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2 Steps for a More Effective Workout

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2 Steps for a More Effective  Workout

What is Self-Efficacy?

Self-efficacy is, according to psychologist Albert Bandura who originally proposed the concept, a personal judgment of "how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations.” In other words, how effective you are with getting the results you want. 

What Leads to Low Self-Efficacy?

Many people do not participate in regular exercise or strength training due to lack of knowledge and experience, which leads to low self-efficacy.

Not enough self-efficacy, or self-confidence to work out safely, effectively, and consistently leads to sedentary lifestyles. As we all know these habits of not being active lead to a series of chronic physiological and psychological problems.

What Can I Do to Improve Low Self-Efficacy?

Step 1: Hire a Professional

A great starting point is to identify and higher someone who specializes in strength training. Someone with a degree and certification and a strong passion to help others is optimal. This person will believe in you before you believe in yourself. They will challenge your limits and capabilities in a safe yet effective manner. They will take you through progressive movements and loads to improve not only your strength and daily functioning, but your self-efficacy as well.

Step 2: Pay Attention

As you work with a professional, you will start to acquire knowledge and experience of how to:

  • - perform exercises
  • - rest, determine adequate reps, and sets
  • - breath and focus during sets 
  • - frequent muscle groups that should be trained
  • - hold yourself accountable
  • - safely progress in loads, reps, and exercises
  • - use psychological techniques to motivate and enhance performance such as mind-muscle connection
  • - schedule workouts
  • - set goals, imagery, and positive self-dialogue

 

Almost naturally with increased self-efficacy you will learn to find not only purpose, but enjoyment and pleasure in exercise.

Developing this intrinsic motivation is key to consistency and long-term adherence. Instead of trying to find a quick solution to rely on, you will begin to understand that the joy is in the journey and it is now a part of your lifestyle.

You will also notice that it positively effects everything else in your life, significantly improving your overall happiness and satisfaction with life.

To Summarize...

Whether you are just beginning with exercise or you have been doing it for years, professional trainers have the tools to take your self-efficacy to the next level making the learning process comfortable, enjoyable, and challenging all at the same time.

With more tools in your tool belt, your confidence and likelihood for success in consistent physical activity will significantly improve.

The trainers confidence (proxy-efficacy) in you will eventually turn into you having confidence in yourself. It is most common for people to use extrinsic support and motivation before adapting intrinsic support and motivation.

As was mentioned, engaging in behaviors for the sheer enjoyment and pleasure will ensure sustainability in those habits. However, no matter what stage of change your are in, both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and support are beneficial.

For most people it is not one or the other, but a balanced combination of the two that lead people to success. For example, someone may find more enjoyment in working out with a partner or group, and others may find it more enjoyable to engage in physical activity by themselves or in a private session.

It is best to identify and use the motivators that work for you. And just because they work now does not mean they will always work. There may be days where your usual motivators are not enough and you need to try something different to get you going.

After a certain amount of time (everyone is different), developing a stronger sense of self-efficacy will inevitably lead to greater success in your personal workouts, relationships with others, job performance, emotional and stress regulation, cognitive processing, and self-esteem just to name a few.

With greater self-efficacy comes greater happiness. After all, we are all on the same path to make the best of our lives and gain optimal life satisfaction on a daily basis.

Caleb Campbell

Certified Personal Trainer

Masters in Kinesiology, NASM, Group Fitness Instructor-AFAA

Resources:
Lox, C. L., Martin Ginis, K.A., & Petruzzello, S.J. 2010. The Psychology of Exercise  Integrating Theory and Practice. Scottsdale, AZ; Holcomb Hathaway,  Publishers, Inc.

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