The Scale Isn't Telling You The Full Truth, Trust Your Smartphone Instead

Episode 20 January 13, 2021 00:34:57
The Scale Isn't Telling You The Full Truth, Trust Your Smartphone Instead
Radio Cade
The Scale Isn't Telling You The Full Truth, Trust Your Smartphone Instead
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Hosted By

 Richard Miles James Di Virgilio

Show Notes

Everyday people around the world step on to a scale to see what they weigh, but is this really the most effective tool for measuring our health? Michael Fedewa and Mike Esco, lifelong health and fitness researchers, co-founders of MADE Health and Fitness, and Cade Prize finalists tell us why cutting edge technology on our smartphones may be the best tool for managing our health. By simply downloading an app and taking a photo we can gain an accurate assessment of our health, body fat % included,  that is as accurate as what we could get from a high-tech lab.

 

TRANSCRIPT:

 

Speaker 1:

Inventors and their inventions. Welcome to radio Cade and podcast from the cave museum for creativity and invention in Gainesville, Florida, the museum is named after James Robert Cade, who invented Gatorade in 1965. My name is Richard Miles. We'll introduce you to inventors and the things that motivate them, we'll learn about their personal stories, how their inventions work and how their ideas get from the laboratory to the marketplace.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to radio Cade . I'm your host, James de Virgilio. And here's something for you to think about as you're beginning to listen to this podcast, why are you measuring weight loss? Should you even measure weight loss when you got on the scale this morning, this week, last week, a month ago, is that number relevant? And is it telling you what you want to know about your health? My guests today, both co-founders of the made health and fitness app, Michael FITO and Mike ESCO, joining the program to tell us about maybe why we're not reading our scale correctly, Michael and Mike, welcome to the show. Thanks for being with us. Thank you for having us . All right . So you told me pre-show that we're going to call Michael FITA his last name, and then we're going to call Mike ESCO to keep things simple for our listeners. So we have FITO and ESCO and de Virgilio three last names that are great for a podcast. Let's start talking about this then right away, weight loss, something that obviously is very, very important, perhaps even more important in light of COVID now, but here we are teasing out the beginning saying maybe your scale, isn't the primary thing you should be using to measure whether or not you are getting more or less healthy. That's right. I'm curious. Tell me why. That's the case. That's the primary way in which people will evaluate progress on a weight loss program? I mean, after all, they want to lose weight, but the question becomes, where is that weight loss coming from? We have fat mass, which is the culprit of poor health. And then we have lean mass with muscle involved in that. And we're just based in our progress on weight loss in general, there's no way of really knowing how much fat mass was lost versus fat free mass or muscle mass as lost research shows that through most weight loss programs, there is muscle that is lost through that. And then the question becomes how much. So imagine we're starting out and someone says to you, I'd like to lose some weight. I'm just going to eat less calories or exercise more. And we could spend hours discussing that in a podcast, but I want to lose more weight. Of course the response would be, well, you really are saying you want to lose fat and you want to maintain your muscle and what you are suggesting. And I think science is definitively telling us is that if I lose 10 pounds, what matters to me is where did those pounds come from, right? How much was fat and how much was muscle and the scale is not going to tell me that. Correct? Yeah, you're absolutely right. You know, in our research we have pretty good evidence. We kind of use a three quarters rule. So if you a pound of weight,

Speaker 3:

Most of that is coming off as fat mass. And it's probably about 75%, about 25% ish somewhere around that is going to be fat free mass. And so some of that weight is going to be muscle, but that also depends on how early you are in your weight loss program in the earlier weeks, or whether you kind of progressed into the later months. It depends on if you're a highly trained athlete or if you're just kind of a general weekend warrior like ESCO and I are so that 75% rule that doesn't always hold true. And so I think with our app, we're trying to shift the focus away from how much weight can I lose and smaller and skinnier is always better. We would actually like to completely shift the focus and say, well , stop actually tracking weight loss. What if we just walked away from that and said like, how much muscle can I add or how much stronger it can we get you and , and actually focus on building stronger and healthier bodies rather than just trying to be smaller and thinner.

