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BBJ Fitness Corner | Stages of Behavior Change In Exercise

WHEN a new member visits a gym, they have practiced a few stages of change. Hardly does someone wake up one day and decides to be a member of a gym. It’s most likely a process that happens over time and is motivated for some sort of change in themselves and their lives.

It may be that they want to change how their body looks or functions, or how they feel about themselves. They may have been thinking about making changes for some time and finally, due to their conditions and their feelings, they have signed up in a gym and want to get started.

Once a person is in action it is thought that they will put about 3-6 month’s worth of effort and focus into changing that area of their lives.

It seems action for most people is a window of opportunity that they only open up for a period of time.

This makes sense as you will see later that unsuccessful change is somewhat challenging for someone’s self-confidence. So to continue when you’re not making progression and your personal feelings are taking a beating is not smart. It is best to reassess the approach if the program matches their short term and long term goals. This way, the individual is not stuck in a certain level of frustration and is able to adjust.

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The stage of change model proposes that people move from start from pre-contemplation which is not thinking they need to change. Then come contemplation where one considers the pros and cons of changing. Next is planning. Deciding change would be desirable and looking at options. After that phase is preparation where they choose an option and get organized to do it next is action where they actually start doing it. Termination then follows. The old behavior is gone and the new one is in place consistently. Followed by relapse where the old behavior has come back and the person is at a different stage again. Then finally ends with maintenance. The new behavior has become a real habit and it would feel unusual to ‘not do it’.

Gold’s Gym personal training Jerry Diaz has gone through these changes personally. “4 years ago, I became a trainer. Now I’m a trainer, a former national basketball player for CNMI, marathon runner and a Tough Mudder obstacle course finisher.” stated Diaz. “However, at this period, I didn’t feel healthy and overweight even for someone considered an athlete. During this period, my knees would flair up and my training did not match the activities that I do such as marathon and basketball.” He added.

Diaz has applied change in him based through the NASM stages of behavior since then. “Now as a trainer, I was exposed to stages of behavior in exercise that included introducing one new behavior, such as training in the morning consistently, instead of infrequent and inconsistent training sessions.” said the Gold’s Gym personal trainer. “Next, I was advised by my master trainer to begin logging daily nutrition to observe how much energy I’m taking in. Now over 6 months, I learned and practiced new habits that supported my maintenance of a healthy body for 4 years.” added Diaz.

After learning this, he introduced one new behavior at a time to master into a daily habit instead of trying to overwhelm myself with too many goals.

You could do so by helping a friend apply change of habit to reach their goal. After establishing new habits for himself, he took on the challenge of assisting others to apply a similar approach and to teach a new behavior with personal training clients to meet their fitness goals.

Another great example is Diaz training his good friend Kelvin Fitial, to evolve from losing weight below 300 lbs. to a transformation of an athletic MMA body frame of 225 in one year.

“My approach with Kelvin similar to other clients is to learn new behaviors instead of trying to do all in one at the same time, which can be overwhelming and discouraging.” shared Diaz. It all comes down to maintaining with a purpose. “Today, a personal challenge is to maintain the behaviors and habits I’ve learned over the years and to maintain a certain level of fitness I am happy with. However, it becomes tedious and challenging to maintain.” said Diaz. He has to remind himself of the reason he behaves a certain way, which is to avoid falling to the first stage.

There are challenges to learning and maintaining a new behavior that enforces positive habits that is beneficial to maintain an acceptable fitness level. Which include level of motivation and encouragement supported by individuals around, type of food exposed to the individual, balancing indulgence, rewarding self from meeting a goal and the level of discipline and commitment to maintaining positive habits.

Reference:

https://www.ptdirect.com

http://www.thehealthygamer.com/2013/06/20/nasm-study-guide-chapter-19-lifestyle-modification-and-behavioral-coaching/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/533165-five-stages-of-change-for-physical-fitness/