We are all travelling our own path toward health and fitness and we all have our own goals and views on what fitness is. By mapping out a path and identify where you are, can help you move to the next stage of your fitness journey. These stages are not defined by someones age, but defined by their state of health. A child could reach the final stage towards fitness and then life changes and they are back to the start, blissfully unaware.

The Unaware

At this stage a person is unaware of their fitness level. They don’t care, it has not bothered them and this point of their life they have no need to exercise. When I think of this stage I think of a 22 year old who spends their weekends out at clubs and at home on the couch recovering from the night before. They maybe rapidly decreasing their fitness levels but are blissfully unaware.

The Aware

This is the point where a person comes to the realization that they are no longer as fit and healthy as they use to be or not as fit as they would like to be or not as fit as their peers or age group. The realization may have come to path when their old jeans no longer fit due to a gain in weight, a doctors advice from a health scare, returning to a sport they gave up in the midst of being so unaware and realizing how unfit they are or a loved one raising concern. This is the most important stage, now is when you face a fork in the path. Turn right and change………… or turn left and pretend to be Unaware. Right will be hard work but everything in your life will get better. Left will be easy but everything in your life will slowly get worse. It does not matter how long you have been in this stage there is ALWAYS away to turn right and head towards health.

The Miss-led

This is the point when someone has passed the awareness stage, they have identified that they need to change something, but nothing will stick. This person has tried every fitness craze from Zumba DVD’s to Personal Trainer’s. There maybe many different reasons why nothing has stuck or nothing has worked, maybe it has been their commitment or the program was not engaging. At this stage everything can get confusing and the fitness market thrives from it; HIIT Training, Functional Fitness, Holistic, Core strength have all become buzz words that keep you confused and jumping from craze to craze. It is easy to become so confused on what is the best approach for reaching your goals and the more miss-led you become the harder it is to find the right program.

The next three stages I have stolen from Carl Paoli. I have found them to bring more meaning to what my job as a Coach. This is the stage that I come in! and depending on your fitness level and commitment will depend on how long you spend in each stage

The Child

This is where a person will learn and start to break away from the confusion the fitness market has made. They have found that one thing that keeps them engaged enough to let them selves be the beginner or a baby and learn how to move again. It takes a lot of trust in the Coach to move through this stage. Like a child everything is new and everything needs to be explained, demonstrated, imitated and practiced. If you have an ego and don’t like being the beginner, your fitness journey could end here. If you have no trust in your coach or trainer, progressions will be skipped and the journey will be delayed. This stage takes commitment and patience.

The Adolescent

If someone has found the right coach and have trusted them through the learning process, they will move into a adolescent stage. Carl Paoli explains this stage as the point where the person becomes more daring and curious and wanting to venture out on their own. Experimenting with different training techniques, moving out of their comfort zone and pursuing new and harder challenges. This is a important stage of development learning to find your own way, but it has its risks. Someone may focus on the areas they enjoy training and develop weaknesses. Some may loose sight and regress, but it is all moving you forward to the next stage.

The Adult

At the point of development the person finds maturity in their practice, realizing they still have weaknesses and still need help. This can open up a more progressive line of communication and development. This is a point where real progress can be made, a base line of fitness has been established and now we can focus on meaningful goals. At this stage you are ready to reach the end point of your journey.