Using The Science Of Behavior In Fitness, Health + Business (with BCBA Nick Green from BehaviorFit)

using science behavior fitness health business featured image

Nick Green chats with Erika about starting up his business, BehaviorFit, and the unique, behavior-analytic approach he takes to fitness coaching services. Nick shares some insights from his experience building his business and some resources for other solopreneurs or BCBAs aspiring to strike out on their own.

Interview Highlights

  • Nick Green is a behavior analyst that has become a specialist in fitness, nutrition, and health-related behavior science. After founding his business, BehaviorFit in 2015, it’s grown to include one-on-one client coaching along with a lot of education via social media, his blog, and workshops. He uses a telehealth model to work with clients to reach their health and fitness goals using measurable behavior analytic techniques. [0:53]
  • Nick created a data analytics tool called business intelligence. It applies to the finances and operations of the business. [1:46]
  • While originally created for his own internal purposes, he re-branded it to help clinicians, as an efficiency productivity tool that he needed for his own BehaviorFit clients. [2:03]
  • Nick uses a tool called Microsoft Power BI for graphing and manipulating data and moving data around. [3:11]
  • If you’re a fitness-related behavior analyst and want to analyze some aspect of your clients’ fitness data from sources like an Apple Watch or FitBit, accessing it can be hard because it’s not open source or open API. You have to manually enter the data in a place where you can share it like Google sheets or Microsoft Excel. And so that’s what Nick does. [5:05]
  • The genesis of BehaviorFit was in 2015. In May 2015, Nick graduated from Florida Tech with his master’s degree in Organizational Behavior Management (OBM). Then, he transitioned into his PhD program at the University of Florida. At the time, social media was just starting to grow, and that’s when he started blogging once a month he still tries to do that on a monthly basis, but now he creates content elsewhere. [6:14]
  • Nick coaches adults with their fitness goals. Typically, they’ll meet for 30 to 45 minutes each week and go over the targets. They will set specific, observable, measurable goals. Then they start collecting data, setting goals, delivering feedback, and iterating from there. [8:54]

“I’m always sensitive to the amount of effort somebody’s giving me, because you want to make sure that you’re shaping in the right direction.” — Nick Green

“Knowing what the industry is that you’re getting into, you want to do your due diligence and conduct your market research when thinking about names [for your business].” — Nick Green

  • If you want to make a pivot, you’re going to have to be familiar with all the other business processes from sales, marketing, creating relationships, following leads, all those bits that go into building a business. [23:36]
  • Nick is a big fan of Seth Godin and he recommends two of his books called, This is Marketing and Permission Marketing. [24:13]
  • Other resources that Nick also mentions are Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. [26:16]
  • Nick shares two stories that show his indirect assessment process. [27:34]

“The entire process of me and my style is collaborating with the client the whole time and deciding what is most important for them to target.” — Nick Green

  • There are different ways Nick can work with folks that are interested in his service. They can workshop different strategies and tactics for improving health and fitness behavior change. [34:44]

Meet Our Guest

BehaviorFit is the dream for Nick. Combining health, fitness, and behavior analysis for the rest of the world. He is an entrepreneur, husband, and father.

Nick Green, is a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) and focuses on improving the health of others through practice and research. His formal education includes:

  • B.A. Psychology (Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 2006)
  • Minor: Philosophy
  • M.S. Organizational Behavior Management (Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL, 2015).
  • Ph.D., Psychology (University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 2019)

Nick’s previous experiences include 5 years of clinical work with individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities, working within organizations to evaluate and improve processes, managing and overseeing the training of small teams.

His experience and education bring a unique perspective when designing pro-health solutions. Nick’s main focus and research interest in reducing sedentary behavior (too much sitting) in the workplace. His passion is: “Improving human performance and health with behavior analysis.”

When Nick is not in a book or writing, he enjoys training his dog Pete, improving productivity, photography, Olympic weightlifting, and functional fitness.

Nick grew up running cross-country, wrestling, golfing, and playing baseball.

photo of nick green

“Whatever works for you and stick to it; be consistent. Don’t be distracted by others.” — Nick Green

Resources from this episode:

Related articles and podcasts:

Read the Transcript:

We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.

Erika Ng

Welcome to the Behavioral Health Collective podcast – a community for behavioral health professionals who are passionate about working together across disciplines to improve client outcomes by valuing collaboration, connection, humility, and evidence-based practices in a variety of behavioral health fields.

