By PPT Trainer Simone O’Shea (BHSc).
You have a goal, and you have made the first step to achieving that goal by signing up to the 12 week shift. Even if you have a training age (the time frame in which you have been regularly exercising) of greater than 6 months, greater than 12 months or greater than 2 years, you may still have your ups and downs where your head gets the better of you and impedes training progress.
We are already prepared for the physical stress that the next 12 weeks will place on our body. We know what it’s like to wake up and experience pain with every movement from the training session the day before. But how do we prepare for adhering to training commitments and nutrition targets, logging daily exercise and food consumption, on top of our other everyday commitments; work, study, family etc. without becoming completely overwhelmed and either burning out or diving face first into a mortal sin cheese cake, in a moment of emotional turmoil?
I’ll tell you how. We remember that the next 12 weeks is not just about a shift in how you see yourself in the before and after photographs, but also a shift in how you see yourself. Hmm lets see know if I can make sense out of that last sentence for you.
The first thing you need is ‘self-efficiency’. Self-efficiency is a mechanism applied to over 100 studies related to exercise behaviour. But you don’t need to know the history of self-efficiency; all you need to know is what it means and how to apply it to your own exercise adherence (not giving up).
Self-efficiency expectancy: is having the belief and expectation about your own capabilities to reach a desired outcome by performing the necessary behaviours.
In this case, the necessary behaviours being, following the exercise and nutrition recommendations that you have received by PPT. The higher your self-efficiency, the more confident you are that you will obtain your goals (Buckworth & Dishman, 2002).
Self-efficiency is not only the strongest predictor of exercise behaviour (Sherwood & Jeffery, 2000), it is also a pre-curser to self-motivation and self-esteem. Self-Motivation is what will give you that drive to be ripe and ready for your next training session. Whether it be at 5am before the birds are up, or 5pm after a tedious day at work. Self-motivation comes from within you, so you can see how it relates to self-efficiency. The bonus for you guys is that you will also have the extrinsic motivation that comes from being accountable to the PPT, personal trainers. And if you are attending Personal Training sessions also, this will be a great contributor to motivation.
Self-esteem is a feeling of worth that you are capable to succeed (Daly, Sindone, Thompson, Handcock, Chang & Davidson, 2002). Hopefully, you all feel worthy of success. If not I recommend making a list of a few things that you like about yourself and that you know others like about you too. Stand before a mirror each day and repeat affirmation statements that include these positive attributes. Make yourself believe that you are worthy of success.
Fortunately another determining factor of success is social support, and there is not shortage of that at PPT. We also have the private Facebook group set up for 12 week shift participants, so you can achieve a sense of community and support every step of the way. Outside of PPT it is also important for you to have the support of other people in your environment. This includes work colleges, friends and family. You should also know that individuals who join a fitness program with their spouse report a higher rate of exercise adherence; so get your significant other moving with you (Sherwood & Jeffery, 2000).
My final piece of advice is to have a relapse prevention plan (Knapp, 1988). This will help you to identify and plan for high-risk situations. Meaning situations in which you may feel you have lost control over your exercise or eating behaviours. This may include: an alarm malfunction causing you to miss an early morning training session, having to stay back at work, being tempted by the dessert buffet at an event, finding yourself without time to prepare meals for the following day etc. Whatever the scenario, stay positive, identify these high-risk situations and plan your coping strategy (time management, delegate tasks to others etc.). And remember you can always ask for tips and advice from your Personal Trainer or the other participants on our private Facebook group.
In conclusion, I leave you with a brief and simple tool kit for success:
- Self-efficiency: A belief you have the capability to achieve your goals.
- Self-Motivation & Self-Esteem: Invoke the motivation and confidence you need to succeed.
- Social Support: Surround yourself with positive people that will support your goals. Let actions and comments from sabotages roll off your back.
- Relapse Prevention: Identify and plan for high-risk situations.
I personally have positive expectations of the outcomes from the 12 week shift, and if my article was successful, then the expected outcomes that you have of your-self over the next 12 weeks will be too. And you can ‘see’ yourself differently already.
Bandura, A. (1998). Health promotion from the perspective of Social Cognitive Theory. Psychology and Health, 13, 623-649.
Buckworth, J. & Dishman, R. K. (2002). Theories of behavior change. In Exercise psychology (pp. 211-223). Champaign , Ill.: Human Kinetics. Wilkins.
Daly, J., Sindone, A.P., Thompson, D.R., Hancock, K. Chang, E., & Davidson, P. (2002). Barriers to participation in and adherence to cardiac rehabilitation programs: A critical literature review. Progress in Cardiovascular Nursing, 17, 8-17.
Knapp, D.N. (1988). Behavioral management techniques and exercise promotion. In R.K. Dishman (Ed.), Exercise adherence: It’s impact on public health (pp.203-235). ChampaignIL: Human Kinetics