***First, an update on the status of the alpha release — It is imminent!! We hit a few snags, but will have you authorized to start entering data this week.***
What are cohorts?
Cohorts are groups of individuals who share a set of similarities.
How can we exploit this type of grouping?
Lets say we want to offer advice to an individual (lets call this person, A) on how he/she can alter training/nutrition to perform better. One way to do this would be to randomly pick a training protocol/nutrition system and ask the person to follow it for a month and see what happens. The probability that this will be successful is small.
How do we increase the probability that we provide advice that works?
We find a group of individuals who approximately 30 days ago (+/-) were very similar to similar to A, in multiple categories. We then narrow this group down to those individuals who are similar to A and also improved their performance output over the past 30 days. As we are all interested in improving overall work capacity, a max effort lift, or some specific movement/skill, this information would be very useful to individual A. Now — what did this group of people do over 30 days to improve their performance? Its very likely that implementing these changes could have a significant effect on individual A’s performance.
How do we determine who is in a cohort?
We use what’s referred to as a ‘graphical model’ to determine similarity between individuals and to assess what the commonalities are between/among these groups of highly similar people. Graphical model analysis will compare large groups of individuals and find those who share many edges with individual A. Read: those who are similar to individual A in many aspects. The thicker the edge (i.e: the closer the values are) the more alike the individuals may be. See the figure below for an illustration.
We compare individual A (highlighted by red arrow) to the entire group, with respect to multiple variants (work capacity, muscle group bias, height, weight, race, age etc etc). We find that he/she is more similar to about 30 people within the group (circled) than to the other ~500 people. This allows us to focus in on this group and identify changes they have made to improve. We can then use this as a starting point to make suggestions to individual A.
Cohort analysis = Accurate advice