The goal of the Behavioral Health Collective is to highlight stories of collaboration between practitioners, the work they’re doing together, and how thoughtful and ethical collaboration between fields can lead to better client outcomes. 

Thanks for joining me today to dive deeper into stories of professional collaboration.

Hey there, thanks for tuning in. I’m Erika Ng, the founder of the Behavioral Health Collective. So today’s conversation covers a few different topics from ABA, in health and fitness, to business practices as a solopreneur. I think it really will be of interest to any BCBA who has, or is trying to get out into their own consulting business. Get that setup, whether it’s health and fitness or in any other niche. 

Nick Green is behavior analyst that has become a specialist in fitness, nutrition, and health-related behavior science. After founding his business, BehaviorFit in 2015, it’s grown to include one-on-one client coaching along with a lot of education via social media, his blog and workshops. He uses a telehealth model to work with clients to reach their health and fitness goals using measurable behavior analytic techniques.

I think you’ll find this interview interesting if you’re curious about how ABA can be applied to fitness and health, but also for business wisdom. Nick grew his consulting business from the ground up and has a few things to share for solopreneur BCBAs looking to do the same. 

Nick share some insights and resources for his recommended business and marketing practices that I think would be helpful to any BCBA looking to strike out on their own.

So, yeah, I’m just curious about the business intelligence and the fitness intelligence and what that looks like. 

Nick Green

Yeah. So what I kind of learned in industry, what I was working on is there’s kind of a sub, I wouldn’t say sub, but a main business area in data analytics called business intelligence.

And mainly it’s really kind of applied to like finance and operations. And I thought how do I apply this to the clinical space, and the fitness space? And so just by way of teaching myself some of the methodologies and tools and processes, I kind of re-branded it for my own purposes to help clinicians, and really it was more of an efficiency productivity tool that I needed for my own BehaviorFit clients.

And so then, like you asked earlier about what platform was built for me and it’s a blank canvas. And so I make my own dashboards for my clients. And so the beauty of is, I think the easiest way to explain it is, I don’t graph an Excel or using any other tools. I set up all my data in a way that all I have to do is click refresh and everything’s updated for me.

Erika Ng

Wow, cool. 

Nick Green

So it’s pretty awesome. I’m a big fan of it. 

Erika Ng

Yeah, that’s amazing. And so it started with the fitness side and then it turned into the business side as well, cause you thought, great, I can apply this in other ways. 

Nick Green

Yep. Yeah. That’s exactly right. So for me, I mean, being kind of a solo preneur, just a consultant, one of the few clients I found myself like many people maybe listening to this podcast.

I found myself spending too much time graphing and manipulating data and moving data around and actually looking at the data and looking for insights. So I thought, how can I make this easier? And then I’m kind of a techie guy by, you know, self-interest too. So I thought, oh, how can I make this better?

And then it was just more of me being at the right place at the right time. Where I had a colleague of mine said, Hey, have you ever heard of this tool called Microsoft Power BI? That’s the tool that I use. There’s other ones out there, but once I got a hang of it, similar to Excel in a way. But once I got the hang of it, I’m like, oh, it’s like, it was a major behavioral cusp, if you will.

So once I learned it and I was like, oh, explosion of an analysis and graphs and charts and ideas. So, that was a game changer because, I just needed to, so I require my clients to take a lot of health and fitness data. And so I only went to ask for as much data I can analyze. And so that was a tool that can help meet that need.

Erika Ng

Okay. 

I’m curious on that end with the clients then, are they entering data right into the system then? Or is it gathering information from say their iPhone in other apps that like track their steps or?

Nick Green

Good question. So I so you kind of you’re peeling back like one layer of the onion here.

So, imagine the world, we have all data everywhere and spreadsheets apps. Iphones shared documents, not your documents. What I actually have is, is I have everybody that I work with. We have our own shared Google sheet, and then I connect my tool to the Google sheet and it’s set up in a way that the data is just graphed in a way that makes it easy to look at the, you know, and make the charts.

So there’s no app and that’s barrier to getting a lot of data when it comes to connecting to like Fitbit data, Apple Health data, any other like app out there is that, that fundamentally is probably one of the biggest, I would say biggest problems. But if you’re a behavior analyst and want to control some aspect of the data, getting to the data is really hard within the apps because they don’t, it’s not like open source.

