I recently read an essay titled ‘No diet, no detox: how to re-learn the art of eating’ which included the assertion that ‘the art of eating …is a question of psychology as much as nutrition. We have to find a way to want to eat what’s good for us.’
The same could be said for fitness. Those who live sedentary lifestyles and baulk at the concept of physical activity cannot be forced to adopt exercise as a regular lifestyle habit. We have to find a way to make them want to do it.
More and more leaders in the fitness industry are embracing the idea that, for long term results, the body needs to follow where the mind leads it – not just where a personal trainer leads it for an hour or two each week. Empowering clients to take control of their own wellbeing by wanting to move more and eat well is the key to lasting success.
In this feature from the Autumn 2016 Network magazine, Helen Vanderburg advocates practicing sport psychology’s pillars of mental toughness, which includes consciously focusing on what you can do, rather than what you can’t. This, she says, increases confidence and sets you up for future opportunities.
In a similar vein, in her feature on avoiding body shaming in weight loss clients, Kylie Ryan urges us to focus not on how the body looks or how much it weighs, but on what it can do – and to celebrate each small improvement. In this article, Greg Sellar also taps into the power of mindset coaching, and the need to uncover clients' motivations rather than impose our own ones on them.
Likewise, Andrew Chadwick’s feature on incorporating sandbells into clients’ training illustrates how turning work into play can transform the way clients think about exercise. After all, who doesn’t like having fun?
If we can succeed in turning exercise and healthy living from a need, into a want, then we can help more of the population adopt long-term fitness and a healthy, long life.