Friday, July 06, 2007

So Are You Empowered?

The Number One challenge to health and fitness success is consistency and program compliance.

In an earlier article, I have covered the topic as to how to stay motivated in your fitness program.

You can get the world's best trainer and nutritionist to get you started in the lifelong journey of health and fitness. But you need more than just trainer, nutritionist or exercise program for long term success.

The question is not how well you start but how strong you can stay on after a year and ultimately your own long-term health and well-being.

No matter how great a program is, you still have to do it by yourself. Many people drop out of their exercise and diet program as soon as their trainers are gone and nobody is watching them. These are "external" motivations. You have to be able to "internalize" them to become "intrinsic" motivations inside yourself. The intrinsic motivations become part of you until you don't feel and need them. They turn into habits - that you don't need someone or external rewards to "motivate" you. You're automatically programmed to do it subconsciously. It's this high level of self-discipline, commitment and healthy habit that play the most important role in exercise and diet program compliance.

The model for stages of behavioral change is well known and has been applied to exercise and fat loss study.

The stage of behavioral change goes from (1) precontemplation, (2) contemplation, (3) preparation, (4) action, to finally, (4) maintenance. In the table, it summarizes the definition of each stage, some common issues, barriers and concerns that people experience as they move from a sedentary to an active lifestyle.

The progression of healthy behavioral changes is likely not to be linear. You'll bump into some obstacles along the way to set you backward. Remember, be clear in your big goal. It helps put you in the correct long-term perspective.

Ask yourself why exercise is important, why eating healthy is important, why staying physically active is important? What do you want to achieve in your life goals? And why?

By answering these questions, it helps you increase your awareness of the importance of a more active lifestyle and increase your confidence that being more active is possible. You're able to incorporate physical activities into your life that you enjoy doing on a regular basis.

When you're doing something that you enjoy doing without being forced to do, you don't need external motivation. You're doing it for the sheer pleasure of doing. You'll feel empowered because you're in charge. You won't feel bored.

So are you empowered?

Learn top 20 ways to stick to your workout. >>

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