It’s not OpenAPI and that’s a nerdy term out there. So you have to put the data in a place where you can share it and we all know how to use Google sheets and Microsoft Excel. And so that’s where I have those data. 

Erika Ng

Okay. Yeah. And I’m sorry, maybe you said this, but I missed it. The client would put it into the Google sheet, so you just like have one set up for the client and they enter it? Okay, got it. Yeah. 

Nick Green

It’d be like date in a column, steps in a column, exercise minutes in a column, resting heart rate in a column. It’s a very simple, but what I learned with the tool is then like, instead of just like clicking on the graph, like an Excel updating, manually changing all this.

I just do it differently with the technology, so. 

Erika Ng

Okay. Interesting. Oh, that’s fascinating. 

Now, so it sounds like you’ve had a few iterations over time, or like you’ve kind of developed something over time. Where did this all start? Cause I think I’ve heard you speak before and they started with a blog. Is that correct?

Like where did behavior, tell me about the genesis of BehaviorFit. 

Nick Green

The Genesis of BehaviorFit takes me back to, if we’re 2022 now, that was really in 2015. In May 2015 I graduated from Florida Tech with my master’s degree in organizational behavior management. So had some health and wellness, workplace wellness knowledge out there that really if that was valuable and useful for people to learn about.

And so as then I transitioned into my PhD program at the University of Florida, I thought, well, people are blogging and making websites. And at the time social media was just starting to rise, and this was 2015. So, seven years ago now I was like, oh, let’s just put myself out there and just share what I have.

And, that’s where I started. I started just blogging like once a month and I still try to do that on a monthly basis, but now I create content elsewhere. If you follow me on Instagram or LinkedIn on my newsletter. But yeah, that’s where it all kind of started. And then it just kind of slowly built from there as people became more familiar with me as being an expert in the health and fitness behavior change space. 

Erika Ng

Awesome. And so you mentioned you do one-on-one coaching. What does your model look like for people? And I’m actually, particularly curious about what it might look like different from other health and fitness people.

I mean, if you just look on social media, there’s like tons of health and fitness coaches out there. 

Nick Green

Everybody’s an expert, right? I got a body. I like to workout. I know some things. I’m my own model, right? 

Erika Ng

Yeah. So I guess I’m just wondering about how do you apply, I mean, you don’t have to get into the nuts and bolts of it, but how do you, as a behavior analyst, like what does that look like with your coaching? In a way that’s also accessible to people where they’re not like, whoa, this is like weird and do technical, like you know, come to the gym with me and tell me how many reps to do. Or, you know, how do you make it successful? 

Nick Green

It’s interesting when I describe to people what I do. It’s I help people just focus on like what’s most important to them. So that screams right, social validity for thinking about that. So, I personally like to do Olympic weightlifting.

I do CrossFit, sometimes I like to run. I like to play golf, but because those are my preferences, I’m not going to put them on you. Right? We kind of see that people say out there, like, oh, this is the best, this is the best training methodology, blah, blah, blah. We need to do this and that doesn’t matter. You just got to suck it up and all of these things right.

And we know the general recommendations, you know, when it comes to health and fitness targets that are set out there. But, you know, United States, international organizations, but at the end of the day, I follow a similar process. No matter what your targets are as I would, any other behavior analyst.

So, start with it at some assessment, right? Asking, I work with adults with the typically developing so that I can have a conversation with. They got full-time jobs, right? Normal people. So I just asked them, you know, through a longer, kind of more formalized assessment form. And then we coach, we meet weekly.

Typically, you know, we’ll meet like a half hour, 45 minutes each week. Go over the targets. We will set specific, you know, observable, measurable goals. And then we start collecting data and then we start setting goals and we start delivering feedback and iterate through there. And that’s kind of the basic process and rinse, repeat.

Erika Ng

Cool. And do you ever find people are coming to you from elsewhere? Maybe trying other things and they’re like, whoa, this is different. And have you ever had issues of buyer? Like I don’t want to take data or, you know, or are they pretty like stoked because you obviously have good responses from other clients and they’re kind of like sold already?

Nick Green

Yeah. So I think about kind of two angles. You have somebody who is one, let’s just face it I’m private pay. So they have expendable income. They want to do something different. They appreciate a scientific approach to health and wellness. Right? So they’re going to come to me that, that’s a part of my marketing piece.

