The 5 Stages of Process Change for Fitness

Change is a part of life.

When you are embarking on a new fitness journey it is important to understand, you need to be able and ready to make changes. Specifically you will have to make a change around your attitude, beliefs, and behaviors around fitness.

These are the stages-of-process change model for fitness. This Process change method is part of the Transtheoritcal Model of Behavioral Change (TTM).

1. Precontemplation

This is when someone is inactive of living a sedentary lifestyle. This is when an individual is not thinking about fitness at all. They may even have a negative view of fitness in general.

As a personal trainer you should be making efforts to show someone why inactivity of physical fitness is an issue. Provide information about why being active is important via relevant sources. This could be articles, books, videos, friends and family, etc.

The goal at this Precontemplation stage is to make inactivity an issue at the front of the the person's mind.

2. Contemplation

In this stage of behavior change people are still sedentary. They might be in the process of starting to consider changing their lifestyle to that of a more active one. The individual may begin to understand why an inactive lifestyle is hurting their health. In the Contemplation stage they still are likely not ready to make a change to incorporate fitness into their lives.

As a trainer at this stage you should provide the opportunity for the client to ask a lot of questions. Give them more information about exercising in general. Figure out what type of exercise program will work for them. This means group exercise glasses, resistance training, sports, etc.

The goal at the Contemplation stage is to get them involved in some type of fitness activity.

3. Preparation

The Preparation stage is marked by that of some fitness activity.  It is likely a person is adapting to the mental and physical aspects of keeping a regular fitness workout going in their schedule. This mean they are doing sporadic trips to the gym or trying to get more steps on a pedometer or fitness tracker. They are ready to start a more active lifestyle.

To do your job well personal training a client you should provide the opportunity to be more active. Give your clients support, reinforcement, and positive feedback. Try to find fitness activities a client enjoys doing. Allow a client to express concerns and what is bothering them. Attempt to create a social support circle around the fitness routine.

The goal at the Preparation stage is for there to be some sort of regular physical fitness activity, even if it is sporadic.

4. Action

The Action stage is when people have been engaging in a regular fitness routine. However for 6-months or less.

Provide continuing support and feedback to the client so they stay with goals. (Remember SMART goals.) Figure out what sort of barriers a client might have to sticking with the program. Kids? Work? School? Make sure you assess whether the client will potentially relapse and if they are high risk for relapsing into a sedentary lifestyle again. Give them psychological and physical tools to deal with potential roadblocks.  Make sure to adapt the workout program to the varied lifestyle and changes a client may face. Are they going on vacation for an extended period? Give them an at-home workout.

The goal for the Action stage is to maintain regular physical exercise.

5. Maintenance

The Maintenance stage means an individual is participating in physical fitness for longer than six months.

Encourage the client to maintain the current level of fitness and to continue on with the program. Make sure they understand the social support aspect of keeping up with fitness. Switch up the fitness routine to make it interesting for the client. You can gamify the system in which you are measuring fitness progress. Make sure you see whether a client is getting burnout with the current program.

The Maintenance goal is to prevent relapse to the old way of life, no fitness, and keep the current physically healthy lifestyle the client is on.

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