The fitness mentality

The reason most people quit exercise programmes is that they fail to make the right choices at key moments.

The decision-making process tends to go something like this: “I’m getting bored with exercise and I don’t think I’m losing much weight so I may as well pack it in and play snooker with the lads twice a week. And save fifty quid a month into the bargain.”

When we ask clients to make significant behavioural changes, like making exercise part of their life, I suggest that we spend way too much time on the what (the physical stuff) and far too little time on the why (the mental stuff).

In short we fail to teach them how to identify and then manage the inevitable challenges that will arise along the road to nirvana.

This is mainly because most exercise professionals don’t know much about the psychology of behavioural change.

How good would it be if, rather than heading off the “147 Club Snooker & Billiards Emporium” as soon as the going gets tough, our hapless victim was able to say “ah yes, Jimmy (the PT) told me that would happen around now. Maybe it’s time to mix my programme up a bit.”

Here’s the thing: Most people start off with the best of intentions but when they get ambushed by reality they tend to wave the white flag pretty quickly.

If we don’t set them up for success in the first place - which means telling them the truth as opposed to what we think they want to hear - then it should come as no great surprise that they fall off the wagon at an alarming rate.

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