I’m looking at data, looking at behavior, right? I have the masters in PhD. You know, PhD degree under me, so that’s going to probably attract a certain group of people, of course, which is fine. So you get people who just need some just basic expert advice. Here’s what we’re going to do, you know, or we need to get to 150 minutes of the minimum recommendation of exercise per week.

And then we know general calorie requirements, if you’re interested in that. And you know, in general, like lower resting heart rate is good. Cherry picking some basic, some measures that we might start with somebody. So they want us get some specific guidance there. And so that’s pretty, you know, pretty standard, right?

So somebody is ready to go. But other times I’ve worked with, you know, as part of that intake, that indirect assessment piece. You know, interviewing my client that first week and learning just through as I meet more people that people will sign up for other programs that require a lot of data collection are not as individualized. There’s oftentimes no clear shaping procedure when it comes to, even like data collection.

Right? You might have a, something like a Weight Watchers program. That’s pretty familiar, that requires you to like count points, right? Or maybe some personal trainer out there may require somebody to go from zero days of data collection to now you’re counting every single macronutrient calorie under the sun every day, all day.

Now, what we know as behavior analysts, there’s levels of response effort that go into that target behavior is a precursor behavior to that success of actually eating the food. Right? So if we say, you know, I worked with a client recently that he had a history of signing up with personal trainers and nutritionists.

We have this very high effort, you to go from, you know, it’s really what we’re talking about. It’s not sustainable, right? In the respect that it’s not something that’s easily maintained. That requires the amount of response effort. That’s easy for them and the individual to contact the natural contingency.

So you go from, you know, looking at six months of zero days. I’m collecting any information about my diet. And now you’re asking me to collect all this information, download an app, do all this. And that’s going to require some, you know, learning opportunities, many reinforcers.

And so, in hindsight, it’s easy to say, well, no, no wonder that the behavior of calorie tracking didn’t last. Right? And that’s another layer of analysis that I would put on something that makes me different as like, okay, we’re not just worried about, oh, well the macronutrients, you know, the tracking didn’t work.

They must not want it bad enough. They don’t have the willpower. Then I say, well, let’s pause right there. There’s something in the act of tracking calories. That’s what I’ve been using now. But other, you know, other targets could be tracking steps and you know, data from your Apple watch. And I’m always sensitive to the amount of effort somebody’s giving me, because you want to make sure that you’re shaping in the right direction.

So, yeah. 

Erika Ng

No, no, that’s great. And I love that, yeah. That so many aspects of like what we would apply to, you know, individuals, like traditionally ABA is used in the autism realm or IDD. And so all of these same concepts can be applied to, to fitness and habits. Very cool. Just to kind of see it apply across different settings like that, so.

Nick Green

Right. You have, you know, really early on when I work with clients, it’s a, it’s almost like a test like each week to say like, okay, here’s what we’re going to do. We have your goals but we know we want to start tracking exercise minutes. That’s important. Okay, well, let me see, I’m going to slowly introduce some requirements for them to participate in the process.

Like, okay, here’s a spreadsheet. We’re gonna start with like three targets: date, how much your way, and how many exercise minutes. And if you can show me like week to week, over time by three months and he was like, oh, this is, you know, tracking this, that behavior, again, I’m purposeful that I’m going to provide some social reinforcers of saying, oh, thank you.

How, tell me about how difficult was this new data piece to track this week? Was it easy? The spreadsheets getting long now, is it still okay to manage? I’m always checking in because the process of meeting with me and tracking data, that’s another element to how successful somebody is going to be. So it’s always managing all those pieces.

You know, when somebody’s, you know, working, going through life transitions that I need to be sensitive to, that these are all behavioral requirements that I’m putting on somebody. And I need to, to gauge, again, the focus being on data, what’s going to lead them to success or, you know, a new learning opportunity.

Erika Ng

Yeah. So many things to think about. And I love that how like you’re doing that analytic component in every meeting with your clients. But kind of working along at their pace, like it’s so individualized by the sounds of it.

Nick Green

Yeah. That’s the individualized piece that, you know, sometimes you might hear friends or colleagues talk about like, oh, I just got a cookie cutter, you know, workout program. And I got a cookie cutter nutrition program. I pay 10 bucks for this, and that’s what you’re going to get. You’re just going to get something basic that somebody just, you know, share it as a downloadable summary, which is fine.

It all has its purpose, but there’s layers of like how much support and individualized attention that, you know, somebody, could want in their health and fitness journey. 

