I realise that I can be different than other trainers. While many of them want their clients to be with them during every training session, I like to empower mine by giving them challenges and ‘assignments’ that they can do on their own, when I’m not there with them. The challenge for me is that after a few months, they would stop doing the physical activities that they were doing so well til then. As a personal trainer in Singapore, my job is to educate others when they’re with me, and when they’re on their own.
Studies have shown that more than 50% would drop out within 6 months of starting an exercise program. I also like to emphasize the importance of continuing the exercise even though I am not there to supervise them. It can be challenging to start on your own but it is rewarding in the long run. The ability to maintain an exercise program for an extended time period is one of the biggest health problems within adults.
There are many reasons to keep it going. One importance for maintaining exercise programs is to ensure that you keep your weight, fat %es and health maintenance in check. Furthermore, it also builds up self-esteem and reduces stress and depression. Simple strategies for exercise adherence will go a long way.
This is a 3 part series on Exercise Adherence.
1. Get involved in a structured sport or physical activities.
The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) stated that as many as 80% does not enjoy the exercise program that they started with. Workout with friends as not only will you have company, you will also give each other social support and encouragement. Structured sports helps in the areas of discipline and collective goals ensures you attend all those training sessions that you planned for.
2. Learn a new activity.
The chances are that the new challenge will keep you coming back and pushing your boundaries to overcome obstacles you have never come across with. Be it climbing wall, martial art or sailing, it will take a different mindset than the ones you are used to. Personally I myself just got into a new activity – cycling. In addition to the current activities that I’ve been involved in, I find doing something new keeps me excited about working out. I’ve also enrolled in this year’s OCBC cycle challenge (39km) and I’ve set my eyes on next year’s super challenge (59km).
Try different activities daily. Instead of just aerobics every day, try spinning class the next day. This will ensure that different parts of your body will be trained and will keep you from becoming bored with the routine exercise. Don’t allow your body to be bored of the things you do. There are thousands of exercises that you can do just by using your bodyweight, hundreds of variations and combinations of pushups and squats. Be creative, change it up!
4. Slowly increase your efforts
The first few workouts should be brief and within your abilities before increasing the duration and intensity. Progression and overload is a must. Constantly change your goals and challenge yourself to higher intensities (up your intensity by 5-10% per week), progressively and safely.
5. Exercise Journal
This is important if you want to keep a record of how much weight you lifted or how far you have run within a certain period of time. Make a weekly or a monthly graph of your improvements. It should be gradual curve instead of a horizontal line. Use this as a motivation to push yourself towards newer goals.
6. Have a good place for physical activity.
Set a good place to exercise. The best thing is when you have the least amount of distractions to workout.
7. Set measurable and realistic goals.
You can use SMART goal in this process. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and target. You have to set goals that you can see yourself achieving in the long term. Take note of things such as distance, time and the amount to clearly see a difference. For example, start with something realistic, say 2.4km run in under 25 minutes. From there, work towards 5km in under half an hour and in the upcoming weeks – 10km in one hour.
I once had the opportunity of training a female infantry lieutenant for her Guards conversion course. She had to clock 10km in 50 minutes. When we first started, she was doing 1hr 15mins. After 8 sessions, she called me to inform me that she’d like to stop training with me. I asked her why – she said she just passed her conversion fitness test as she managed to do it in 42 minutes! (Session #8 clocked 48 minutes) Dynamic, progressive and realistic goals – key to success. Assess your fitness level, and set your goals realistically.
Keep it going, review the factors that affects your adherence often, and most importantly, have fun!
Exercise Your Adherence,
Your personal trainer
Team Fitness Guru