As a coach, this past nine months of helping triathletes through a global pandemic has presented many new and unique challenges. At the forefront is the health and safety of my athletes, friends, family, neighbors, and the population as a whole. COVID has affected me; personally, my 83-year mother was in the hospital for four weeks with the virus, and my middle daughter is a nurse and was assigned to a COVID ward. So, I understand how COVID stress can affect a person’s motivation, and COVID is still a variable that many of us are trying to process. I think it’s essential for every athlete to take a personal inventory of where they stand on their participation in a healthy lifestyle and their training goals.

An individual’s commitment and motivation to adapt to long term and life-altering changes to live a healthy lifestyle and commit to training often involve multiple actions and behavioral changes to achieve their goals.  Many individuals are at different stages of readiness or willingness to adapt to a healthier lifestyle; some may have started exercising more frequently or monitor their nutritional intake. The state of readiness or the state of change that an individual resides is a significant element in the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of behavior (Glanz, 2020). The Transtheoretical Model has been used in behavior research and has been useful in explaining and predicting such behaviors as eating habits and physical exercise (Glanz, 2020).

The Transtheoretical Model theorizes that there are six key stages of change in health behavior: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination (Prochaske, & Velicer, 1997). 

  1. The pre-contemplation stage is when an individual has no intention to change their behavior to a healthier lifestyle. 
  2. The contemplation stage is an increased awareness that a behavior change is needed, or they are planning on making a behavioral adjustment but have not committed to change. 
  3. In the preparation stage, the individual is dedicated to adjusting their behavior to lead to a healthier lifestyle. 
  4. In the action stage, the individual has implemented behavioral modifications to adapt their behavior. 
  5. In the Transtheoretical Model’s maintenance stage, the individual tries to maintain current behavior without entering the next stage or termination stage. 
  6. In the termination stage, the individual fails to continue with the behavioral modifications that led to a healthy lifestyle (Prochaska, & DiClemente, 1983). 

The Transtheoretical Model theorizes six key stages of change in health behavior that can help an increase in activities that can lead to a healthier lifestyle. If an individual can modify their behaviors through self-efficacy, the Transtheoretical Model action and maintenance stages can be achieved without outside intervention. Still, self-efficacy is not always obtainable for segments of the population. Many barriers can limit an individual’s journey from pre-contemplation to the action stage of the model. Additional motivation such as training partners, a pre-determined training plan, or the help of a coach or personal trainer may help an individual into the action stage and prevent relapse into the model’s termination stage. 

With the possibility that life and racing may return to a sense of normalcy in the not to distant future. Now is the time to take inventory and determine if your desire, determination, and discipline are ready to meet your healthy lifestyle and racing goals. Use the Transtheoretical Model to assess your state of readiness and make any adjustments to move into the action stage. Stay healthy and see you at the finish line. 

Coach George Epley strives to understand what makes you unique, and then finds the best way to fit those elements together to help you reach your full potential.  He has a passion for knowledge and believes it’s the key to maximizing your potential.  His credentials and additional training philosophies can be reviewed here.

References

Glanz, K.  (2020) Social and Behavioral Theories. e-Source, NIH, https://obssr.od.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Social-and-Behavioral-Theories.pdf 

Prochaska, O, J., Velicer, F, W. (1997) The transtheoretical model of health behavior. American Journal Health Promotion, doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-12.1.38 Prochaska, O., J, DiClemente, C. Six stages of behavior change model. Research Gate,https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Transtheoretical-Model-stages-of-behavior-change-Note-Adapted-from-Prochaska-J_fig2_267096772

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