Erika Ng

Yeah. Interesting. I’m curious, so you spoke a bit about how you got into it. If BCBAs are listening to this, are interested in getting into this area.

How would you recommend starting? Like I see that you’ve got your BehaviorFit academy. Can you tell me a bit about that and are there supervisory opportunities within that? Or, you know, what does it, how does it work? 

Nick Green

Yeah, so, just with the academy, that’s just my online CE platform. So really kind of out of necessity would just many people asking just based on my experience.

Just those general tips I’ve given a talk before at different conferences. So I had to say, why not record it so everybody can have access to it? So I have a course called Getting Started in Health, Fitness, and Applied Behavior Analysis. So you can check that out on the website and I are, I just kind of cover like, you know, the ethics and the basics of competency and scope of practice, and really it comes down to right.

You kind of see the whole reason why I put myself out there and my marketing and my social media is just to give somebody an example of like, here’s one way to do health and fitness. I’m not saying I am the only way and you should do it like me, but if anything, we just need more exemplars, you know, in this space to show that here’s a good way to go about.

But, and the course, and I can, this is the preview here. You just think about like, how do you want to work with people, clients, kids, whatever it is like, who do you want to work with and how do you see yourself working with those individuals and what problems do you want to help them help them solve. If you want to be a personal trainer, great.

That means that you want to go like work out with somebody and design workouts for them and help them right lift and do whatever. And then you have to figure out how to apply the science in that context in set. For me, just out of out of the demand that I was, I guess creating, whereas in my PhD program, folks went on to work with me.

So the easiest, sustainable model for me at the time was through a telehealth model, just like we’re speaking right now over video. And I wanted to help people solve their kind of health and fitness problems in that way. And so for me that looked like, okay, you want to get from A to B? I’m going to help you on that journey.

And then there’s a lot of behaviors we can chip, you know, along the way. And you just kind of start from there. So for anybody listening that’s interested in health and fitness, you got to think about, okay, what’s the end goal look like? And then you kind of start working backwards and then you think, okay, I want to help. I want to be in a doctor’s office, providing nutrition recommendations and chart their macronutrients and whatever other target.

Okay, if you’re in that environment, how do you need to work backwards? Maybe you have a bachelor’s or master’s also in nutrition and that would be an easy foot for you. Or maybe there’s an online certification that would help you kind of gain some background now that it would help you get to a, to an internship or some type of job shadowing opportunity in a facility you know, in your community.

Erika Ng

I think that’s great advice, because I know that I’m certainly sometimes, we’re focused on the very next step versus the working backwards. So that’s really good advice for sure. Now, I guess alongside this is kind of, I was wanting to know more about the business side of things. Cause you’ve got your business intelligence and fitness intelligence, which we talked about. 

In terms of starting your business, and this would really apply to any BCBA branching outside. Well, even within autism, and IDD, but in terms of starting your business as a solopreneur in hindsight, do you have anything you would’ve done differently or things that you are glad you did?

Nick Green

I don’t think I would have changed anything. I do a little research early on that may be depending on what somebody’s niche or area is going to be. I spent, I’d say a couple of months thinking about what name to call BehaviorFit. As a Crossfitter, things always end in fit or CrossFit. So I wanted to be sensitive about that and think about the market at the time.

And now in the ABA behavioral healthcare space, there’s a lot of behavior analysis, ABA, language company. So, a name isn’t everything, but I think it’s somewhat important. So just, you know, do your due diligence about what, what a name could be, you know. If it comes to, you know, this podcast is about collaborating and reaching people outside the field, or, you know, speaking with other BCBAs, you know, when you’re looking at how do you disseminate or things like that, you know. Knowing what the industry is that you’re getting into, you know, you want to do your, your due diligence and work on your, you know, conduct your market research, think about names and everything.

Cause that could, you know, either attract a certain clientele or could repel, you know, a group too.

Erika Ng

So really thinking about the name and taking the time, like, that’s interesting to me that you spent a few months really thinking about that. So that illustrates, I guess, just like the care and thoughtfulness you put into that so. Cool. 

One other question kind of related to that would be organization in terms of, you know, starting a business, you’re doing the client work, but then there’s the business side of it. So you mentioned, I guess business intelligence kind of came out of your own need to stay organized.

So in the early days before you were using the Microsoft platform and had it more official, do you have any advice on how to stay organized as the business owner?