Speaker 2:

And that works both ways. As you mentioned, if I want to gain 10 pounds and I say, I'd like to gain as much of that as muscle. And all I use is a scale. Again, I have no way to see how much is muscle and how much is fat. So this brings us to the point now where if you're a listener and you've done anything like this, you're aware of measuring body fat. You're thinking, well, wait a minute, there's calipers out there. If you're near a university or you've been a high level athlete, you've probably sat in the egg, so to speak, potentially you've gone under water, right? All these different ways to manage your body fat. So why do we need something else?

Speaker 3:

So the majority of those techniques, and there's a lot of techniques out there, there are laboratory techniques that we have that we do research with. And those are very sophisticated and they're very accurate. But the problem with those is they're limited to laboratory settings and they're costly. They require somebody that knows how to run that equipment, to perform the measures. And then there are field tools like skinfold calipers or the handheld or the specialized bioimpedance scales or whatnot. And those have a cost associated with it as well. And usually those are found in gym settings. They oftentimes can carry a range of air that's pretty wide too. And a person that would want to have those measurements performed would need to go into a fitness facility or a clinical facility or a laboratory, and have someone else perform that measure the system that we have takes that away, puts the power, so to speak in the user's hands, where they do not have to have a professional perform the measure, which is for a lot of people is pretty intimidating to have someone pinch their body part, right, or perform a measure where they're required to know what their body weight is. And that's been private and personal information for people. And that can pose as a barrier for them getting assessed and therefore getting going on an appropriate weight loss or exercise or lifestyle program.

Speaker 2:

Here's something that that's obviously interesting if you're an elite athlete or if you're me and you happen to get to live in a university town and think that you were an elite athlete, even though you really weren't, you found a way to get yourself into the bod pod as they called it right. Or the egg. And I had used calipers my whole life. I love nutrition. I love fitness. And I thought, here's my body fat level. And I go in there and it was at least three percentage points higher than what I had ever measured. And it was really interesting because as you mentioned, they also told me all about how they have to fine tune that machine for really each athlete. Like every person is different. You can't just fire it up for one person and fire it up for someone else. You get a different result. At the time they told the story of Tim Tebow, he's a different calculation requirement. Then one of the cornerbacks is, and if you put the same calculations in there, you get wildly different and actually inaccurate results. So it's a complicated thing. It's really important. But when I saw what you did, first of all, it seems like a no brainer . It seems incredible. But how were you able to put something onto an app that can be accurate? It seems like if it's so difficult to get the bod pod to work, which is this really expensive, complicated piece of machinery, how can my cell phone accurately tell me what my body fat percentages ,

Speaker 4:

That's actually a good point. So when we start comparing across different methods, there's a few percentage points different. When we go from skinfolds to underwater, weighing to the bod pod, to bioimpedance to DEXA. So we started cycling through, and if we're trying to track changes, we want to make sure that the person is being measured with the same technique. Every time we can't just use those interchangeably and assume that one measure taken on one machine is going to be the same as something we would get from a different method. So we started looking at that and some of the assumptions that you mentioned, people are all different. And so there's changes in muscle mass that come naturally, as we age there's changes in body fat, that happened because of the normal aging process there's differences between men and women and muscle mass and fat mass there's differences in bone density and the density of fat free mass. Maybe if we look at different racial and ethnic groups and children versus adolescents. And so these are all things that ASCO and I deal with almost on a daily basis, as part of our research is trying to figure out how to more accurately measure what someone has made of accounting for all these external factors. We work a lot with underwater weighing or with the egg, like the bod pod, like you mentioned. And we figured out that we can measure how big someone is based on the amount of space that they take up in a picture. So just like the underwater weighing tank is measuring fluid displacement or water displacement, and the bod pod is measuring air displacement. We figured out that we could actually measure somebody's size or body volume with about 99.8% accuracy from a picture just by looking at how many pixels they displaced or how much space they take up in the image. And from there, we can take that volume measure and estimate density based on how heavy they are, and then convert that to fat, using some pretty standard lab techniques that we have. And then boom, we get numbers that are right in line with what we would get with the egg or with the bod pod or with underwater weighing or skin folds. And the data that it was all based off of at the sample that we had collected were adults 18 up into their eighties. We had a pretty good representation of men and women. We had different race and ethnic groups. And so we had data that we had collected that was pretty representative of the general population. We had a couple athletes in there. And so we knew that we were onto something and we've kind of refined the algorithm a few times to account for differences in age and sex and race and fitness level. And I think we actually have a product that we can use it in a research setting to get comparable values to what we get from our lab based techniques. But the benefit like you kind of already mentioned is that it's portable and it does exist on a smartphone. And the measurements that we can get are so quick and so accurate that a coach could take this and they could scan their entire team one right after another boom, boom, boom, boom. And you could go through the entire basketball team or the entire football team in minutes where it would take hours, days or weeks to go through an entire series of data collection on a big athletics team like that.

