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Social Media Fitness – Base Building

Social Media Fitness – Base Building

I recently decided to take a more scientific approach to my fitness. I have been active in sports since I could chase a ball, or compete against anyone…at anything…at anytime :). However, I’m getting old enough that I know I need to “change it up” in order to stay healthy and injury-free. I plan on enjoying an active lifestyle for decades to come, and old rules like calories in/calories out and defunct training methods like “three sets of five, then test your max every couple of months” may be doing more harm than good.
Enter Zone Training! Using assessments like Lifetime Fitness’ CardioPoint, you can pinpoint your heart rate zones. These zones determine when your body is

  • Preparing to workout
  • Burning the “right calories” (carb/fat calories versus sugars)
  • Building endurance
  • Increasing cardiac performance (more work at a lower heart rate)
  • Developing more speed and power

My CardioPoint made two discoveries: (1) I have excellent fitness for a guy off the street, and (2) my calorie burning efficiency and VO2 Max – pardon the technical jargon – SUCK! This means that I have trained my body to perform at a high level for a recreational athlete, but it becomes an act of will and perseverance to maintain that level as both age and injuries encroach. It is not sustainable because I’ve built a high peak without building the corresponding base/foundation.

This fitness “paradox” prompted me to write a 5-part series on how our cardiovascular fitness is analogous with our social media fitness. This blog post is the first part in that series: Zone 1 – Active Recovery.

Zone 1 is called Active Recovery, and training in this zone is the beginning of “Base Building”. My cardio-trainer equated the process to building a house. Before building a roof (peak) for a house, you have to set the foundation (base). Before you can pour the foundation, you have to buy the materials. In social media, I define this zone as Zone 1 – Research / Strategy. Now, let’s complete the analogy by discussing the Objectives, Application and “Feeling” of this zone in regards to both fitness and social media.


Fitness Prepare body for exercise, create blood flow and recover after bouts of intense training
Social Media Before you dive off on social media because you “have to be there because your competitors are”, determine if it is right for your business, your culture and your level of commitment to support consistent engagement and consistent messaging. If you just take off at full-speed, with no sense of direction or understanding the level of effort, you run a higher risk of injuring your brand versus making it stronger. In regards to “recovery”, it is important to frequently revisit this stage of your base building as you start receiving feedback from both metrics and engagement.


Fitness Warm up and recover or rehabilitate muscles
Social Media Not only is it time to define measurable goals in this zone, you should also research available social media channels, best practices and case studies. Books like Lon Safko’s Social Media Bible provide excellent primers for the different social media channels. And both Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard and No Bullshit Social Media by Jason Falls/Erik Decker do a great job explaining the necessity of real metrics, cultural adoption and roles in the business, and the importance of social media policies.


Fitness Core temperature begins to rise
Social Media Your social media efforts are now ready to begin. There will be a natural excitement accompanied by unrealistic expectations for this “free social media stuff” to make your company the World Leader in <<blank>>. Temper those expectations early and often while still providing measurable results to encourage further investment in this “social media exercise”. Some goals will be realized immediately – like a steady increase in fans/followers/friends/likes. Seeing return on investment regarding incremental revenue increases, or reduction in expenses as it relates to headcount, will take much longer to realize. Social media focuses on engagement, relationship building, and establishing trust over time. Once people trust you, then they may purchase from you or advocate for you. Any attempts to “sprint out of the gate” with broadcast/interruptive advertising will injure your brand before you hit your stride.
  • Have you ever done a fitness assessment like a CardioPoint or adopted a Zone Training program? 
  • Are you ready to join me in this Zone Training approach to Social Media Fitness? 
  • Did you know that both Fitness and Social Media Zone Training require good monitoring? I use a product called DigiFit for my fitness zone training, and I encourage you to review Mantis Pulse Analytics for social media monitoring.
  • Do you have a guess on my social media parallel to Zone 2 – Aerobic Development?

I look forward to your comments as we work through this series. As always, I appreciate all social sharing that encourages the discussion of these ideas.