Nick Green

Yeah, I’m looking over my whiteboard here. I’m taking lots of notes, drawing lots of pictures, right, putting dates on the wall. I think it really it’s about, you know, being, you know, laser focused on like who that avatar, that customer is that you want to serve and trying to be, let yourself not be distracted by what other people are doing. 

Cause I think it’s, it’s even easier nowadays to, especially if you’re scrolling through social media, you know, whether it’s LinkedIn or Googling, you can get sometimes worn down by seeing what other people are doing. Is that kind of early on for me I had to learn to protect like my vision in a way of like, okay, well, this person over here is gonna be a nutrition person, which is fine. 

I’m not going to be doing that specifically, but maybe I can learn something from their approach, but I can’t get caught up in like the weeds of like the actual content and, you know, followers and likes and things like that. 

Erika Ng

That is great advice, because you’re right. Today, information and social media presence and, you know, just information in general is like ubiquitous. It’s everywhere and yeah, hard to avoid, I suppose that. So that’s a great message actually, to just stay focused on what your planets and a whiteboard, you said. Okay, that’s good to know. 

Nick Green

And I guess a whiteboard, I’m maybe more old school and I like to write things down on this paper, but I mean, this isn’t going to, I mean, it’s not to behave real by me.

Just like whatever works for you and stick, you know, be consistent. Don’t be distracted by others. 

Erika Ng

Yeah. Okay. That’s helpful. And the reason I wanted to ask that is because I think a lot of behavior analysts are knowledgeable in the, in their area that they’re practicing and, you know, good at working with the client. But then there’s that whole business side of things that it just, some people do have experience maybe, or have people in their lives that can help coach them and happen many of us do not. And so that was just wonderful because it sounds like you’ve been.

Nick Green

Generally, you can think about most people who come through any traditional ABA or out you work in the industry and a lot of the parts of the business are already taken care for you. So like, there is a job already there’s a client list that’s growing. You don’t have to go out and recruit and find people to ask them for money.

And there’s no sales and marketing presentations that you have to do formerly like your rent or mortgage isn’t on the line. I mean, you’re, in a way you’re selling yourself here as marketing yourself, you know, Hey, I want this job. I just graduated from University of Florida. I got this experience.

I had a supervisor here. I, you know, was the president of the Glee club, like right, all those things like you’re selling yourself in that respect. And when it comes to actually entering the ABA autism special education school, education market, like you’re just showing up and you have a very good skill set, which is fine.

But if you want to make a pivot and turn a hard left turn you’re going to have to be familiar, comfortable, uncomfortable with all the other business processes from sales, marketing, creating relationships, following leads, all those bits that go into building a business. 

Erika Ng

And I didn’t planned to ask you about this, but do you have any good resources?

Like, were there anything, like books or other podcasts, like business-related things that you followed that were really helpful for you and applicable to your situation?

Nick Green

Let me turn behind me and let me look at my bookshelf.

This is a good one. I’m a big fan of Seth Godin. He’s a marketer. He wrote a book called This is Marketing recently. It has a daily blog that he puts out there and he makes like marketing very simple and easy to understand. It’s more of like, he calls it Permission Marketing. Have you heard that term?

Erika Ng

I have not. 

Nick Green

So Permission Marketing is people are signing up because signing up, enrolling with you because you’re providing value. They trust you, right? So for some reason, I’ve done good marketing that you found me to interview me. So there’s something about me that you like to bring me on the podcast.

And then, so like, think about when you sign up for a newsletter somewhere, like you’re giving that person permission to contact you, as opposed to spam and direct mail, right? We’re all annoyed by like, oh, we get text messages all the time from say like, Hey, I’m in the area. I want to buy your house.

Like, oh, I didn’t give you permission to do that. But when you actually have trust and value and most of my content out there is like free, valuable to people. It’s like, well, maybe not everybody will, this, some of these messages on the book, of course, like not everybody’s going to sign up for my services.

Most people don’t, so you have to be comfortable with that. And you just have to, Seth Godin’s term is to like, make a ruckus in your space. And, you know, he’s advocate for, like you have a lot of knowledge, you need to share it with people. And the more you do that, the better the world becomes.

And his catchphrases, you know, people like us do things like this. So people like us that love behavior analysis and health and fitness do things like this and that’s right, share value, you know, create different messages, show people how that’s one of my objectives was sharing so much as like, you know, you never know what posts somewhere that somebody could like and see that it could, you know, motivate somebody to change your health and fitness lifestyle.