Speaker 2:

That's obviously tremendously exciting. So it sounds to me like we obviously have proof of concept. Has there been any challenge in the industry to say, Hey, I don't really think that's going to work, or there's an issue with their methodology or so far proof of concept is sound no challenges, no issues.

Speaker 3:

We're so new to this. I mean, our product has just been released and the feedback we received from the research community that we're acquainted with and professional community had been positive. I'm sure that there are going to be some challenges along the way. But the good thing about the creators of this device are also the ones that are involved in the lab and doing research. And we're going to work continuously to make our processes even more accurate. There are a few areas in which we're planning to do the research in already and continue to advance our process. I wanted to mention too, that one of the reasons why some of those techniques that you mentioned have to be modified to count for a certain individual or different individuals is because body composition itself and what optimal body composition may be. That's individualized as well. In other words, what's optimal for me is not what's optimal for everyone else. And sometimes it's with a mentality of the drive for thinness. We get this stall that, well, everyone should be this certain body weight or this certain size or this certain look, that's not necessarily the case. It's individualized. And now we have this device that we've created will given the ability for people to measure and take the personal measures to where they better understand what their body composition is and they can make the right decisions.

Speaker 4:

Actually, James, you mentioned something about the skepticism that we've gotten from the industry or from the potential users that we're trying to hook up with. And I appreciate the skepticism. If somebody came and told me that you could measure how much muscle I had from a picture, I think that I would be pretty doubtful that that was actually possible to , and some of the people who doubted that it was even possible. I think it actually turned into some of our bigger advocates because we have the data and we've gone and talked to different gyms and different fitness centers on a couple of universities. And we've had people come in and go, yeah, man, I almost actually ignored your email when you contacted us about partnering and using the app or our fitness assessments, but then downloaded it. And sure enough, the number that came back with the app was just about where I thought I was. And it's just about what we got from our bioimpedance device that we already have. And so, yeah, I believe that. And one of the things that we do too, we have our research conference abstracts that we send right along with our emails and we posted them all on social media. So people can have the data. We've got our research articles out there to Apple, believe it or not to give them kind of a shout out for the app store when we submitted everything to the app store so that it could go live and people could start downloading it. They actually flagged us. And they said, you can't do that from a phone man , get outta here. And so they actually required us to submit all of our research data and publications and everything that we had supporting it, which they expected us to come back and be really upset with that . It was dragging out the approval process. But on our end, I appreciate that because that means that somebody can't come in behind us and say like, no, we have an app that can do that from a picture, too guys, check this out and not have any research or data to back it up. So we actually appreciated that skepticism and we appreciate the hesitation to jump two feet into using the app too . Cause we'd be doubtful. Also

Speaker 3:

The biggest critics that we've had have been ourselves when we first started this, we were blown away at the simplicity of it. And we had to continue to analyze the data over and over again, to verify what we were seeing because we've been doing this sort of stuff and validating different body composition techniques for years and to have come to this has been remarkable and we were blown away.

