How to build Fitness Self-Efficacy

There is no question that self-efficacy is very important, if not the most important, when it comes to sticking to a fitness program!

Self-efficacy is the extent or strength of one’s belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.

My dad and I after a 5k a couple years ago!

My dad and I after a 5k a couple years ago!

Perhaps you have struggled with following a regular exercise program or are a trainer whose job is to help improve your client’s self-efficacy or are just chatting with a friend about trying to lose those pesky 7 pounds for years… below are some helpful ways to build fitness self-efficacy:

Past experience – As Dr. Phil says: “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” If you have failed in the past, you are likely to feel like you will fail in the future. You think you can’t, so you can’t.


Support – People need support. Make sure you have someone who supports you in your healthy life style and let them know how important it is to you! And if there is no one in your life who can be your support system, join a fitness class or hire a trainer!

Perceived benefits and risks – You have to fully understand why exercise is important. It is not just to look good, but to improve and extend your life! That is no joke! The health risks associated with obesity are numerous and all too common….high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes, stroke…

Attitude – Try to find positive things about exercise: do yoga to relax, walk with your kids, sign up for a race with a good cause, or take a new class with a friend…

bad attitude

De-stress – Life is tough. Use exercise as a release. Or take the day off if you need to. But learning to manage stress is VERY important to your health! Stress can wreak havoc on your body, causing headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress is also linked to heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.

Belief in oneself – If you aren’t failing every now and then, you probably are not learning much.


Start slow – One of the best and simplest tips I ever received about running was to start slow. Slow with your pace, slow with your training, and slow with your expectations! Trying too much too soon is a sure fire way to discourage yourself! Our minds think we should be able to do all these things (which is not always a bad thing!) but sometimes our bodies just need a little more time to catch up!

Positive reinforcement – Give yourself a reward for all your hard work every now and then – buy a new outfit, get a massage, take a day off and sleep in. And don’t forget to give others a word or two of positive praise as well!

Visual reinforcement – Seeing another person who lives a healthy lifestyle makes the whole, big scary change seem attainable. As a fitness professional, exhibiting behaviors that a client can model is critical. You can tell me to build a canoe and it would seem like an overwhelming task, but if you showed me how, I could probably do it!

Set short-term goals – Set realistic and attainable goals that you can work towards and track your progress! Aim to walk for 10 minutes longer than last week or run a 5k quicker than your last time or complete so many push ups…

Have fun - And, of course, have fun! Your health is a serious thing, but fitness can be a lot of fun! Take advantage of all these new classes, workout crazes, and challenges that are out there now a days! Find what works for you and just start moving your body!


Dirty Girl Mud Run – July 2014

Trainers – How do you help encourage self-efficacy in your clients?

Exercisers – Was there a point in your life that you made the commitment to make exercise a part of your every day life? What was it?

Keep in touch, please….with a cherry on top!

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Confessions of a Group Exercise Instructor


While I would hardly consider myself an expert in leading group fitness classes (give me another 20 years for that!), I have had the opportunity to teach quite a few fitness classes at various locations to a variety of people over the past 3.5 years or so.

Sometimes I feel like I am totally nailing it!

And other times I really just feel like nut…



So whether you are a class participant, never took a fitness class before, new group ex instructor, or a veteran in the field (advice welcomed!), here are my confessions to you:

I spend quite a bit of time on this fitness stuff!

From putting workouts together, to researching different exercises and techniques, to continued education, to buying and picking out workout outfits (apparently sweat pants and college T-shirts don’t really scream fitness professional)!


See, if Mick Jagger wasn’t wearing a sweat suit – this would look totally cool!

I like to workout alone sometimes.

Being in front of a whole class who expects you to lead them through a great workout that is tough, but not ridiculously challenging, that is safe, but not boring, that is fun, but also effective… all the while ensuring no one looks like they are going to die or kill you… can be exhausting! So, I defiantly appreciate the times when I can workout all by myself and not have to think about or worry about anything or anyone else.


Love it when you have the whole gym to yourself!

I am not perfect.

PerfectionI don’t always eat perfect, have perfect posture, workout regularly, get enough sleep, drink enough water, stretch enough…

Unless someone is training (and training hard) for a particular event, it is highly unlikely and unreasonable for a person to be the perfect picture of health all the time. Yes, it is my job as a fitness professional to practice what I preach, but I believe health, like life, is a balance. Being obsessive to the point where life is all about perfection really is not my idea of healthy (or fun)!

When people tell me they liked my class, I keep it pretty cool, but really, it’s freakin’ great!

You are getting critiqued constantly when you are in front of a class. I usually try not to think too much about that and focus on giving a workout that people will take something away from, whether it is an exercise pointer or advice or just sore muscles! Nonetheless, you know people in your class have opinions, and I like to hear them, the good and the negative!

So often I will ask a class full of people a question and no one will answer. I get it, everyone is waiting for someone else to say something or people are just in that mode where they don’t want to think and just follow my lead, but those blank stares sometimes really make ya question what is going on in people’s heads! So, a little positive reinforcement goes a long way and shows me I am doing something right! And it definitely makes me want to do a happy dance!


