This may seem obvious, but it is important to educate yourself about health and fitness or find someone qualified to help you understand exactly what is required in order to reach your goals. Unfortunately, many people completely skip this process and eventually fail, because they never really figure out what they need to do the get the results they want.
If you make a plan for success, but are basing your plan on misconceptions or other incorrect information, you could be setting yourself up for failure before you even start. It is important to have realistic expectations about the results you hope to achieve based on the amount of effort you put into your exercise and nutrition routine. If your expectations are too high or too low, you may quickly lose motivation and fall short of reaching your goals.
If you have little health and fitness experience and want to create a quality routine with minimal help, it is still probably a good idea to search out a qualified member of the health and fitness community, at least initially.
This way you can have the person answer your biggest questions, help you design a workout or nutritional strategy, or even give you advice about where you can look to find quality health and fitness information pertaining to your specific goals. Just make sure you tell the person exactly what you want help with in advance, so he or she can be better prepared to give you the information you want during your meeting.
If you don’t want do dedicate extra time and energy to educating yourself about health and fitness or designing your own program, it’s probably in your best interest to hire a quality personal trainer, nutritionist, or other health and fitness professional to help you reach your goals.
Hiring someone to help you out can have a variety of benefits, even if you only have a few meetings with the individual. Some of the benefits include education about health and fitness, evaluation of your program and your goals, extra motivation and accountability, and learning things to help you improve that you would not have thought of on your own.
Perhaps most importantly, you should have someone qualified in exercise technique make sure you can properly perform every exercise you want to include in your workout routine. The simple truth is most people have significant flaws in their exercise technique and it is difficult to improve without someone giving you feedback and teaching you how to improve your form.
The importance of learning correct form cannot be overstated, because poor exercise technique leads to numerous problems including inefficient workouts, muscle imbalances, and increased chance of injury, just to name a few.
Now you may be asking yourself what any of this has to do with health and fitness psychology, but let me assure you there is a definite psychological link between health and fitness knowledge and success. The issue at the heart of the matter is that increased knowledge builds confidence, not only in your overall ability to succeed, but also in your ability to complete the individual tasks necessary for success.
When I work with new clients without previous training education and experience, one of the biggest initial roadblocks is their lack of self-confidence, especially in regards to their ability to exercise correctly. The most common concern is that they will do things incorrectly and not benefit from the training or potentially get injured in the process.
These are rational fears, because it takes time and education to learn correct exercise technique and many potential problems may not become evident until years later. In this respect, avoiding exercise is a form of self-preservation, although it is also a roadblock to achieving any significant success. Naturally, the best thing to do to get past this is to become educated and develop the confidence that comes with knowledge.
In my experience, people without previous exercise experience quickly develop the confidence to exercise when I am around (because they know I will not let them do anything to hurt themselves), but they often still have a hard time exercising on their own.
After a while, they develop more confidence to exercise without supervision and also develop confidence to perform other physical activities they have not previously tried. For example, a person who only had previous walking experience may eventually start running, hiking, biking, or even try playing a sport.
Naturally, being engaged in other activities further helps people reach their health and fitness goals, because they are more active, burn more calories, and become more physically fit. It is important to note that these improvements would not be possible without the increased confidence gained from having more health and fitness knowledge and experience.
14 years of experience and education in health and fitness