Good evening all
I had a shock today when I looked at the date of my last blog post. Over a month apparently. I don’t believe it. In my defence, it has been tricky, to say the least, to find a spare minute in my day of late and as I don’t like doing things by halves I need more than just that minute to write a blog post.
Following up on my Facebook post this afternoon, I would like to go into more detail about the four phases of motivation for exercise. These phases uncannily apply to a lot more than just exercise; changing eating patterns (some of you may know this as “dieting”!), starting a new job, starting a family. They’re all applicable.
The most important thing is to acknowledge the existence of the four phases and prepare mentally ahead of time so as to act accordingly, not be shocked and be prepared. The second stage is always the hardest and you must be prepared for this in order to push on through and get to the other side ‘untouched’.
The concept is timeless yet was formalised by Phil Campbell. He laid out the four stages of motivation as follows:
STAGE ONE: FORM PHASE
The excitement of beginning a new program is the unmistakable sign of the Form Phase. After making the initial commitment to a fitness plan, sticking with the plan the first couple of weeks should be easy. You may even feel you can handle more training than your plan suggests. Don’t do this! Not only does over-training risk injury, it jeopardizes your continued motivation over time. One main mental deterrent can occur in this phase – waiting for all the lights to turn green before beginning. While preparation is positive, pick a start date, go for it, and don’t look back.
STAGE TWO: STORM PHASE
The Storm phase follows a few weeks later. When we learn the program is hard work (on some days), and we just don’t want to train – this is the storm phase. It happens to everyone. Be prepared. In the Storm Phase, we begin to create excuses (conscious and subconscious) for missing workouts. This is by far the toughest phase to master.
How should you get through this phase? Mentally prepare ahead of time.
The Storm phase is a natural phase that everyone experiences. And the key to overcoming it 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 a well designed, comprehensive, reasonable fitness plan will improve appearance, make you feel better, and produce fitness gains rapidly. Seeing positive results from your effort will increase positive self image, and create even more motivation to continue for the long term.
STAGE THREE: NORM PHASE
The Norm phase is adapting to your fitness training commitment by learning that you can press through the tough days when you do not feel like training – and still get in a great workout. Every successful, long-term training individual knows – feeling bad at the beginning of the workout, often means this will be the best workout of the week.
STAGE FOUR: PERFORM PHASE
The Perform Phase is achieved when fitness training becomes internalized, and fitness training becomes a part of who you are. The Perform Phase occurs when you have experienced the first three phases and begin to train consistently. Repetition eventually becomes habit, and that should be the ultimate goal of every fitness plan. Training, eating clean and eating well can’t be a choice. It is just something that you do. It must become an effortless part of your life.
THE STRATEGY THAT WORKS
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will bypass the first three phases and go straight to the Perform Phase. This is a huge mistake. This thinking will set you up for failure. When this happens, the Storm Phase will pop up and pull you back no matter what.
The best strategy is simply to be mentally prepared to experience all four phases in advance. Identify the phase you are currently experiencing, and with maturity and confidence work through the mental aspects of fitness training by sticking to the plan even on the toughest days. This is the real test. When you reach the Perform Phase, maintaining the fitness plan is much easier, but you can’t achieve this level until the first period is complete (let’s say the first 6 weeks) and fitness training begins to become a part of who you are.
My take home message today is this: “Tough times don’t last – tough people do”.
Please feel free to share this with anyone you think would benefit (which is most people in my eyes) and above all, have a great rest of week everyone