The Beginning of the End

          You've done it all before; making a New Year's resolution, and then taking a gift card to the athletic store. You buy new workout clothes, sneakers, and made time to get to the gym. As time has passed, the workouts seem like work and everyone that joined you at the beginning has left. You have slowly backed away yourself from the physical fitness program and one day you are just thinking; what has happened? Time has passed and you would like to try this again; but how can you, when every time before this you have only lasted a few short months.  The missing link in all of what has occurred could be more of the mental part than the physical part. 

The First Step

Precontemplation Stage

Taking a step back; the Pre-contemplation part of the Stages of Change Model might have been where you were. Pre-contemplation states; you may not have looked for a change even though extrinsic ideas might have motivated you; such as New Year's resolutions. This may have precipitated you to try a program, and only after a few months, drop out leaving you wondering what exactly happened. 

Contemplation Phase

First Real Step to Success

Now that this has happened, you find it in yourself to readjust your thinking to beginning a physical fitness program. In the Stages of Change; you would be in the phase of Contemplation. Something or someone has made you realize a physical fitness program is important. You might have read, seen a segment on fitness, or your doctor gives advice on what you need to do to stay healthy. At this time, the information may seem overwhelming; at least you are considering a change. In this mode, it is time to look up information on physical fitness programs. Take time to look at aerobic, muscular, and flexibility programs that you might be interested in. Contemplation is a thought process that may last up to six months. This method will answer most of your questions before applying time and effort; the two areas you do not want to waste. From here; to prepare yourself for a physical fitness program; goal searching must occur.

Goal Searching

An Important Step-Preparation Mode

This is where in the Stages of Change; preparation mode comes in. To succeed at your fitness program, goals show you where to take each step. A specific goal is better than a general goal. To lose twenty pounds may seem a likely goal. A more specific goal could be; i.e., to lose about 0.5 pounds a week with a fitness program that has aerobic (walking, jogging, swimming), with an anaerobic part (weight training). While addressing goals; there are two components within your goal-seeking that are relevent to success. Self-efficacy, or the worth of your program to what is important in your life. Such as, what is the result you are seeking; is it losing weight or is it a lifestyle that will give you the energy to sustain whatever activities you pursue. Internal locus of control is the other important part within this framework. When you internalize your fitness program, the sense of accomplishment comes from results you receive versus the idea of external accomplishments. From the goals that you have decided on, you now have a better sense of what activities you can attempt and complete. 

The Action Phase

Now you can get down to it

This is where everything begins to fall into place. The correct frame of mind with proper goal-setting is a good starting reference. To approach the fitness program correctly; measurements and testing now need to take place. These baseline measurements give information on where you are today and then you can see later how much change has occurred. Tests every three months to six months up to one year. Make the timetable variable depending on what activities you do and the time that you are doing them.

Complete circumference measurements of specific areas with measuring tape. All measurements are in inches. 

1. Neck: Measure at the halfway point where the bottom of the jaw line and inside point on clavicle.

2. Shoulders: Measure at the anterior, middle, and posterior deltoids, just above the sternum across the pectorals.

3. Upper arm: At the halfway point between the top of the shoulder and the elbow.

4. Chest: From one side of the ribs near the underarm to the other side near the underarm for a complete circle.

5. Abdominal: Measure at the level of umbilicus in a relaxed position while standing.

6. Hip: Measure while standing; locate hip-joint and measure at the farthest point of gluteals.

7. Thigh: Measure while standing and rest the leg while measuring approximately half way down the thigh.

 8. Calf: While sitting, measure at the half-way point on the calf.       



How to begin Aerobic Training

Maximum Heart Rate

                As you are now, the heart rate is at rest. Place two fingers on the wrist or at base of neck to find pulse. To find resting heart rate you need to be sitting down and take the pulse for sixty seconds:________ beats per minute

 Now you have an idea of what the heart rate is while resting. Take this equation to find out maximum heart rate:

Example of Maximum Heart Rate for a 20-year-old: 220-age = 220-20 = 200 beats per minute

multiply by .6 x 200 =   120 bpm    lower end of range

multiply by .85 x 200 = 170 bpm    higher end of range

Begin the activity at the low-end of range and as you progress through each month of the program, then begin to increase toward the higher end of the range.                                       

Field Test

Prepare The Body To Move

Upper Body                                                                                   

To test Strength:                                                                               

1) Bench Press                                

To complete 1 repetition maximum (1 rep max):

a) Warm-up with a weight you can move a few times

b) Then do 1 lift at a time to get near 1 rep max

c) Lift 1 time to achieve 1 rep max

*(Repetition range: one to six lifts) Rest periods: 2 to 4 minutes after each lift to recover