You know, I may never meet that person, but if they do, put more good in the world, then you know, that’s why you continue to do it. 

Erika Ng

Okay. Great. Permission Marketing. 

Nick Green

That’s one book, Seth Godin. He’s the man. 

Erika Ng

And this called This is Marketing? 

Nick Green

Yep. This is Marketing – Seth Godin. 

Erika Ng

Okay, great. 

Nick Green

That’s one, then of course the, the other, you know, books, Malcolm Gladwell has great books. Adam Grant originals, there’s some of the writing content creation books.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is a good one. I’ve gotten into lately about just the creative process and sitting down and doing the work right, doing the analysis. Creating the material, creating the dashboards, creating the tools. Right. It’s all, it’s fun to celebrate like the rewards and things like that.

But if you actually don’t do the work, then there was nothing to celebrate, I guess, in a weird way. 

Erika Ng

And that was called the. 

Nick Green

The War of Art. 

Erika Ng

The War of Art. Okay. 

Okay. That’s really helpful. Yeah. I just wanted to ask about that because I don’t think it comes naturally to everybody to think about those other pieces if you’re striking it on your own. So, that was helpful. 

I also wanted to ask about collaboration. So I know that you know, you’re a one man show right now. Have you had experiences in working with say someone’s physician or a physiotherapist, or maybe you call the physical therapist? I think in the states, but other folks with your client where you were kind of able to work together to create a plan that made sense, like maybe with someone with an injury, for example, 

Nick Green

yeah, not not directly, but as a part of my constant, like indirect assessment process I can think of like two kind of stories to share where I had one client who, she had a strong history of migraines.

And we tried to do our best to figure out if there were any kind of environmental stressors or indicators that would produce fewer migraines. And so she had just through a long history, like I think she never had a clear diagnosis of why she had migraines curricula, which is unfortunate.

And so what I did was I provided, we had her track, like the number of migraines per week, and we charted them. And I used that as a, created a dashboard and a tool with my fitness intelligence platform. And just provided that as a resource that she could take to her doctor. And then of course we would, you know, discuss in our, you know, weekly and biweekly meetings, like what the doctor thought, how the migraines are going.

I think we’re, we were trying to assess if the heat got if the temperature got above like 80, 85 and the migraine frequency would increase. So it was kind of an indirect, you know, collaboration between what the doctor was saying and, you know, with what the client reported back to me. So that was one example.

And then similarly there’s a current client of mine. She’s recovering from knee surgery right as we started. So then she would report to me like she was, when she was continuing physical therapy, what the PT recommended once she was cleared to do, you know, body weight movements, squats for range of motion, things like that.

So I was pretty much, you know, waiting for the green light from her medical professionals before I recommended, you know, however her program shaped up to be like doing, you know, air squats or back squats or whatever we worked on, so. 

Erika Ng

Okay. Yeah. Those are great examples and awesome that you could support the client.

I mean, in that first example, yeah, with the doctor as well, like I’m sure that was really helpful to the doctor that you actually had hard data versus her just coming, like, I feel like it might be the temperature. You could actually demonstrate that. 

Nick Green

Yeah, it has occurred to me to a third client to, she was, she had osteopenia. That’s right. Sarcopenia is muscle loss. Osteopenia, so early bone loss. So she had bone scans done over of her bone density. So we never got to it, but the plan was to show, you know, low bone density. So like brittle bones, you can think about it like that. Then went through a strength and conditioning routine.

She was doing very good, but then things changed. She couldn’t, outside of my control, she couldn’t continue with services, but had we continued, we would have said, here are the behavioral data. And then hopefully our bone density would have increased cause that’s important as you age. So it was kind of a, again, another example of a indirect collaboration to say like, Hey, I wonder what what those professionals would think about the, in these types of graphs and analysis. 

Erika Ng

And I guess you spoke a bit about collaborating with your clients directly.

Yeah. Just working with them to really make a plan that works. I think that’s a great example as well, for those of us that do work with people with intellectual disabilities as well, that just, we should be taking all these things into account. Like, I love that you mentioned that beginning preferences of physical activity.

Like if someone doesn’t like CrossFit, then you’re not going to be suggesting CrossFit to them. So, I think that’s a really great example. 

Nick Green

Yeah. I guess the elephant in the room is the entire process of me and my style is collaborating with the client the whole time and deciding what is most important for them to target.