Speaker 4:

Good that I made a mistake. Actually, when we were analyzing the data, I sent him a screenshot and I said, Hey man, this correlation is really hot, but I don't think that I did this right. This can't actually be true.

Speaker 2:

Right. And in correlation obviously indicating that the relationship is close, this is moving in tandem. And then that's an important finding your data's there. The app is here before we dive into the app because I wanted to set the context for how exciting this is. And if you're a listener who loves nutrition, you're probably already really excited in . You're thinking I'm going to download the app right now. And if you're new to it, we're going to talk about why this is really exciting. Even if you haven't ever thought about your body that way. But first, why don't you both give us a quick background of what you did before this, because you're coming at this from a scientific angle. This isn't like you left your profession as a pilot to discover a body fat eater. Tell us about your backgrounds.

Speaker 3:

My personal background is I've been doing research in body composition and really addressing the question of how we accurately predict or measure the different parameters of physical fitness. So body composition is one over then. We also have aerobic and muscular fitness and flexibility and all the things that really make what comprises a fit person. So I've spent the majority of that and body composition, where we validated different techniques for different people, from athletes to clinical populations to really bring them what we do in the lab and put it in the hands of practitioners and consumers. Most of that is involved. Other techniques like skinfold or circumference measures or different prediction equations with body mass index and have a certain level of accuracy to them. But this has been the most accurate, actually that I've come across.

Speaker 4:

When I was in high school, I was about 300 pounds and lost a good chunk of that weight through diet and exercise. And the struggle that I had through high school and through college through undergrad was weight loss, wasn't linear. And so there were plateaus and there were setbacks. And if I knew what I knew now, back then, I would have been much more successful in the way it would have come off much more quickly. And I think for a long time, the research that I wanted to get into was what are the health risks cause of obesity and having higher body. And then how do we use exercise and a healthy eating strategy to help lose that weight? And so before I got to Alabama, that was a , where a lot of my research was, was the health risks associated with having higher body fat. And then how do we help lower that risk with exercise and then ESCO. And I teamed up about five years ago with our research and really started figuring out how do we measure these changes more accurately? Because the barriers that we kept running into, like he mentioned, where we have this research study, we have one unit on campus. Like we have one decks and machine that we have access to, or we have one underwater weighing tank. And so the logistics of having one machine that's shared space that all of the researchers are using that every participant would have to go through it . Then we have to schedule a time out. It's a tremendous time burden. It's a transportation burden. It's a cost burden like for our DEXA machine, there's a radiation safety concern that presents another barrier. And so we were like, there has to be a way to work around this. And so we jokingly agreed a few years ago that we were going to try to move the entire exercise fizz lab into a phone. And so this is kind of our first step. And we had tried to validate other methods and had done research, comparing the accuracy on other techniques. And like you mentioned, this is the one that we feel the most confident about. And we have the strongest data to support. You can move from the lab out into the field without sacrificing too much accuracy. And you can do it compared to DEXA for about 50 to $80,000 cheaper. So that's a win too.

Speaker 2:

So that brings us to where we are now. Right? You have a long background in this you're experts in the fields. You've discovered something, you've proved a concept. You have the research to back it up. And I think we approached this podcast, or at least I wanted to this way to overcome the natural skepticism that is there. But in reality, as you guys both mentioned, I think if you're starting something new, you really would rather have a lot of skepticism because that means you are truly innovating something brand new, because it's almost unbelievable. So with that, let's talk about how this actually works. So if I go download this app on my phone, which I think right now it's only available on the iPhone. Is that correct

Speaker 4:

Platforms? You can get it on Apple and Android.

Speaker 2:

That's good because I have an Android and I was going to say, don't , don't leave me Nicole .

Speaker 4:

Again , we're optimized for tablets too, so you can get it on an iPad.

Speaker 2:

I love it. So I go and I download this and you can look right now, I'm looking on my phone. I see it on the app store right now. And it's right there. I see my Android and I see it on the internet, on the Apple app store. And it's called me with a blue logo, made health and fitness. And now what happens? I download it. Let's walk me through it. What do I need to do? How does it work? What's going on? Yes.

