Add a Daily Dose of Employee Motivation with Fitbit Health Coaching
Tessie Pikula hated running. Pikula, who was a star basketball player for Colorado’s Adams State University Grizzlies, had a coach in college who would penalize players by making them run. “I never understood how anyone enjoyed running. I just saw it as uncomfortable,” she says.
Now, all that is history. Pikula, who is a Fitbit Health Solutions customer success operations associate, runs through the streets of San Francisco frequently—and loves it. She is even thinking about competing in a ½ marathon event, once group races can safely start up again. So what changed?
Simple: She got a Fitbit Care health coach.
Pikula signed up for Fitbit Care health coaching shortly before the COVID-19 outbreak. Her experience has been positive, right from the very first communication and workout assignment. “I was very unsure at first what health coaching was all about, and where it would take me. But my coach helped reframe how I thought about fitness, especially running.”
Her health coach suggested easy workouts at first, ensuring that Pikula wouldn’t overexert herself or get frustrated. “Then the virus unfolded, stress levels rose, and we all started working from home. That’s when I really leaned on my health coach a lot,” Pikula says. “Her support and ideas kept me balanced and on top of my health.”
Owning Your Health
Fitbit Care health coaching allows people like Pikula to take ownership of their health. It provides essential human touch and uses the Fitbit app to connect coaches directly with individuals. Coaches can send health action plan reminders, messages, and notifications right through the Fitbit app. Each coach is either a certified health coach or a licensed health professional with specific areas of expertise, including knowledge in nutrition as well as behavioral and exercise science.
For Pikula, Fitbit Care health coaching has helped her improve in three important ways:
- Goal setting. Every Fitbit health coaching experience starts with an onboarding process, so the coach and participant can work together to come up with a plan of action. “My coach outlined goals for me and set up weekly, 3-month, and 6-month checkmarks,” says Pikula. The two areas she wanted to improve most were cardio fitness and flexibility, so her coach helped her set goals that would build up stamina, endurance, and strength over time. Pikula chose the 3 to 4 days during the week that she could workout, and her coach set up a schedule, including breathing exercises, customized stretches, running, and Fitbit Premium training videos.
- Motivation. Based on the participant’s goals, a health coach will check in as frequently as the participant desires, providing ongoing motivation. Pikula chats with her coach via messages delivered through the Fitbit app. “With more anxiety and stress during COVID, I may check in with her every day on my workout plan,” says Pikula. They talk about whether she is looking forward to her workouts or dreading them. “She is always open to how I am feeling. On days when I don’t want to do a particular type of workout, she would say, ‘what if we do this one instead?’”
- Accountability. The secret ingredient to a successful health coach experience is accountability. Pikula says she is always honest with her coach about whether she does the workout or not. “Accountability is a big issue for me. It’s easy to skip exercise when nobody is checking on you. For example, one morning I was supposed to go on a run, and I told her it was not going to happen today, but tomorrow will be a run day.” Her coach followed up to confirm success, as the coach can see Pikula’s workouts logged through her Versa 2. Pikula adds that when she wants to take a day off, her coach works with her rather than against her–which is exactly what she needs to get up and workout the next day. “She is the support I need, when I need it.”
With the help of her coach, Pikula has already set a personal best. She notes that when she first started running, she could run/walk for only about a mile using intervals. Recently, she ran 7 miles straight at a pace of 8:43 per mile. The health coach has also reignited Pikula’s competitive instincts, as she looks forward to the workplace group challenges now and organizes (and my money is on wins!) Weekend Warrior challenges with her family. She adds, “I still can’t believe I’m into running. But I give all the credit to having a health coach who helped me find the tools I needed to get fit again.”