With the New Year in full swing and resolutions under fire, the question remains, are you ready to commit to a healthier lifestyle? Every time I ask that question I get the response, “Im in the gym, aren’t I?” Typically, a few weeks after I hear that, that same person has burned out or lost interest. So, if we are falling off our nutrition and exercise momentum, when are we truly considered adopting a healthier lifestyle? The answer lies in the 5 Stages of “Readiness to Change” model:
Individuals in the precontemplation (or non-contemplation) stage have not considered a healthier lifestyle. This stage has the potential to last a lifetime as the method to move beyond this stage is purely education. Most of the people in this group typically do not know the dangers and ramifications of a sedentary or non-active lifestyle. If left in this period of life, the dangers can include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Hypertension, Malnutrition and more leading to death.
While in the contemplation mode, the dangers and health risks are just as real and applicable as in the precontemplation stage. This stage begins with education at various levels. It doesnt matter if the contemplation to change lifestyle was sparked by a doctor’s suggestion based on physical testing, A loved one’s concern for their well being, or a simple news article that caught their attention, the most important thing in this stage is that there is awareness for need. This stage can last for months to years depending on the individual and is driven on research into fitness programs, and healthy options. Typically no further action is taken at this point.
The initiation of action defines the Preparation stage. In other words the individual may sign up with a gym or fitness facility, try out the classes, and play with some of the equipment but there is no organized structure to their workout schedule. This stage can last for weeks or months until a decision to integrate the nutrition and exercise routines into their daily lives. The biggest risk here is injury from improper technique during exercise or failure to commit to the routine which leads to moving back to the contemplation stage.
When an individual begins to periodize their training regimen, work with a trainer to improve performance and adopts a nutrition program that compliments their training, they have become active. The Action stage is evident with consistent schedules and goal driven exercises. Typically the client will be focused and organized in structuring their active living program while maintaining a consistent schedule of exercise on most days of the week for no less than 30 minutes a day.
after 6 months of Action the athlete is now in position to maintain their newly adopted healthy lifestyle as the risk for falloff is minimal. Psychological improvements as well as physiological improvements are well recognized during the maintenance stage. Anytime an athlete in the maintenance misses a workout or eats something outside of their daily nutrition, they will notice the difference as the individual in the preparation stage notices their first workouts. When this happens the athlete is now living a healthier lifestyle.
If you would like more information on how you can ensure passage through the 5 stages of change, Call Carolina Gold Fitness to schedule a pre-exercise assessment with a certified trainer.