Speaker 4:

We download the app with the download. You get a free scan to try it out right now. So you get to go in and actually test to see if these numbers look like what you're expecting to. Cause we debated. Did we just have people like trust us and download this and pay for it and then decide to go? Or should we give them the proof like watch this actually does what we're claiming it does. So download the app is free trial. You can get a scan, check it out to track your data. Long-term , there's an upgrade for that. So it is a paid app. When you go in, you set up your user profile, we ask you to enter your age and your sex and your race, your height and weight. And then we have just a couple of basic fitness questions that we have you answer also. So how many days a week do you typically exercise? And then how many push-ups can you do to be kind of a crude marker of muscular fitness? Now , from there, your profile set up that all the program actually takes as a single image taken from the front view. So if you turn your camera to selfie mode and take a total body selfie from head to toe , we have an automated image analysis program that scans your image, filters out the backgrounds and identifies all the landmarks that we need on the body. And once we've identified those landmarks and kind of pinpointed them, it takes about 20 seconds for us to actually calculate body fat percentage. And then because you've told us your weight, when you set up your user profile and we can back calculate and figure out how much of your percent body weight is fat mass in , in raw pounds and then fat free mass in raw pounds. And the cool thing about the app too, is that we can also tell where most of that fat you can have it where you're storing it. So we can tell whether it's being stored kind of around your midsection. So in the Android region, like belly fat, we can also tell the users if it's being stored kind of around their hips and thighs. So kind of gyno weight in the lower body,

Speaker 2:

Which is just remarkable, like hearing you describe this, you're thinking that's incredibly right now, my process is I go grab my caliper. I do a couple of skinfold measurements. I look at the table, I find my age. I get a range that works right every week you do that. And it certainly works enough. It's a benchmark as you're mentioning, but with this, I can take one photo. I presume each week I could take one photo and I can watch my progress. So let's just take a hypothetical male and say that male weighs 200 pounds and they're 15% body fat. So they weigh 170 is lean muscle mass and 30 pounds is fat and they want to lose some weight. Obviously, if they're going to lose weight and maintain their muscle, they're going to see that their body fat number drop as they lose the weight, but their fat free muscle mass, as you're mentioning, stay roughly the same. And that is now worth full circle. That's the benefit of not just looking at the scale is if they go from 200 to one 90, but they've maintained most of their muscle mass they've actually changed their overall body composition. And they're watching it in real time with an app that is going to track their progress. It becomes a record keeper.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. The cool thing about the app too, when you're taking those pictures to track changes over time, the device doesn't store the app, doesn't store the images. So when we're analyzing those images, the app doesn't see them like a person never actually sees the picture that you take. So it's not stored. And we did that for privacy reasons. We didn't want images getting out or to be a hack or something happened to where everybody's personal health information. And in these images of people are floating around the internet. So we decided to just completely walk away from that. And so we take the image, it goes up to the cloud, it's analyzed. And then the only place that had ever exists is on your phone. And so if you don't have it stored to your camera roll, it goes away completely, which we did again, very, very kind of strategically and changes over time. We've been have been really cool to look at. Obviously we just finished Thanksgiving and we're kind of going into the holiday season and we were tracking changes in our body, composition the holidays in our group message. Cause I think you have Thanksgiving and everybody goes, Oh my gosh, I gained like seven pounds this week. This is crazy. And you take a scan and you realize that 95% of that is waterway . And so it's not that big of a deal because the app is sensitive enough to capture those changes to where the scale may have increased. And so you are heavier, but most of that is being tracked as fat free mass. Cause you haven't gotten any bigger in a week to where they would cause significant changes in body fat. So that is one of the cool things about the app is that we're sensitive enough to detect those really small changes. And we can pinpoint which part of you is changing fat mass or fat free mass with really good accuracy,

Speaker 2:

