Across the six principles of Complete Health, I believe Health Intelligence is the most important in truly developing resilient health.

At the core of our ability to develop our health lies control and learning. With more people looking to take agency over their health & fitness, health intelligence will become a desirable characteristic of the health marketplace as consumers seek answers that stick.

What Is Health Intelligence?

I speak a lot about being on a health journey that is becoming more difficult to maintain. This is defined by every action we take and every experience we go through. While that can sound overwhelming, the idea of developing your health intelligence is designed to simplify your decisions and instil confidence that ultimately improves your health with control and consistency.

Health intelligence acts as your guiding principle to make this journey as easy as possible. The idea of making health easy is an appealing prospect to anyone and I will go on to explain in this piece why building health intelligence into your business strategy will be a defining aspect of your service given the impact it will have on each member of your community.

Health intelligence gives you more control over your own body. It helps you create solutions to problems at the root cause and prevent them from escalating. It comes from experience and perspective knowledge acquired as you contextualise life experiences, moments and challenges and become better at making decisions that positively influence the dynamic structure of your health. Each piece of health intelligence is drawn from a lesson your body learns either passively or intentionally. It is your internal logic, or health compass, which gives you greater direction to make the best decision for your health whether you have minutes, seconds or milliseconds to decide.

Intelligence is defined as ‘the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills’, and is perhaps the worlds most desirable trait. Ask anyone what the most important thing in life is and they’ll land on health and the health of their family. We therefore all prioritise health intelligence as a hugely valuable component of navigating life, as its application improves our physical, nutritional, social and mental health principles combined.

Here’s a practical example — 

You fall out with your partner (social) — you get very emotional (mental) — you overindulge on unhealthy food (nutritional) — 
The chain can stop here, but it can keep going and get worse compounding one bad trigger into a spiral of bad actions.

Health intelligence is the act of seeing each action as it happens. Catch yourself arguing early and you seek to find a calmer approach and solution. If you miss that then you get emotional, but you act and manage your emotions effectively. Miss that and you go for the unhealthy food, but instead release your emotions in a different, more healthy way (go for a walk).

You try and catch yourself at the trigger, but that doesn’t always work. So catching yourself at every point of regression at least gives the internal choice to move back towards a healthier outcome. While this seems simple it requires an intentional mindset of action towards it in difficult situations. If you identify your experiences, however basic or challenging, as health experiences you have the capacity to make a positive action.

Micro And Macro

Further observing. Health intelligence is saying —  I haven’t had my protein target today, I haven’t had enough fibre, I’m not getting any omega 3. It’s saying my mobility hasn’t improved and now my tight hamstrings are causing me lower back pain. It’s saying I’m not giving enough priority to my social life which is making me frustrated with my family. It’s saying I can open up about my stress because I know I can find a safe space and shape a conversation with someone who can listen. We are learning triggers, causes and external factors of all kinds that influence our health and behaviours and we need to better manage each situation.

It is equally the ability to identify why a diet isn’t working or the observation that yo-yo dieting has been an ongoing problem. It’s seeing that you’re becoming anxious in certain situations more often. Or you’re feeling overwhelmed in situations you previously felt comfortable in. This shows the health intelligence is relevant on both the micro and macro scale.

This concept was developed in an attempt to fully understand how we tie together all the complex pieces of our health in a way that makes us feel in control. We fall off our health journey at the point where we lose control. If the scale doesn’t show the desired weight, our stress levels exceed the point of management, a joints inflammation becomes unbearable. These are common points where we lose control and accept defeat, with many never rising to a baseline point of ‘good health’ which often results in further health problems and compounded issues. Nobody is born obese, anorexic, depressed or anxious— these are just some of the results of succumbing to our inability to manage our health journey. Therefore, being able to manage problems with our health and having a central point within us that guides our decision making is vital.

In my attempt to simplify this I want you to imagine your health intelligence as a yellow dot sat right next to your heart. By giving it a physical embodiment it has an internal representation of your health and not something that always seems complicated and elusive. Connected to your brain, heart and gut you know that these internal mechanisms will guide you down the best path. I think sending this same message to your members will empower them to understand their health and always remain in control. It is then followed by actionable development of their health intelligence through more immersive experiences.

Health Intelligence Experiences

90% of what goes in through our senses never lands as long term memory. This is chiefly because we don’t take action to bank the information in our memory. If you’re a coach reading this how many times have you given a person the same piece of advice? If we zoom out — how many times do we need to tell people that a calorie deficit is how weight-loss occurs, or consistent sleep times creates better energy during the day. People can remember Friends quotes from 2005, but they have no idea about the fundamentals of their health. This is where desire has to meet application.

