Last Updated on January 15, 2018 by Michael Brockbank
The Internet is full of information for the best diet plans or the most effective workout routines. However, a case study is often the best way to find what will work for you. This is because everyone is different, and not all routines and diets will work the same across the board.
Everyone has a unique physiology with specific needs. Whether it’s diet or exercise, people often modify set plans to meet their own demands. For instance, someone allergic to nuts would alter a menu item if a recipe called for them.
What is a Case Study?
A case study is essentially a record of research regarding a specific person, group or situation over a set amount of time. In this instance, it is you. It’s when you collect information to determine if a certain process is effective for yourself or not.
Why are case studies important? Because like I said earlier, everyone is different. For example, I can say that 34% of kids eat from a drive-through window every day. But that doesn’t mean all kids do.
Case studies help people get into the root of information, especially in regards to themselves.
How to Do a Case Study on Yourself
You don’t need a college degree or have a scientific background to do a case study. In fact, you probably already use something similar today. For example, do you eat foods you’re allergic to? Probably not. In this instance, the information you have determines how you stay away from certain edibles.
I stay away from Purex laundry detergent as I am highly allergic to the chemicals used. I also cannot wear most metals as it literally starts to burn the skin off of me. In a way, these are all case studies.
What if you wanted to take it a step further? Perhaps you want more specific results. In this case, you’ll need to put a bit more effort into monitoring and recording your process.
First, you’ll need to set the parameters of your case study. I suggest setting something up you have absolute control over. It’ll reduce the chances of the data being tainted. A single day of veering off course could skew the results.
Let’s use one I am currently doing for myself and this website as an example:
- Determine a Purpose
In my case study, I am looking to see if playing a certain Xbox Kinect game while doing a net 600 calorie diet for a week will help me lose weight.
- Set a Timeframe
The study I am going to do is over the span of a week. It’s not very long, I know. But I plan on changing games every seven days.
- Decide on Specific Steps to Take
Each day will be driven by planned activities and eating habits. In this case, it’s all about keeping under 600 calories and playing the Kinect twice per day.
- Have Follow Through
Perhaps one of the most important parts of a personal case study is maintaining it. Essentially, you’re bound by the honor system for yourself. There’s nothing really riding on a fitness study, so you might be tempted to slack. It’s vital you do not.
- Record the Information
Recording data is the most important part. It’s this information that will help you determine if a workout routine or diet plan is effective. In my instance,
I am recording calorie burn from my Fitbit and start-to-finish weight.
It’s not as difficult as some might think. Like I said, you probably use personal case study information every day regarding your life choices. This is merely a way to collect empirical data to show the results of health and fitness choices.
How much weight can I lose in 7 days while playing an Xbox Kinect game and sticking to a net 600 calorie diet? The process above will give me the answer.
Being Honest With Yourself
The hardest part about doing a study on yourself is being honest. It’ll be easy to forgo the process for a day and just go off the data you’ve already collected.
Unfortunately, this will skew the results.
For example, I was two days away from completing my own case study when I decided to jump off the wagon and pig out on Saturday and Sunday. This tainted the results and I only lost two pounds over the seven days. So, now I have to do it again to determine more accurate results.
When you cheat on diets or exercise, you’re only hurting yourself. If you want to know precisely what’s going on with your body, you need to stick to your plan.
Crunching the Numbers
Depending on the study, there’s often a great deal of math involved. Personally, I like data and running numbers regarding my performance. Then again, I’m a bit of a geek…especially when it comes to spreadsheet formulas.
You don’t need to go all “scientific” when doing a case study, though. You could do something as simple as finding out how much weight you can lose when sticking with a specific diet.
However, results are better with the more information you collect. For example, I could generalize weight loss while using the Xbox Kinect. But I know each game has a different level of physical activity. This means not all games are created equal, and I would like to know which are the most effective.
You can break down just about any health and fitness case study for precision. It’s all a matter of how deep you want to dig into results.
What Tools Should You Use?
The tools you use will be determined by what you want to do. In most of my health and fitness studies, I use MyFitnessPal and Fitbit to collect data on myself. In all cases, though, I use a spreadsheet to save those numbers and make comparisons. Libre Office is free and available for most computer systems for this purpose.
The point is you don’t need a lot of fancy devices if you want to do a simple case study. Even simply taking measurements of your arms, legs and waist can be an effective method of weight loss when trying a new diet.
Personally, I tend to use as much as I logically can to create data. The more elements I can compare, the more precise the results.
Then again, I love numbers and collecting data. Not everyone does.
Use what makes sense to you.
Real Data According to You
The biggest reason why I prefer to do case studies regarding health and fitness is because it shows me the results according to my own physiology. I don’t assume I will have the same experience when it comes to diets and exercise. I let personal statistics show me.
And that’s the biggest point of this entire article. It’s all about finding what works for you, not your best friend.
Discovering What Works Best for You
Motivation, mentality, physique, stamina and more all play a part in whether an activity or diet plan is going to help you. There are simply too many variables to say with 100% certainty that you’ll have the same experience as someone else.
A cast study on yourself will show you if something is worth your time to continue.
Making Changes in Future Attempts
Don’t be afraid to mix it up in future attempts. For instance, I am playing Avengers: Battle for Earth on the Kinect this week. Next week, it’ll be a completely different game. I may decide to not use weighted gloves next time around.
Try the Progresso Soup diet this month and then try something new the next. You won’t know what will be the most effective for your health without trial and error.
You may just find something that works better for your lifestyle.
Success is Determined By Effort
When getting results for a personal health and fitness case study, it’s all about effort. You need to keep focused throughout the instance for the best results.
For example, I am kicking myself in the butt for screwing up over the weekend. But I want accurate results, so I will try again.
How serious are you when it comes to your own health and fitness?