Which again is just remarkable. As you just mentioned, right? For anyone who's been in the fitness world, maybe you tried to lose some weight you've done. So for a while you start eating again, you get some surplus calories and you see the scale shoot up four pounds and you're thinking what is going on, right? And of course, that's that water weight that you're mentioning, but this alleviates the fluctuation of the scale. A lot of people step on the scale every day and it moves a lot and they overreact or under-react. And what you just said in reality is often the most important takeaway that number is not that important. What's important is what's happening with my fat free muscle mass, what's happening with my lean weight, et cetera. And I think this is really exciting for someone like myself who loves nutrition, because this does have the opportunity to really change everyone. Like you mentioned, if you're an elite athlete here at university of Florida, what happened during COVID? The players were not on campus. They weren't near the coaches. They were having to work out on their own. The nutritionist had no idea what was happening with their progress. They had no way to measure it. Same thing at the university you're at. So this is such an interesting application because you can think of this applying to everyone, whether you're 75 or you're 18, or you're again, a lead athlete, we can warrior all across the spectrum, knowing what your lean body mass is, is such an important thing. But for a long time, it seems like really only maybe the bodybuilding community or the elite athletes or those would ever view their body that way.

Speaker 4:

That's absolutely correct. A person doesn't have to wait months down the line to get a DEXA scan or an underwater weighing measure or any other more invasive body composition techniques. They can take it right onto their phone and do it routinely and make decisions earlier on to make some changes. If they see increases in fat mass decreases in fat free mass, when they're running the opposite, they can detect those changes much earlier. Yeah, I think COVID has really brought a lot to the forefront. Like a lot of the limitations and things that we were doing in the industry in athletics and in the fitness industry, it really brought them forefront. And I think we've done a good job of pivoting hard, right? So COVID hit last spring, everyone got sent home, all the athletes were released and we were like, okay, well how are we going to keep them training? And like on their plans, working out the way they're supposed to, how do we track progress? So teams were sending wearable devices to track workouts. They were videotaping workouts, but the one thing they couldn't capture was actual changes in muscle mass and fat mass. And so now we have that, you could send the athlete home in the off season and put them through a workout program and have them do weekly check-ins with the app. And you can measure at least to make sure that they're maintaining muscle mass and not seeing big shifts in fat master in the off season and from the fitness industry. From that perspective, I think this has really opened up a lot of opportunity for online coaching. So we have a number of people that we're working with that do personal training or do group fitness classes, they're zooming or streaming them for their members, but they don't have access to their facilities. So they can't come in in person to do check-ins or fitness assessments. They don't have those same luxuries that we used to. So they're teaching online, they're doing personal training online, and now they can track online also because with the app, a person can take a picture from their home that you can be working with a client and they can take a picture at home on their own device and then share the results directly with their trainers. So we can export that via text message or through email, and you can send your results to your trainer every time you step on the scale, you can snap another image and send them a real time , updated live body composition number. And you can do that weekly. You can do a biweekly , you can check in as often as you want to. So now we've eliminated that barrier and we've also eliminated the barrier of time when people eventually do go back to the gyms and when they do get back in person, we don't need to spend an entire session now meeting with somebody for a fitness assessment and to spend 45 minutes getting ready for an underwater weighing we're going through all of our skinfold tests. You can have somebody scan at home and send the results before they get in for their fitness assessment and then be ready to talk about the results when they get there. And so I think this has really opened up a lot of opportunities for us.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Again, it's one of those things and , and I've done obviously a lot of podcasts here at the Cade with people doing amazing things. And this one is maybe one of the most immediately useful and societal changing right now. I think you have less than a couple hundred downloads. You just released the app. But if you look at other fitness apps, they have tens of millions of downloads. And obviously again, I think yours has the potential to go beyond that. So if you're looking to get on the ground floor of something as , Hey, I was in on this app early, maybe this is the one to download and try it out. Let's ask the tough question then here at the end. So the investor side of me always wants to know, look, this sounds so good. This seems so useful. It actually lines up with something I do in my own life. Everything about it seems too good to be true. What are some potential hurdles that would prevent this from working three or four years from now, we look back and say, you know, this just didn't work. What are those hurdles? Or are there none

