2014 is swiftly approaching. Are you ready?
Below is a brief summation of the stages of change, a theory often utilized to guide people through wellness change. What stage are you in now? Where will your 2014 goal put you?
Are you currently Physically Active (ACSM,2010)?
In this stage you are sedentary and you aren’t considering starting a fitness program. You don’t see any perceived or real benefit to incorporating physical activity into your life (ACE,2010).
It may have been a long time since you were in precontemplation, But you might see this stage in the people around you. The co-worker or friend that gets frustrated with you because you use your lunch break for a workout instead of a social hour; The family members that suggest you skip your workout, or that you don’t need to work out because you are already so healthy.
To progress out of this stage let the media be your guide:
Do you intend to become more physically active in the next 6 months (ACSM, 2010)?
In this stage you are still inactive, but considering the consequences of inactivity and the benefits of activity (ACE,2010).
Maybe someone in your family got sick and their doctor recommended adding physical activity and changing their diet or you see someone who is similar to you achieve their fitness goal.
For me I knew the benefits of activity so it was a combination of seeing what inactivity was doing to my body and knowing my family history and watching several other chronic diseases get worse with inactivity. I started looking for anyway to add some activity to my daily life.
Are you engaging in physical activity 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week (ACSM,2010)?
In this stage there is physical activity, but it is inconsistent as you are becoming mentally and physically ready to begin a wellness program (ACE,2010).
In this stage you start trying to find a program that you can stick to for 6 to 12 weeks. Maybe try some group fitness classes, consult with some fitness professionals, watch lots of you tube videos, and browse fitness blogs. Then you might even buy a new fitness outfit to meet your new fitness goals.
I started with jogging. It was what I was familiar with and it didn’t require very much preparation. My sister liked the Turbo Jam videos so I started watching those and occasionally adding them with my runs. I browsed the magazines at the grocery store and found Hers Muscle & Fitness, I flipped through and found a model that had the body type I thought I wanted to achieve and chose that workout; oh the power of advertising images, I now know fitness models aren’t always a product of that specific workout. Then I bought my first coordinated fitness outfits, the girl in me comes out occasionally.
Have you been physically active for more than 6 months (ACSM,2010)?
During this stage you have been engaging in a wellness program regularly, but for less than 6 months (ACE, 2010).
The best action plan is the one that is reasonable for you. Can you commit to 30 or 60 minutes a day? Are you a 3 or 6 a week exerciser? Do you prepare whole meals, shakes, lots of snacks, a meal plan, or a set nutrition goal?
My 1st plan was 5 days a week of cardio and strength training. I think it was 8 weeks long. I loved it. The workouts were 45-60 minutes long and had lots of variety. I was absolutely blown away by how quickly I saw results. I saw hamstring definition in my legs and saw muscles shaping in my arms. After that it was a series of magazine workouts and group fitness classes to attempt to maintain what I had achieved.
In this next stage participation in the wellness program has exceeded 6 months (ACE,2010).
Be consistent, B-E Consistent!
This is where that fitness lifestyle starts to grow. How do you maintain? Create an off season. Find a program or create a program that allows you to rest, recover and repeat.
Bodybuilding was the 1st real time I had a maintenance plan. It feels great to have a full plan. Plan to meet your goal then program in a few more workout programs to cover your year. You can cycle through strength, cardio, group, and core workouts to create your maintenance plan.
More about programming in future posts.
So where are you in your fitness journey:
PreContemplation? Contemplation? Preparation? Action? Maintenance?
Knowing where you are now will be really helpful in determining what you need to do next to achieve your 2014 goals.
Health and Happiness