Embarking on a journey towards a healthier lifestyle often involves navigating through various stages of change. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or someone just contemplating a more active way of life, understanding these stages can be a key factor in achieving long-term success. In this blog, we will delve into the stages of change in relation to exercise, providing insights into the psychological and behavioral aspects that accompany each phase.

  • Precontemplation: The Ignition Stage

The journey towards a more active lifestyle often begins with a moment of realisation, a spark that ignites the desire for change. In the precontemplation stage, individuals may not be actively considering exercise as a part of their lives. This could be due to a lack of awareness, motivation, or the belief that change is unnecessary. It’s crucial to recognise this stage as the starting point, as it sets the foundation for the entire transformation process.

Tips for Progress:

  • Increase awareness about the benefits of exercise through education and information.
  • Encourage self-reflection on current lifestyle habits and potential areas for improvement.
  • Contemplation: Weighing the Options

In the contemplation stage, individuals are aware of the need for change but are still evaluating the pros and cons. This is a thoughtful and introspective phase where people weigh the benefits of regular exercise against the challenges it may pose. It’s common to experience a push-pull dynamic during this stage, as the desire for change competes with the comfort of the familiar.

Tips for Progress:

  • Set realistic goals and expectations.
  • Seek out resources that highlight success stories and the positive impact of exercise on overall well-being.
  • Preparation: Planning for Action

As individuals move from contemplation to preparation, they start laying the groundwork for change. This involves setting specific goals, creating a plan, and addressing potential barriers. This stage is marked by a commitment to action, as individuals actively seek the tools and resources needed to incorporate exercise into their daily lives.

Tips for Progress:

  • Look to create a detailed exercise plan, including types of activities, frequency, and duration.
  • Develop a support system, such as finding a workout buddy or joining fitness classes.
  • Action: Putting Plans into Motion

The action stage is where individuals actively engage in regular exercise. This could involve joining a gym, participating in group classes, or adopting a consistent home workout routine. It’s a time of significant effort and adjustment as new habits are formed and integrated into daily life.

Tips for Progress:

  • Celebrate small victories and milestones to boost motivation.
  • Utilise your support group for ongoing support and encouragement to maintain momentum.
  • Maintenance: Sustaining the Change

Sustaining a new behavior is often as challenging as initiating it. The maintenance stage involves consolidating the gains made during the action phase and incorporating exercise into one’s long-term lifestyle. This requires ongoing commitment, adaptability, and the ability to navigate potential setbacks.

Tips for Progress:

  • Establish routines that accommodate changes in schedule and life circumstances.
  • Realise the importance of enjoying the journey and finding fulfillment in the process.


Understanding the stages of change in relation to exercise is essential for anyone committed to fostering a healthier and more active lifestyle. By recognising and addressing the unique challenges at each stage, individuals can navigate this transformative journey with greater self-awareness and a higher likelihood of long-term success. Remember, change is a process, and each step forward is a victory on the path to a healthier, more fulfilling life.  Many models also include the Relapse stage following maintenance which is a form of regression to an earlier stage rather than a stage in itself.  This failure to maintain the existing position can prove vital as the client can now reassess their skills and reaffirm their commitment to their goals, learning and hopefully growing stronger as a result.  The use of a personal trainer may be beneficial throughout this process, particularly at the planning and maintenance stages.

Wherever you are on this journey, use the tips given to progress, be patient and expect a few ‘bumps in the road’, but ultimately enjoy the roadtrip to a new, healthier you



I am a fully qualified Personal Trainer with over 22 years’ experience. Find out more about my specific training and qualifications or book a personal training session.

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