Speaker 3:

When we're doing the research on it to come up with the algorithms and then research going forward, we're really good at controlling how the picture was taken, the lighting, the clothing, but now the app is in the user's hands. So it's up to them to make sure that that everything in the image is appropriate, where we see an accuracies or where our process doesn't work is if the body is not in the right position or if the lighting is inappropriate or if they're wearing baggy clothes or if there's too much noise in the background. So it's very important that the user follows the instructions that are on the app. And once all those assumptions are met, then our accuracy is as good as, or better than any of the other techniques that are on the market and much simpler. Yeah .

Speaker 4:

And ASCO. And I were very careful when we were planning like what we want the app to be and what we want the company to be. And so we had really hard meetings about, we saw our growth kind of strategically and where we wanted to be in five years. And I think we've heard this phrase, like stay in your own lane. We don't want to be in a position where we're delivering fitness advice or exercise prescriptions or programming within the app. We envision this as being just a measurement tool. And so we want this to be the go-to first option for body composition now, but then every other test that you can do in the lab, aerobic fitness, or muscular strength or endurance or power, whatever you want to measure in the lab, we want this to be also a part of the app. So we have plans to expand to the research side of things and develop additional features, but we don't want to try to edge out personal trainers or the group fitness staff, or we don't want to try to edge out and try to be the next Fitbit. We actually want to partner with the next Fitbit. And we don't want to edge out and try to muscle in on my fitness pal. Right? Cause those are probably the two giants right now. We've got a few 30 million and 20 million active users on those two platforms. We don't want to try to edge those folks out. We want to have people use this in addition to them. So if you have a fitness program or you have an app that's already tracking your workouts, or if you have something that's established and it's working, we want to be the go-to for measuring your progress in every aspect. And so I think where this goes wrong is if we get away from that and start trying to be things that we're not our research is in validating this device for tracking changes, but not causing the changes through the exercise or through the diet or through whatever workout program you're on. It's a great point. We want to show that what a person may be following that exercise or diet program that it's actually working and doing what they want it to do. We've talked to, we teach our students this in class. We say, look, your prescription has to be individualized. Like you can't train everyone the exact same way. You wouldn't put everybody on the exact same deal planet . Everyone is different. And so we wouldn't assume that we could just box up a workout program within the app and give it to everybody and expect to get the same results. And so we really believe since we're teaching our students that , and since we believe that medicine and your exercise program should be individualized, keep working with the experts that are giving you the individualized program, like keep working with your strength and conditioning coaches. Absolutely. And keep going out and working with registered dieticians and personal trainers. Absolutely just use us to track the changes. And I think that's the one piece that all of these other programs and these other apps are missing is that they're great at the programming piece, but we want to be the ones that are tracking the changes.

Speaker 2:

And that's what makes it is so important in life. Pretty much, no matter what you're doing, you have to have an accurate way to evaluate your progress. And that's what you're talking about. And in fact, I love in a world of free ideas and free exchange that if you're really good at what you do, you're going to have proof behind that. And now if you're a strength trainer, you can tell the prospective client, let me show you how good I am at having my clients gain muscle over time and then change their body. And their body composition here is the data, right? And pulls out a sheet and it's tracked everything. That's happened with a thousand people that they've used on this app. Here's their body composition changes in the first six months. I work with them.

Speaker 3:

How many trainers take before? And after pictures, now we can quantify what the picture is showing. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And you can see it. You can show it to a person that's so long. It takes here's what the experience is. Here's someone in your similar range and that's obviously very powerful and that's accurate. As you're saying accurate data is what allows us to get better, be more precise, do things more efficiently, really exciting stuff, right? Let's end the show with something that we always do here at decayed . And of course you were a Cade finalist for the Cade prize this year. And it's important for you guys to pass on some words of wisdom. So I imagine once upon a time, neither of you probably dreamt of being an entrepreneur per se, but yet you both find yourself now in that boat, give us some tips for those who maybe don't see themselves as entrepreneurs or those who are going through it right now. What are some words of wisdom?

