Make A Lasting Change, Part 1

How many times have you set out to make a change in your health and lifestyle? Maybe joined a gym, started a weight loss program, or scoured the internet for the best plan to achieve your goals? Did it work? If so, GREAT! However, most of the time these plans start out great, but fizzle out before any real change is made. Sometimes we see change at first but over time we revert back to old habits. When I ask a client what has worked for them in the past I get responses that usually follow the same pattern,” I did so and so program, and it really worked!!!! Then I stopped, and i lost all progress, ” or ” so and so program worked for a while, then I just plateaued.”

IMG_0479The fact is even with a program or meal that is actually well laid out that you may find in a book, meeting, or internet seldom covers all the bases. And that is ok, that is not necessarily their intent. Most of these types of programs aim at quick fixes, and the ones that do offer long  term solutions forget one crucial issue. Although diet and exercise are a key component to weight loss, muscle gain, or improved performance, they are not the only factors that are at play.

If a client comes in who is depressed , I may not know this right away, and prescribe a certain regimen to address his or her physical goals. Even with some progress in those goals he or she may not be able to sustain these gains if the real reason for the physical issues was deeper than just lack of self-discipline.  You see, if I take the time to properly talk with clients and find out as much as I can, I can make better plans to help resolve the issue. For example, if this client was depressed over a loved one passing away, diet and exercise won’t fully alleviate his or her problem. In other words they were depressed over grief, and that caused the physical shape to change. Even If we fix the physical shape we didn’t fix the problem, and thus a relapse is likely at some point.

Obviously as a trainer fixing this issue is outside of my scope of practice, but recognizing it isn’t. In this case I would refer them to someone who can help with the grief.  Taking a full wellness approach to truly make lasting changes is what we do here at UPP with our personal training clients.

Over the next few weeks I’ll continue this series and shed light on how we go about making these changes, highlighting how we use behavior change models, exercise and nutrition to make habits that are healthy and positive. bigstockphoto_Change_Ahead_5993268

First lets look at a couple of things we can establish as key factors of success:

  1. There is no such thing as a one size fits all program. In fact, there are 9 principles of a quality long term program that need to be met in order to be effective ( we will cover these in the future posts.) Personal training is, well, personal. Everyone is different with different needs, and the program should reflect this.
  2. As mentioned before, there is a lot that goes into an effective lasting change. Basic measurements help, but we need to see how well you move in certain planes, we need to know other details as well in order to have a better overall picture of the client as a whole.
  3. What motivated you 10 years ago may not now. Strategies need to change and evolve as we age.
  4. Let’s keep the reinforcement positive.
  5. social groups, or small group training works! I will concede that some people work best alone, and that is fine, again these are things we will find out about you in our consultation!
  6. Education is the basis of our philosophy. If you know the hows and whys of what we ask you to do, you’ll understand the program better, and buy in more completely, even when it gets hard.
  7. Aesthetic goals are fine, we all want to look good. HOWEVER, a nice looking body is a bonus. Being healthy, functional, capable, strong, and knowledgeable about your body are the main focus of our goal setting here at UPP. Again this is not to belittle wanting to look good in a bathing suit, merely in order to establish lasting changes we need to focus our goals to reflect how we will use and treat our bodies in the long term.

Part 2 will post next Monday, please comment below and let us here your thoughts!

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