Bec – Isn’t this your dance? 

That being said, feel free to laugh at my jokes!

I know I am no comedian, most of us instructors are not, but it sure makes working out more fun to have a few laughs here and there! Sometimes people don’t laugh at my jokes, and seriously, I swear sometime they down right just didn’t hear them! They must not have, or else I am sure they would be cracking up! :)

But really, fitness should be fun! And if you ever take one of my classes and I tell a joke, you better at least fake laugh!


“Hey I just met you and this is crazy, but tomorrow is chest day, so spot me MAYBE?”
Told ya, I am hilarious.

It kind of bothers me when people don’t listen to me.

Call me crazy, or bossy, but it kind of irks me to have people take my class and not listen to me. I used to teach at a gym where I had a couple ladies who always came to class and always did their own version of what I was doing. Ooook?

Then there are some people who when you tell the class to get light weights (4-6 lbs) because I want to do high reps of a bunch of shoulder exercises, they think they are tough and grab 12 pounds dumb bells instead. I am all about challenging yourself , but when I cannot complete the circuit I had planned because some people’s form is so awful that they look like they are going to strain their back with a weight that is too heavy, it kind of bother me!


I’m bossy! I’m the first girl to scream on a track
I switched up the beat of the drum…

I get class ideas from Google.

Like writer’s block, sometimes I get instructor’s  block! And the internet is an amazing tool. When I need some fresh ideas, I like to watch YouTube videos, read blogs, and google exercise ideas  (I recently looked up yoga inspired strength moves and core fitness exercises for golfers).

Sometimes every idea in my head for a class just seems to suck, so when I need to really pull it together, I am grateful for other fitness pros who have paved the way with awesome ideas for classes and exercises!


Playing tennis with a Carol is the worst!

I don’t work out ALL the time and am not always full of energy.

Yes, I like working out, yes, I like to feel good and be healthy, yes, I try to keep the jiggle to a little, but if I didn’t HAVE to be at this crack-of-dawn class, I would probably still be sleeping under my nice, cozy covers! It is a blessing in disguise to have to teach early though, because while it does SUCK to wake up early, once your up it is totally worth it!

funny animal sleep

Got an extra 45 minutes on your hands? Google “funny animals sleeping”, so cute (and time consuming)!

If you are a Group Ex instructor, what are some of your confessions?

When working out, do you like it when the gym is empty or buzzing with people?

Other posts about Group Ex:

Composing a Fitness Class

10 Things I’ve learned from being a Group Ex Instructor

Group Exercise Survey Results

Keep in touch, please….with a cherry on top!

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What I have learned in my first year of my 30s…

I had a birthday this past week. Since I have an August birthday, I got spoiled with not having school on my bday and have taken the day off work every year since college!

So that I did, with the intention of going to the pool. But it was really windy and rainy all day. So after breakfast with my dad and sister,  I took a nap instead!

Luckily the rain stopped in just enough time for some margaritas with my sista and friends outside on a patio!

bday celebration shh_fit_happens

Continue reading

5 Ways to improve a common #RunnerProblem (Tight Muscles!)

Pre-run on trail

If you read my blog, you may know that I am not really a hard-core runner, but I do enjoy a nice jog now and then! You may also know that I teach group fitness classes. In my classes, I have a few regulars who are avid distance runners. I see a common issue in class with many runners (and non-runners). This issue I am speaking of is tight musclesContinue reading

Why Kettlebell Swings should be your full-body exercise of choice!

kettlebell swing

Kettlebell swings are an AMAZING exercise. If you are only going to do one full-body exercise today…make it a kettlebell swing!

Seriously, grab a 15 – 20 lb kettlebell or weight (you are using your whole body so you can go a little heavier than you would if you were just doing a shoulder press or something) and knock out 30 kettlebell swings!  Continue reading

Summer time and the livin’ is easy

Wow, summer is flying by… and I have not posted in over a week and a half!! I have tried to keep up with blogging, but clearly I have fallen a bit behind! When I first started this wee little blog, I tried to post 2 -3 times a week…not so much lately.  I tell you, I don’t know how some of these bloggers keep up with it all….oh yeah, they quit their real jobs, have husbands that can support them, and become full time bloggers (how fancy)! :) tumblr_inline_n4v91ntP2y1qjygqr

While my life is not quite as fancy, I have been having fun while keeping busy with a few new fitness ventures, workouts, and enjoying the sun!  Continue reading

Fun weekend at the Dirty Girl Mud Run in Eastern PA!

This past weekend was a fun, and muddy, one! A group of awesome girlfriends formed a team and we called ourselves Mud, Sweat, and Beers!

Mud Run before shot
We dressed alike, we ran, we climbed over obstacles, we climbed under them, we crawled through mud, we hiked the hilly course in PA, we supported one another, we laughed, and we all stuck together like a true team!  Continue reading