motivate you to get back on track.
Obviously, these are just the key pillars. There might be much more granularity with leaderboards, tokenization and much more community collaboration like on Strava for example. Nevertheless, I think I incorporated all parts for a simple, yet result oriented dashboard. What do you think about this system? How would you improve it?