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and grandsons! My career has blessed me to the point I was able to start a new consultancy in 2018: Analytic Integrity. I look to provide analytic experience, and business integrity, to an Analytics world while helping data-driven organizations mature. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin.

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  1. Wow, Brian, this couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! I can’t wait to follow this series! I am very into fitness, as you are, and just learning about “social media fitness” as I’m almost a year into my SM journey. Regarding the former, I am doing work with Seattle Performance Medicine, working with Emily Cooper, MD, (check out her blog–they work with ultra-athletes–hardly me!) who does research on hormones and obesity. You are so correct that calories in/calories out is outdated and I am learning about how my genetic history of morbid obesity, hormonal structure, current fitness level, and half marathon training performance all work in symphony. It’s a new approach that I never, ever thought possible–going at it from a blood level–so different than any conventional dieting. We’ll see how it goes!

    The social media part is a slow ember, but I have more work to do. I want to start blogging more (with brevity–thank you!), working toward even more engagement on Twitter, and I’d like to try Vlogging with smaller snips for college students. This is all intertwined with my college job and my intense preparation (editing) for my book release in a few months. I really feel like I have so much to learn here, too.

    I love these correlations. This couldn’t be more timely for me. Thank you! Off to share now. Ellen

    • Wonderful news regarding your new scientific approach to fitness, Ellen. Zone Training is definitely a step-up from Old School. When you take it that additional step, and do the blood work to mark tendencies/hereditary traits/etc, then that really helps you fine-tune for what your body needs specifically. Keep us posted on your progress. I know I’ve enjoyed sharing a little on the topic with our Twitter exchanges.

      Hah, you keep getting me on the brevity thing ;). Sorry. I just know I’ve enjoyed your blogs, and I want the readers to stay engaged throughout, so they don’t miss any of the good stuff! You can see my own blogs are not noted for their brevity. As for Vlogs, they say keep them 1-3 minutes, yet mine frequently go 5-7 minutes.

      And I am excited for you regarding your book. Just from our Twitter exchanges, I know you’ve put a lot of heart and effort into this great achievement.

      Thanks for stopping by, Ellen.

  2. I’d love to keep exchanging on the fitness stuff. Last month, in my 1st visit with Dr. Cooper, she told me it was time to start eating and time to stop dieting in order to raise my leptin/cortisol levels. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. The last doc (head non-surgical weight management of one of our most trusted medical conglomerates here) who had been helping me manage weight stabilization wanted me to just keep reducing my calories–like down to 1100/day–and with my intense physical regimen, I was just miserable–and I gained 8 lbs! Ugh! I’m looking forward to your progress, too. I’m inspired by your fitness reports of late! Ellen

    • Well, I didn’t even post my last couple workouts from yesterday – had less than 400 calories, and I’m used to burning 1,200+. I was embarrassed ;(. However, that apparently has always been my problem. I go at it hard, burn the calories, and I’m only burning the carbs/sugar. You have to keep it lower impact to burn the slower-to-burn fat calories. And that will be 1/2 of my next blog post…

      Yes, we heard somebody tried to live on a 500 calorie diet! Physicians are irresponsible if they are not keeping up with the latest findings regarding fitness, diet, and de-bunking the calories in/calories out myth. It sounds like you found a good physician, Ellen. Keep it up, and I bet you see progress this time around!

  3. It all goes to shit when you pass fifty, BV…trust me and it is harder than ever! Not to do the exercise as I still do crazy things on skis, but to manage our weight. I eat half of what I used to and I’m still a bowling ball overweight! I used to eat a half-carton of Hagaan-Daz frozen yogurt every night. I can’t remember the last time I had their wonderful coffee frozen dessert! But, I still ski like a banchee – but not all day like I used to – and that is just fine.

    • I’ve seen the video, Bruce – you are doing just well my friend, and I haven’t seen the bowling ball effect.

      I’m cutting out the sugars, and doing the zone training. Well, there were those two Oreo balls tonight, but I gotta finish off my Birthday gift!


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