There are Five (5) Stages of Change when trying to get fit and healthy. Change is a process that develops over time and does not occur in one single event. Individuals can go back and forth between stages. The first stage is called the Precontemplation Stage. The individual is not ready to make any immediate changes (that is, in the next six months). Individuals in this stage may be unaware of, or even denying, the need for a lifestyle change. They can be pessimistic that change is possible either through their efforts or through a proven method. They are likely to filter information so that they can continue to justify their unhealthy lifestyle. For example, smokers who understand the health risks but continue smoking are obvious precontemplaters. Another precontemplater is one I see often at gatherings that involve food (birthday parties, BBQs, holidays, etc.). I will often be asked by someone who has found out through casual conversation that I am a fitness trainer how can he lose his gut (while holding a plate with an overstuffed hamburger, a pile of chips, and a large side of potato salad, with a soda in the other hand). I have learned to only spend a few minutes on this topic, giving basic advice such as watching what we eat and exercising regularly. Within a few minutes, I can already tell who is in the Precontemplation Stage. He usually answers by agreeing quickly to the advice, having been told by the wife, the doctor and the best friend but assures that he will do so as soon as things get less stressful at work. In fact, I have interacted with many in this stage, in different social settings, whether in a business networking meeting, at church or at my daughter’s soccer game. You’ve met them; you may even be at this stage. How do you know? Here are some signs: no plans to join a gym, seeing or hearing information about lowering your cholesterol by eating clean but choosing not to or telling yourself you’ll start on Monday, thinking that the stroke or heart attack that happened to your neighbor won’t happen to you. If you’re in this stage, it’s time to think about what is stopping you from making lifestyle changes or what motivates you to make a change.
Genesis 1:29 – Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
There 100,000 edible plants, Average humans eat 12 of them.
CONTEMPLATION is the 2nd Stage of Change in The Five Stages of Change. This is the period in which the person weighs the costs and deliberates what it will take to become healthy and fit. Costs may include time, effort, program effectiveness and finances. They may be considering joining a gym or weight loss program in the near future. Having googled the closest gym and having found out the pricing doesn’t mean this person will take action. In fact, someone can stay in this stage for months or up to years! Although this may seem like a step in the right direction or taking action, it really is not. Why not? Because there is no commitment. He hasn’t actually driven to the gym to see the time it will really take nor has he paid any money to see how it will affect his finances. And most of all there’s no accountability to himself, to a workout partner, or to a trainer.
This can be a frustrating and/or deceiving stage because it is often characterized by uncertainty towards which approach to follow and fluctuation between decisions towards an action then away from it.
I recently met with a former client who expressed to me how he misses the fitness level and weight loss he attained while training with Sommet Fitness. He wants to come back, but it’s been almost a month since we talked. And I know he is not doing any other fitness activity. So what is stopping him from starting or re-starting a fitness program? It could be time, willingness, or any number of factors.
If you are in this stage, it is good to recognize it so that you are not deceived that you are taking action when you aren’t. Remember, finding out information, putting it in your budget and/or schedule are still only contemplation until you actually go do the activity or workout. My challenge to you: Make an appointment at that gym and show up; or at that trail you are thinking of and hike it; or that tennis court you’ve planned to see and swing that racket. You’ll be glad you did.
Dealing with Your Injuries
Stop in Your Tracks
Last summer before I turned 43, I decided to run a ½ marathon even though I didn’t necessarily enjoy cardio workouts. I diligently trained for 12 weeks. Starting at 5 minutes on the treadmill to 20, I gradually worked my way up and progressed to 9.5 miles during my long runs. However, I started feeling pain in my foot, which I later found out was plantar fasciitis. Two months before the race, I had to stop running but decided to continue cardio workouts by mountain biking. Although my stamina improved, it did not really progress my training for the 1/2 marathon since I was using different muscles.
In spite of my foot injury, I was able to run the PF Chang’s Rock and Roll ½ Marathon and finish the race.
Work Around It
After the race I started hiking more instead of running, which had less impact on my foot. I hiked a lot during the Fall, challenging different mountain peaks in Arizona. I was able to work around my injury. I got so excited that I was able to hike the Grand Canyon in May 2010 – 9 miles going down and back up in 6 hours. That was a killer but it felt great accomplishing the task.
My foot started bothering me again so I bought a road bike and started training for a race this October. But four weeks before the race, I had a bicycle accident, crashing into a stop sign. On one of my training runs downhill, I was going 20-23 miles per hour. The sun was glaring in my eyes so I was looking down and boom! hit the sign. I fell on my right side, dislocating my elbow. With road rashes on my face, shoulder, and knees, the accident hyperextended my wrist. I saw my elbow protruding out of its socket. I was shocked by the sight but quickly popped it back in place. I think it was pure adrenalin. Luckily, one of the cars passing by stopped and called 911.
Psychologically Ready to Progress
The tendency is to stop any form of exercise and/or to be more cautious when you have an injury. There were a lot of things going through my mind – I think my wrist and arm are broken; that’s the end of my career as a fitness and Pilates instructor; will my arm go back to normal? Luckily, the x-ray result showed that my arm was not broken. Resting for two days helped me to focus more on God, which helped me realize how fragile the human body is. It’s been three weeks, and I’ve been doing rehab on my arm, and thankfully, it’s getting better. I started spinning after the 2nd week with one arm, while doing rehab on the Pilates equipment and more unilateral movements and exercises, training the 75% of my body that was not injured. Last weekend, I hiked 10.2 miles, and it felt great. I finally had the courage to start riding my bike to work again. I look forward to training for next year’s race – Tour of Scottsdale 70 mile race in 2011!
Persevere and never give up on your goals
Verb: Continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no indication of success
When you set a goal make every effort to meet it so you won’t lose faith in yourself and in God.
Q. Does anyone have any experience dealing with injuries?