Now scale this up. What makes the best speakers so great, aside from the oratory or personality, is they deliver a message the sticks with everyone listening. This is what each experience needs to do for every person taking your class or session. Get the information to stick so it can be personalised to them and turned from emerging behaviour to habit. The information is banked and ready for use. Should they engage in that argument with their partner, this time they remember their breath count and calm down. Followed by implementing their learned empathy to defuse. Don’t quite get that trigger, they go away and evaluate their actions and emotions and reengage in a better mindset.

Health intelligence isn’t just an adjustment in squat technique, its application is relevant across every component of health. The best experiences will make learning, personalisation and application central to the way the experience is delivered, irrespective of the platform (online class, workshop etc) and duration.

How Do You Make Health Intelligence A Part Of Your Platform?

Culture

Central to your success is a sense of direction and purpose with your training and coaching principles. By making learning and development through health intelligence a core component of your culture members will feed off this, often subconsciously, as you go on to integrate practical lessons into your experiences.

The Experience

For every class, session, workshop or event, identify the outcome of the experience and then work to ensure each member understands the steps taken towards the outcome.

Coaches need to take their understanding, however complex, and pull it back to the first principles which need to be understood before the personalisation and adaptability are layered on top. You want to reinforce ‘being in’ over ‘doing’ experiences. Simply doing something doesn’t apply the right level of engagement to influence learning and development. For each experience think about how you can better immerse your members and create understanding and enjoyment that makes the experience stick. Talk openly about the importance of understanding the body and being able to remain in control through greater perspective.

Learning To Learn

Learning is a superpower. Making learning to learn a hyperpower? The majority of us stop learning before we are a quarter of the way through our lives and then ride the wave of life and experiences to define our course. I believe that a constant desire to continue learning in a way that centres on the ability to learn what we are passionate about, not just specialist content, can develop each person's health further.

We only learn when we are engaged and inspired and these components are central to a successful health & fitness service. Just as we get excited when we learn complex movements, develop our run technique to improve our best time or hit a new squat PB through hours of iteration, we can use these aspects of learning to promote other forms of learning to improve our health outcomes.

Empowering members to develop helpful knowledge is one of the most inspiring components that sets health & fitness businesses apart. It can be as simple as helping members understand their caloric intake and protein requirements which, once understood, becomes a vital piece of their health journey — that you taught them!

Do not underestimate the power of empowered learning and development. I’ve seen the impact an intentional learning strategy has had on a gyms ability to create compounding successful outcomes that ensure health success with a smile on each members face.

Goals Setting

The top two answers of being in the gym or fitness development are — ‘I want to lose weight’ and ‘I want to gain muscle’. Goals are important to achieving results, but misaligned goals can take you in the wrong direction or not solve the real problem that lies beneath face value.

Supporting members in setting goals across a range of health and lifestyle ambitions has the potential to give them the realisation they need to set aspirational milestones in their training and lifestyle activities. The stronger these goals the more likely they show consistency and improvement.

Community Dynamics — The Collective Brain

Another case for building a high-quality community within your business is the idea of a collective brain. The health intelligence of many is better than that of the few. It also goes the other way — too many voices (social media) has the potential to cloud judgement and overwhelm members. Having a community of like-minded people bouncing ideas off each other and sharing experiences and advice makes peer-to-peer support hugely impactful.

Set up your community so it has an evergreen dynamic. Make sure the best discussions and content pieces are easily accessible if some of your members miss it or want to view it again to refresh their memory. Let the easily expiable information die and consolidate all the great conversations and posts that inspire action and consistency.


What Are The Business Benefits?

Advanced Customer Success — the pivotal metric which sits above all business KPI is how successful are your customers in achieving goals and staying consistent. Health intelligence equips your members with a more advanced relationship to their health and creates a stronger connection to your coaching and brand.

Value Delivery — Whatever your business model (monthly subscription, pay-per-session etc) the more experiences you provide and value derived the higher price you can charge. This is both scalable and encourages secondary effects like improved CLV and referrals.

Retention — This builds the relationship you have with your members through some really core elements. You are enhancing trust. You are empowering. You are inspiring.

All this plays an important role in their decision to remain on their health journey and not disconnect.

So even if they put some weight on over a stressful month, or real-world factors make them go backwards, they have a much deeper connection to you and your space which will ensure they go to you to climb back up.

Summary

To the health, fitness and wellness industry I feel this concept is one of the most important factors in bringing more people into the industry. The way I prefer to stage that is it answers one of the core questions of ‘how do we make health more accessible and desirable to more people?’. Having more people invested in their health journey through a fundamental point of the importance of their health intelligence sets a framework for growth not yet seen in the industry. Building this connection to health as a journey provides a relatable point of development. Behind the pursuit for aesthetics, there is a desire to be healthy. And that connection is vital.


Do you provide health intelligence support? I want to hear more about your story and experiences.