Speaker 4:

I got one actually right here. So looking back over the past five or six years, the best things that have happened to me and for this project and for the business are the breaks that didn't end up panning out. Every roadblock that we ran into. So we try to recruit PhD students. They decide to go somewhere else. We apply for grant funding. We don't end up getting it. It goes to someone else, right? So if one of those breaks would have happened over the past five or six years. So I do get the student that decided to go to another school, or I did get a grant that took my research in a different direction. The app wouldn't be here, right? Because I'd be working on something else. Like my research agenda when I first started in Alabama was different than it is now. And so now five or six years later, and we have a startup , we haven't had we're on a podcast, like look at how different this is , ended up based on where we started. And when you keep running into these roadblocks and people keep telling you no, and you keep getting rejected and rejected and rejected, those could end up being the biggest breaks that you will ever get is thank you for telling me know so that I will end up being where I'm supposed to be. I mean, man, if you think about that, I'm getting goosebumps right now. But I mean, that is really like the best piece of advice. If you keep getting rejected, that is probably a good thing. Because if you believe in what you're doing, like the next opportunity is right there.

Speaker 3:

That's a great point. And along those lines, just go, just move, just keep going forward and keep pushing forward. When we started this, we had no idea. And we were professors we're in a lab, we're in a classroom. We've had a little bit of practical experience, but not near as much as academics. We were reluctant to even get started. But we went forward and the barriers that we thought were there were not even there in the first place. We had tremendous support. I mean, support came out all over from our Dean and our administrators at the university of Alabama partners showed up and we surround ourselves with a great team and we're continuing to build our team and learn along the way and just trust the process and everything will work out. It gets stressful, but we grow through stress and we just keep pushing through, keep moving our Dean.

Speaker 4:

You use the phrase when we pitched this to our Dean, he said, man, that sounds crazy. It sounds great. You guys do your thing, whatever you need from us just goes , zoom, zoom. So we started laughing. We were like, who says that in a meeting? But he's like, yeah, you guys just go zoom, zoom and let me know. Or I can. And so we went at zoom, zoom, and everybody, we kept turning around and saying like, Hey, we have this idea and they go, man, nobody's done that before. So I don't even know where we can help you out, but go for it. And so I think that energy is contagious. And so we went zoom, zoom, and that's our running joke now is keep going forward. And that energy is like, people will see that. And they'll be like, man, I want to be a part of what those guys are doing over there. Even though we have no idea what we're doing, because nobody, nobody certainly that we know has been where we are. And we've never even imagined that we would be here either. So yeah, it goes, zoom, zoom, man, everybody will catch on and they'll want to help point to bring up quickly. We're passionate about this. This is our life. This is what we spend our time doing. This is what we enjoy doing. And that passion that's what drives our energy. And that's what really makes us want to continue to go to, and we know that we have a bright product and we know we have a great vision for the future. And those things are very important.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Great idea. And the execution of it is often the intersection of thousands of life experiences and learning points before it, that culminate into where you are. And then you have to have the optimistic view of the future to overcome setbacks, hurdles, things that seem bad and turn them into things that can work out to your good. And both of you have definitely echoed that. Well, my guest today, Michael fetal and Mike ESCO, the co-founders of made health and fitness app that tracks of course, body fat, amongst many other things. This could potentially be the next big thing. And you heard it here first on Radio Cade. Thanks for joining us both today. It was a great discussion for Radio Cade. James Di Virgilio

Speaker 1:

Radio Cade is produced by the Cate museum for creativity and invention located in Gainesville, Florida. This podcast episodes host was James Di Virgilio and Ellie, Tom coordinates, inventor interviews, podcasts are recorded at hardwood , soundstage and edited and mixed by Bob McPeak. The Radio Cade theme song was produced and performed by Tracy Collins and features violinist, Jacob Lawson.

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