Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.
People in the Preparation stage are ready to take action and plan to do so within the next 30 days. They start taking small steps towards change and genuinely believe that behavioural adjustment is a positive thing to do.
For a PT like me, this is where the fun begins.
Watching someone move from sitting on the fence to deciding for themselves that change is required, change is a good thing and seeing them determined to take Action, is a beautiful thing.
People at this stage need support and encouragement to help them commit to action. Having a clear positive message about the necessity of changing their lifestyle is key. This is also the time when working with someone when they were in their earlier stages can really help as that will help us come up with the correct strategy that best fits the individual’s lifestyle. We have to come up with a structured plan of attack at this stage.
I bump in to several Personal Trainers who take a laissez faire approach to PT and coaching. They kind of just go with it and will “see what they should do on the day”, this approach does not work with anyone who is obese. This is why so many people fail at sticking to a diet. It’s not that the diet is terrible, any diet in which you’re in a calorie deficit will have you lose weight, it’s that the message isn’t positive and there is no tight structure behind it.
You can’t just roll with the punches here; you have to have a structured plan and a positive, tight, message and you have to stick to the message like a government minister on a bad news day. I train several GPs and they all “recommend diet and exercise” to obese people but they will all admit that their message is falling on deaf ears. There is no clear message there, there are no specifics that take a person’s personal situation into account. Just “move more and eat less” and that is never going to be effective when dealing with someone in a destructive cycle. A side note; Someone who is obese, and heading towards clinical obesity, is definitely on a destructive cycle in the same way that an alcoholic or drug user is. They are likely to die early because of their lifestyle, and you wouldn’t tell an alcoholic to “just drink a bit less, mate”.
When you have a clear message and program, tailored to the individual; “This is what you shall eat and this is how much” and “This is what you will do on this day and that’s what you will do on that day” and “Be accountable to someone, often the professional, and face up to your issues” then people have a great chance of success. There has to be a program in much of the same way that my Post-natal clients have a very strict program. You can not just make this stuff up on the fly.
The reason the program has to be tailored to the individual is that you have to aim to remove the personal hurdles people have. It’s no good telling someone to “eat only healthy home-cooked food” if they don’t know how to cook. Flinging a couple of recipes their way does no-one any good, other than maybe make the professional feel a bit better about their effort. It’s no good giving people a general exercise program if they struggle to walk and it’s no good telling someone to “make sure they get 8 hours sleep a night” if they have a new born baby.
Make no mistake, it is very easy for someone in Stage 3 to slip back into Stage 2.
I get a lot of emails from people asking if they can start with me in the next month, or even week, and I’ve had meetings with people and we agreed start dates only for them to back out late in the day because of an “unexpected hurdle”.
The reason/excuse I’m most often given is a change in financial or personal circumstances. Now I’m not saying that the reasons given are not legit but quite often an unexpected hurdle is used as an excuse to kick a change of lifestyle into the long grass and move back into the comfort zone of Denial. It is a real shame to see someone who is clinically obese, and who desperately needs to change their life around, fall back into their old habits as it can take a long time for them get back into it again and they will, inevitably, always be in a worse state. Often fear is the real reason for people slipping down from Stage 3 to Stage 2. I’ve said it before; Change is a scary thing, especially when you’ve been in denial about your lifestyle for such a long time.
Another factor for people who have gone from Stage 3 to Stage 2 staying there for a long time is shame and embarrasment. They feel like they can’t go back to the professional they were in touch with at the time, even though they know he/she is by far the most qualified and best suited to help them out. I always try to make sure people know my door is open. If something happens and you decided you can’t proceed at this point in time then there’s no shame in coming back at a later date and jumping straight back into it.
If you are sticking with it, and I hope everybody does, then Stage 4 (Action) comes next.