And of course, you know, I will as far as, you know, one of my strong suits as a consultant though, you know, I’ll be mindful, so to speak of one to ask and hit on certain kind of behavioral elements of like, hey, you we you know, we know weight loss is important and we need to at least track it every other week.

Is there something going on or you know, is there something, you know, maybe emotionally going on that you’re not tracking? Did the scale break? Did the batteries run out? Like we need to get these data and it’s important for long-term outcomes. So, what is it about maybe this target that, You know, that behavior is an occurring of tracking the data.

So, you know, can you explain to me what, how can we work together to move forward. This is a no longer a goal? Or is it no longer important? And sometimes I land on that often with clients we’ll work on a set of like seven to eight different things over the first eight months. And what we thought was important two months ago, now we’re, you know, shifted and pivoted.

Now we’re working on something else. And just getting back to the questioning that collaboration piece again is okay. Well, we talked about steps. We had something going on. We didn’t get back to it. Maybe that was a failure on my, myself as a coach. Following through on that, do we need to go back to that?

Is that important? And you know, the whole process is it, is a collaboration. 

Erika Ng

Yeah. That’s, I like that. Do you ever find through that process, you may have an idea for the individual and you might have different ideas as to why something is not happening. Like you might think, I don’t think they value this anymore as a goal, but they’re saying like, oh no, I, you know, some other reason, like if you were come to that issue?

Or I guess just if you have different perspectives on why something is not happening, like if they have a certain goal that they say is important to them, and.

Nick Green

Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to talk about, you know, maybe overtly about, you know. So, tracking my water consumption and my weight is important, but maybe I’m kind of skirting around the issue and, you know, I might make note of it like, oh, they’re not talking about it as often as they did before.

So, now maybe I will, not this session bring it up. But overall, it’s easy to kind of slip into as a behavior analyst. I’ll tend to, I don’t slip into it, but I might sometimes. I’m not perfect, but other folks may slip into like mental-isms of the explanations for their behavior. And so I just try to pause that idea whenever they pop up and then I will say, well, can you explain that to me? 

Can you unpack what’s happening? You’re like, well, you know, somebody say, I’m just not feeling it. You know, I just wouldn’t feel in the gym this week. I’ll say, okay, well, did anything new or different happened? Oh, my schedule have changed.

Okay. What happened there? Oh, the gas prices were high and I ran out, you know, I had a rash in my gas this week or something. I’m just kinda making this up, but I don’t focus so much on, like, you know, people have legitimate reasons of course, but I just try to break down how it can best help that person solve whatever environmental barrier it is.

Erika Ng

Cool. That’s great. So lots of positive collaborating with client. Very cool. 

Nick Green

Yeah. Thanks. 

Erika Ng

Last thing I wanted to ask about was the education piece. So you’ve got the coaching going on. You’ve got your social media platforms, your blog, and then also some workshops to any website, is that correct? That are client-facing versus like for BCBA to learn about how to do you know this is different, correct?

Nick Green

Yeah. So, I mean, there’ll be, yeah, different ways for myself to work with folks that are interested, you know. We can, you know, workshop different, you know, strategies and tactics for, you know, improving health and fitness behavior change. Now I have the kind of standalone, oh right, CE is kind of on-demand what we’re all used to, but then I’ve presented in organizations before for like a, you know, a lunch and learn type atmosphere, annual retreat, those types of events, right. 

So just for folks to get a little hands-on one-to-one experience of like, oh, how does this actually, you know, what does this look like in real life? So. 

Erika Ng

And do you have some of that content on your site as well? 

Nick Green

Just as, you know, there’s different like a menu, if you will, just different topics of workshops that are provided either, you know, again, at a company or at a conference, just topics there.

Erika Ng

Okay, where you would go and be a speaker. Okay. So you’ve just got a list of things that you have covered and people can hire you to do that. Okay. 

Very cool. Wow. That’s great. Well, Nick, thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to chat. It’s so interesting to just hear more about your work and how you’re applying it to health and fitness.

Nick Green

Oh, yeah. Thank you for having me on. 

Erika Ng

The comments and views expressed in this podcast do not constitute or replace contractual behavior analytic consultation, or professional advice. Views express are solely the perspective of the speaker and do not represent the views or position of their colleagues, employer, or other associates. Please seek out a behavior analyst through BACB website, if you’d like to receive further behavior consultation. 

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