Test endurance:                        

Push-ups: get into standard plank position with arms fully extended and toes on floor. Move to where the chest is off the floor and return to starting position. Do as many as possible until fatigue sets in, and count the total number. Modified position is on the knees with arms extended. From this position move down and come to arm extension. Count the number completed as soon as fatigue sets in.                                                                      

To test Power:

Dead Lift: Begin in a squat position with overhand placement on the bar. Begin by extending legs and keep back neutral. Finish the lift with the barbell across the thighs. (Repetition range 3 to 6)

To test Flexibility:

Place a yardstick on the floor with tape to hold it in place. Straddling at the top of the yardstick with legs separated reach as far as possible without undue strain of the lower back. Take the best of three trials.

 Lower Body to test endurance:

Crunch: On your back with knees raised to 90 degrees. Slowly lift upper back and reach with hands about 3 to 4 inches on the floor and count total number until fatigue sets in.

Physical Fitness Principles

During this active phase of the model, components come together to aid in success. 

A) SAID: Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand: The movements that you carry out will result in how the body responds. Begin the program at a low intensity and develop the program to a higher intensity as you progress through months to years. 

B) Overload: Starting at a point where the intensity might be 50% then increasing up to 80% or higher depending on your goals. This principle will attempt to put the body under a positive stress to develop.

C) Adaptability: The body will respond and adapt to the movements that occur. At specific points in the program you may need to change what activities you do and adapt in a new way.

D) Use it or Lose it: To continue to move over time as not to decrease the gains that you have accomplished.

E) Continuity: Bridge the program together in a way that keeps you moving to your eventual goals.

F) Reversible: With any type of slacking off, the body can resort back to pre-exercise levels.

G) N.R.R.: New: to prepare new movements in the program/Review: to periodically check over what you have planned and completed per your goals/Renew: consistently renew goals as time progresses and the body adapts.


1) F: Frequency: the amount of time you do activity per week

2) I: Intensity: The amount of exertion put forward in each exercise/activity

3) T: Type: The movement or movements chosen in the program

4) T: Time: Spending from 30 minutes up to 2 hours or more depending on the outcome of a practice or game/activity.

Change the routine periodically every 3 to 4 weeks as not to plateau, or burnout doing the same activity/movements every time you workout.


An Active Functional Warm-Up

Warm-up to Move-up

A proper functional warm-up lasting from 5 to 15 minutes prepares the body for activity.

A) Hip Circles: Begin with large muscle mass movement of the hips to warm-up. Proceed to the knee and then the ankle: this way the large muscles are getting the blood flowing to the legs and then to the smaller muscles of the leg as you go ahead down to the foot.

B) Shoulder rolls to the front and back, leading to the elbows and then finally to the wrists. Again the larger muscle mass begins the warm-up leading to the smaller muscles around the elbows to the wrists and fingers.

C) Then back to the hip to complete hip rotation back and forth. Moving to the upper spine and moving in rotation. Neck movements from side-to-side and flexion and extension to warm-up the neck region.

Aerobic Type Programs

1) First fundamental movement is walking and increasing the intensity to a fast walk. As you progress into jogging and then to running in which large muscle mass movement occurs. Biking at a low intensity can also be taken to a higher intensity as time progresses.

2) Swimming which is a normal movement for some people may take more practice for others. This movement is one of the best choices for aerobic exercise.

3) Treadmill, step machines, rowers, and stationary bikes are other alternative pieces of equipment that give variety to different muscle groups.

Weight Training


A) Repetition: One complete movement of an exercise; i.e., flexion and extension of a bicep curl 

B) Set: Total of repetitions completed per exercise; i.e., complete ten repetitions of a bicep curl

C) To reach different goals lifting these repetitions can lead to one of these four:

1) General Health: eight to twelve repetitions

2) Strength:  seven to nine repetitions

3) Power: four to six repetitions

4) Endurance: fifteen repetitions or more

*Increase 5% when you are at the end of the repetition range of one of those listed above to progressively overload.

*Breathe in during relaxation/Breathe out during exertion


Maintenance to Termination

Lifestyle Opportunity-Components of Health

      Now that at least six months have passed and you are still with your program; these lifestyle components of health will go into Termination mode as you progress throughout your life:

A) Psychological: Mental and emotional components will improve

B) Social: Being around others and healthy relationships

C) Physical: Exercise and a better intake of calories from proper eating

D) Intellectual: Thought processes are better

E) Environmental: Inside and outside surroundings seem beneficial to activity

F) Spiritual: Meaning for your life