How I Use the Scrum Framework to Help My High-Performing Coaching Clients

One of my favorite personal discoveries is that nothing exists in isolation. Through countless hours of observing my clients and Athletic Instinct members alike, I started noticing a pattern.

As these fine folks started developing strength and confidence in the gym, this strength and confidence started carrying over into other areas of their lives.

This, for me, was a profound realization and was something I carried with me as I was developing The Perfect Fitness Framework.

You see, I didn’t intentionally set out to create the Perfect Fitness Framework, but I did set out to create something that was different than most of what continues to plague the fitness and nutrition industry.

I wanted to create something that was less about hype and hyperbole and more about lasting, sustainable change. You know, the stuff that has been promised by diet gurus for decades while obesity rates continue to skyrocket and more and more people continue to feel bad about how they look, feel, and perform despite doing everything they’ve been told to do.

So, I started paying less and less attention to the popular diet and exercise information out there and more on psychology, habits, and behavior change. And it wasn’t until I connected the dots with my experience in IT that I started to notice the parallels between Software Development and Personal Development, specifically Agile software development and the Scrum framework.

If Scrum could help create high performing teams, what could I learn from this to help create high performing individuals?

And so, the Perfect Fitness Framework was born. It, too, continues to go through refinements and iterations as we learn more about what works and what doesn’t. I always do what I can to practice what I preach!

Now that you have a bit of the backstory, I want to give you everything you need to get started to use the Perfect Fitness Framework. It’s not a perfect one-to-one, but I think you’ll quickly notice the similarities among the PFF, Scrum, and Agile.

Here’s the 8-Step Strategy to bring this to life and is the same strategy I use with my one-on-one clients.

Step 1: Figure out what you want and why you want it.

You need to have a vision of what you want, and you’ll need a compelling reason why this is important to you. What problems or challenges in your life are these goals going to solve and what do you stand to benefit? How will your life be different?

Step 2: Create a backlog of all of the things you think you need to do to bring your goals to life.

This is pretty straightforward: what do you need to do to make what you identified in Step 1 a reality? If you have a weight loss goal, you’ll likely include things like “eat well” and “get to the gym” and “drink plenty of water” and “get enough sleep” and so on. If you have a performance related goal, you may need to focus more on fitness component and adjust the food component to support that. If you have an “optimization” related goal, you may want to focus more on the lifestyle component.

Step 3: Prioritize your food, fitness, and lifestyle backlog you just created

A prioritized backlog!? Smells an awful lot like Scrum to me. This is one of the most critical steps, and it sets you up for everything else to come. Consider everything you put in your backlog, and it’s level of importance to you and your goals. Is it a higher priority to start getting to the gym before you start eating well or vice versa?

Here’s a great exercise to help bring Steps 2 and 3 to life.

Step 4: Pick the very first thing in your prioritized list, and break it down into skills, habits, and behaviors.

Everything you listed in Step 2 was likely super high-level. See if you can bring an added layer of specificity even if that means breaking it out further (backlog refinement anyone!?). For example, what does “eating well” actually look like? When you say “get to the gym,” how often will you go and what will you do when you’re there?

You’ll want to want to turn the “what” you want into the “how” you’ll make this happen. Aristotle said it best (at least we’re all going on the assumption that he said it), we are what we repeatedly do.

Your food and fitness goals are reached by the habits and behavior your perform each day as well as the skills you need to carry out these habits and behaviors. What do you need to learn, do, or become to eat well? Do you need to learn more about your body’s hunger signals? Do you need to portion each meal properly? What about getting to the gym? Do you need to learn how to properly strength train or do High-Intensity Interval Training? Do you need to spend time with a personal trainer before going at it alone? What are all of the skills, habits, and behaviors that make up “eating well” or “getting to the gym?”

Step 5: Prioritize your skills, habits, and behaviors.

Now that you have a further refined and groomed your backlog of skills, habits, and behaviors to practice, make sure these are in priority order as well. If you started with “eating well” and broke this out into five skills, habits, and behaviors, make sure those five are in order of priority.

Step 6: Identify Priority Number 1 and GO

Now it’s time to get to work. You’re going to pick ONE thing (emphasis on the ONE thing), your top priority, and you’re going to practice this and only this until you’ve become somewhat proficient and consistent. This usually takes 2-4 weeks, like most Scrum Sprints.

This is something unique to The Perfect Fitness Framework but not at all a new concept. Many people think we’re bad at multi-tasking, but the reality is that we’re bad at multi-focusing. Far too often we try to do everything all at once, and this is where I think most diet and exercise program fail you - they require 100% adherence. Whereas the PFF meets you where you are, let’s you focus on what’s essential, emphasizes consistency and proficiency, and THEN adds something new.

There is one caveat to this step though I recommend you do this piece with a coach. You likely have SHBs that fall under a “food” category, a “fitness” category, and a “lifestyle” category. Depending on where you are at in your journey, you can pick ONE from each category to work on during your Sprint. For example, eating slowly, hitting the gym 2x a week, and focusing on drinking half your body weight in water. Many people can confidently work on these during their Sprint but knowing exactly how much to take on either takes time and practice, or a bit of guidance.

Step 7: Check-in with yourself daily

The Daily Stand-Up is a central tenant of Scrum. Our daily check-in is of similar importance but focuses on a slightly different set of questions and should take no more 5-10 minutes:

  1. What went well yesterday and did you complete your habit?
  2. What's important to you today?
  3. Is there anything in your way preventing you from completing what is important?

For a more basic check-in, simply ask: “What will I do today, and how will I do it?

Step 8: Each week or every two weeks, perform a personal retrospective and reprioritization.

At its core, The Perfect Fitness Framework is all about doing more of what works, and less of what doesn’t and regular retrospectives will make sure we figure out what that looks like for you.

At whatever interval you choose, think about just that:

What’s working and how can you do more of that?

What’s not working and how can you do less of that or something different?

Do I feel like I'm proficient or consistent enough to move on to my next skill, habit, or behavior without sacrificing the current one? Can I be "done" putting all of my focus on the current habit and focus on the next one?



Additionally, you’ll want to make sure your backlog is still prioritized correctly. In the beginning, there might not be much of a change. Or, maybe, after practicing a certain SHB for a week you realized you needed to break this out into two parts. The one you’ll practice the next week is priority number one, and the further broken down piece is added to your backlog as number two.

These 8 Steps encompass about 80%+ of the Perfect Fitness Framework. The other 20% is the hands-on aspect that comes from working with yours truly, and you may or may not ever need that last 20%. I’ve done everything I can to be as thorough as I can, while still being brief, to help lay the groundwork to get you started.

Remember, The Perfect Fitness Framework isn’t a diet or an exercise program. It’s a system for doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Because, here’s the thing: everything works, but not everything is going to work for you. The PFF simply helps you figure out what that looks like for your and encourages and empowers to go out and do it.

Always on your side,


P.S. Our coaching program, that 20% that I mentioned, helps walk you through Step 1 above and even does Step 2 through 6 for you. We use a proven curriculum, powerful technology, and expert coaching to bring this to life. To learn more about the work that we do, click here.