For nearly half a decade the field of Health Psychology has developed. In very general terms this refers to a field of study that focuses on the psychological component of disease prevention and health maintenance as related to the healthcare industry. This also includes Exercise and Sports Psychology. The average personal trainer is nowhere near well equipped to start delving into the field of Psychology nor should they make it a practice to give out advice on the subject. However it is crucial for any Personal Trainer to understand what a particular client's Workout Motivation may be, as well as any existing psychological barriers that may impede a client in obtaining their goals.
What's Your Workout Motivation?
Health Belief Model
Behavioral change is hard. We are by design, creatures of habit. Whether you may realize it or not, there are strong psychological indications that can determine why we may be resistant to change, and the Health Belief Model is one of them. What is it?
The Health Belief Model is a theory that suggests someone will engage (or not engage) in an exercise / health behavior based on their perceived threat of a health problem or illness. In short this means that your workout motivation may be because of health related issues. If this is the case, what is it that is motivating you?
Perceived seriousness. How real is the health threat and is it serious enough to motivate you to make a behavioral change.
Example: There is a history of obesity and heart disease in your family. A recent visit to the doctor has indicated that you have borderline High Blood Pressure. If you perceive this to be a serious health matter (which you should) then this may be a motivating factor.
Perceived susceptibility. Maybe you don't have a serious health condition that's motivating you, but your likelihood of developing one is a motivating factor.
Example: You may be in good health, however you know that your sedentary lifestyle has caused you to put on a few extra pounds. Fearing obesity related health issues in the future, you decide to start an exercise and fitness routine.
External factors. A physical symptom or event which causes you to think about your health and motivates you to take action.
Example: A friend who is a cancel survivor recently asked you to participate in a walking marathon to raise awareness. While at the event you learned about the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices and were inspired by the stories of survivors, and that in turn became your workout motivation.
Looking at a bunch of pretty pictures on a blog may be enough to get you off your butt and to the gym for a week or two, but if you're going to make lasting behavioral changes you need to be real with yourself and your personal trainer about what your motivation is. That information will help you and your trainer develop a real life workout plan that you'll be more likely to stick to.