Run Thrive Survive

What role does behavior analysis play in health and fitness?

Nick Green is the owner of Behaviorfit, a business focused in helping people improve their health and fitness through the means of behavior analysis! 

Ciara (CC): Nick, what is behavior analysis and how does it differ from the other types of psychology?

Nick Green (NG): We’re looking at behavior being a function of. The environment and what that environment includes. We know of like genetic factors, what we’re made of, or I’m a human, so I’m going to do human like things. What’s happening now or at the current context. I think the kind of the active ingredient then too is like what somebody learning history is and looking at all three of those pieces to look at how do those environmental factors. Really kind of predict what we’ll do next.

The famous saying best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. So we look at that, that those environmental pieces to help determine what somebody will or what they want to do.

CC: What does behavior analysis have to do with fitness?

NG: I’m going to rely a lot on database decision-making and objective measures of behavior and has, specifically with health and fitness. We have a lot of available data as far as timing. You’re a runner, so you have those data available.

What barriers may be in your way and what are the, what are the behavioral indicators that we need to make sure that are in line? And then how do we continually, again, I’m going to be a broken record about these probably multiple times throughout the podcast, is that you always need to be looking at the data because that’s going to be the scientific, pragmatic approach that I take that keeps me accountable as a coach.

CC: If people are getting apprehensive about the data, how do you explain the data to them in a way that they can understand it, to help apply to their own lives?

NG: Using my soft skills we don’t push the issue but know it will become important. Eventually it’ll be kind of a necessary data point that we need to collect, but you just must be attentive to.

For example, what is it about taking that data point, why is it a big deal? We need to look at the history of all the times it’s somebody had a bad experience on a scale if we’re still using that as an example. All you must do is like step on a piece of metal and the write down a number, but clearly there’s been some type of learning history there that you want to be sensitive to. You just must put on your consulting, coaching hat and, and be attentive to those kinds of those other kinds of subjective reports, which are also data points that you need to consider when helping people work through those kinds of aversive aspects of some data.

CC: And now they’re going back to the workplace. What do you, what kind of problem do you see posing for a lot of employees or maybe even employers going into the health fitness of their employees?

NG: In general, this is a public health announcement, we do know that too much sitting or sedentary behavior is an independent health risk factor for just preventable diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes which just means that even if you exercise you sit a lot all day, the exercise isn’t necessarily protective against sitting all day.

So, with those in mind we think about what are the environmental challenges that you just have outside of any pandemic that’s happening now. Is it that you have a desk job, or you work from home, you are often sedentary in front of the computer for? Is it all day or some of the day? Or looking at how you break up your day with breaks it too long

Looking at everything through a behavioral lens, what are the contingencies that somebody is under while working in general? No matter if you are studying or whether you’re sitting or standing that’s something that’s a part of your day.

So, you have a lot of inactivity that’s programmed into your day because of those environmental arrangements. So that’s how, you know, another example of how I, as a behavior analyst would look at somebody. I would look at the workday and how that affects your health and fitness outcomes as opposed to labeling somebody “they’re just lazy.” 

CC: What are some things that employers could do for their employees, at least at the environment?

NG: I’d say that the biggest piece is giving employees the support option, and the flexibility to build fitness into their workday. Just general activity breaks. Some big corporations have health and wellness programs, where there’s a whole team that provides wellness initiatives and step challenges. They have in-house gyms and yoga teams.

I think the biggest thing is just being very vocal and open about that you support people’s options for them to meet their health and wellness needs. 

CC: How do you know what data to look at?

NG: That’s usually my sweet spot of asking what does success look like for you? Is it running five miles a week? Okay. How do we get to how many do we need to do first? How many data points do we have about that mileage right now? That’s a big part of coaching and consulting nowadays needs to consider. How do we make sense of the data that are available?

That’s part one, so part two here is if we have all this data, how do you work with somebody to make sense of it? And then the next question is what’s going to be the amount of data that helps you maintain your progress for? The rest of your life, ultimately. 

Ultimately, people must take their own data and monitor their own activities to be successful.

Find more about Nick Green at or @behaviorfit on social media

For a detailed podcast on the topic, make sure to subscribe to us at Apple Music and Spotify @RunThriveSurvive by Ciara Carter. I offer coaching services too and you can reach out to me at or

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