When starting something new--like a new fitness plan--we are initially enthusiastic about the commitment. Then we experience the four phases of fitness motivation before this type of commitment becomes internalized and a part of who we are.
The four phases we experience when making a commitment to a fitness plan are Form, Storm, Norm, and Perform.
The Form phase is marked with the excitement of beginning a new program. Expectations are high. During the first week of the commitment, sticking to the fitness plan should be easy.
Some may even feel they can handle more training than the plan suggests. Don't do this! Not only does overstraining risk injury, it risks your motivation and continuation of the fitness program over time.
One main mental deterrent occurs in this phase--waiting for all the lights to turn green before beginning. While preparation is good, pick a start date, go for it, and don't look back.
The Storm phase follows a few weeks later. When we discover the program, on some days, is hard work. No matter how motivated, there are days when we just don't want to train. This marks the beginning of the storm phase. It happens to everyone.
In the Storm phase, many begin to create excuses (conscious and subconscious) for missing workouts. This is by far the toughest phase and causes many to drop out.
How should you get through this phase?
Mentally prepare ahead of time. The Storm phase is a natural phase that everyone experiences. The key to overcoming this phase is to make the commitment now to press through the Storm phase when it occurs, and it will occur. Don't let this natural human emotion deter you from your fitness goal.
Consistency is a must for a lifetime of fitness. Following one of the Ready Set Go Fitness plans will improve appearance and produce fitness gains rapidly. The positive results will, in turn, increase satisfaction and motivation. But you must be mentally prepared to experience this phase in advance.
The Norm phase is adapting to your fitness training commitment by learning that you can press through on the tough days when you do not feel like training - and still get in a great workout.
Every successful, long-term fitness training individual knows that feeling bad at the beginning of the workout, often means this will be the best workout of the week.
The Perform Phase is the goal. It is achieved when fitness training becomes internalized, and fitness training becomes a part of who you are.
The Perform phase occurs when you have navigated through the first three phases of fitness motivation, and developed mental skills of how to handle those storm phase days that pop-up from time-to-time.
Repetition eventually becomes habit, and that should be the goal of every fitness program. Training can't be a choice. Fitness training must become something that you do automatically. It must become a part of who you are.
During the first eight weeks of beginning a fitness plan, individuals will not only be making positive physical changes, but there will be positive mental changes as well.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that you will bypass the first three phases and go straight to the Perform phase. It doesn't work that way. When this happens, the Storm phase seems forcefully to pop up and pull the person back into this phase.
Personally, I feel this is the number one reason causing fitness training dropouts, many don't mentally prepare for the storm phase, and storm phase days. But you can change that right now!
The best strategy for keeping the commitment to exercise is to be mentally prepared to experience all four phases of fitness motivation ...in advance.
Identify the phase you are currently experiencing, and with maturity and confidence, work through the mental aspects of fitness motivation by sticking to the plan even on the tough days. This is the real test!
When reaching the Perform phase, maintaining the fitness plan is much easier. But you must first successfully navigate the difficult Storm phase.
Mentally prepare for the four phases of fitness motivation that everyone experiences as they begin the follow-through after making the commitment to exercise.
Have a great day!
Phil Campbell, M.S., M.A., FACHE
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NOTE: The purpose
of this newsletter is to expand thinking about fitness as an informational
source for readers, and is not medical advice. Before attempting the Synergy
Fitness program, the Sprint 8 Workout, or any high-intensity exercise
program, consult your physician. This is not just a liability warning;
it's wise to have a baseline medical exam before beginning a fitness program.
Make your physician a partner in your fitness improvement plan.