Visit nearly every Fitness Blog and you're going to find the same thing. Lot's of exercise video demos and articles about workouts, workout motivation, muscle groups and nutrition advice. The GymPaws® Fitness Blog is no different in that regard, because afterall that's what we need to learn about to achieve our fitness goals. However, how this Fitness Blog is different, is that I like to also talk about making healthy lifestyle choices and the behavior changes that need to happen to achieve those goals. In other words, the stuff that you need to learn before you learn the stuff you need to learn at the gym. :P
Stages of Behavioral Change
Whether it's workout motivation, quitting smoking, being nicer to your significant other, or controlling stress, success depends on your ability to make a Behavioral Change and stick to it.
As it pertains to Exercise and Lifestyle Changes, these are the 5 Stages of Behavioral Change
Pre-contemplation. This first stage is pretty much denial. Someone who is in the Precontemplation Stage doesn't really even acknowledge the issue. You're the couch potato watchin TV all day and night. You don't care about exercise and working out, fitness and the gym is for other people, and the only time you sweat is when the AC is out.
Contemplation. This next stage of behavioral change describes those same couch potatoes but with a little more awareness. You're still sittin on your butt most of the time. You know that exercise is a good thing and you probably should do something, however the idea of exerting the effort to do so, really isn't worth it to you yet.
Preparation. You've just discovered the indentation of your butt in the couch cushions. Why? Because you've finally moved! In the Preparation Stage you're starting to take a walk around the block once and awhile. You may even dust off that gym membership card and pop in here and there. You've decided that you can do it, and you are. The problem is that you lack consistency. This is usually the phase were someone will decide to search for a personal trainer.
Action. That's a word you're comfortable with now. You've bought some new shoes and gym gloves, know your gym hours by heart and are pretty good with getting your workouts in on a regular basis. What was your workout motivation is becoming habit.
Maintenance. You could be considered a gymrat by your friends and family. Gone are the days of sitting on the couch all night after work. The gym isn't something you dread, it's something you need. You've achieved the behavioral change you sought after and now it's all but yours to lose.
So which stage do you think you're in? Why should you care? You have to not only be realistic with your goals, but you need to be real with yourself if you're going to make lasting changes. Whether you realize it or not, any good Personal Trainer worth their salt has already determined which stage you're in from discussions with you. You need to be on the same page! Your trainer isn't there to just teach you a killer back and biceps workout, they are a source of motivation and expertise to help you achieve your goals. Make use of them!