Monday, October 25, 2010

The children are the future and our future needs to be healthy

WHAT: Childhood obesity is a major topic in discussion in today’s society.  With lack of physical activity, overweight children at a greater risk for adulthood health problems. Physical activity patterns of childhood and adolescence begin the lifetime patterns that promote health in adulthood, but unfortunately the evidence indicates that activity declines in adolescence, particularly for females (Gill & Williams, 2008). The main issue is to help these children participate in healthy activities that promote physical activity and well-being. The presence of an after-school program could help spark physical activity patterns within adolescents. The after-school program will be free of charge to the students. Students in this urban and public school district do not have many options for physical activity that would be free. Implementing such a program that the children can attend right after school that is free will give them another option to do something fun that also increases levels of fitness.

SO WHAT: If children that struggle with obesity are not informed on what possible health problems may occur later on, they may just shrug it off and never change their activity patterns before adulthood. Children who do not be come regularly physically active may be at risk for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and diabetes. Health belief model has considerable support to health behaviors and medical compliance but limited application to exercise and physical activity. This model includes four major components: perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits and perceived barriers (Gill & Williams, 2008). These components can be used in this program. The children need the facts stated to them loud and clear so they know what could possibly happen to them. Children also need to determine on their own that physical activity will be a great benefit for them or else they will not be motivated to participate. Researchers have found that self-efficacy to be a strong predictor of physical activity in various populations, including obese people (Gill & Williams, 2008).  This social-cognitive theory may help increase self-efficacy within these children and will increase the likelihood of them participating in physical activity. The self-determination theory focuses on self-motivation and the social environment. Overweight children participating in similar activities, such as an after-school program, can help optimize attendance for participating in physical activity. Being with similar children may increase their motivation since they all have a similar goal. The social presence of participating with other overweight children will help them feel comfortable enough to participate in physical activity.  The relapse-prevention model helps recognize risk situations and problem solving for the high-risk situations. Drop out rates can be as high as 50% while participating in exercise programs (Gill & Williams, 2008). The children will need to be informed of this fact and way to avoid being another drop out.

NOW WHAT:  I will develop the after-school program around three components. The first one will be academic enrichment. This will be a brief lecture about obesity facts. Giving the children a good understanding of what is going on and that how their physical activity can affect their health in adulthood, both negatively and positively. Participants will also be informed of drop rates and ways to avoid those trends. The participants will be given out a daily health tip as well as a handout over the lesson for that current day. They will also be given a binder so that they can keep anything given to them. This binder will act as a health handbook for them.  The second component will be to give out healthy snacks along with the brief lecture. This way the kids can learn that these snacks are good for them as well getting the healthy snack they need after school rather than eating candy or any other form of an unhealthy snack. Each day of the program will consist of a healthy snack and it will be printed out. The print out will tell how to make it and include its supplement facts. The participants can then keep this in their binder so they can put together a healthy snack book. They will be allowed to bring this home so that their parents can look over it and possibly keep some of these snacks on hand at home. The last component will be the physical activity, which will take up most of the programs time.  School-age youth should participate in 60minutes or more moderate to vigorous physical activity that is developmentally appropriate, enjoyable, and involves a variety of activities (ARTICLE). In this, the participants will start off with a healthy warm-up to minimize risk of injury. Each day will focus on a different activity then the previous day. This will help the kids stay motivated to come back to see what the next days activity will be. Each activity will be tailored to be more fun than more physically exhausting. The activities will involve the participants to be socially active, which will help increase their motivation and self-efficacy. The social aspect of being able to participate with similar overweight children will release the fear of competition like most sports and they will focus more on having fun and getting good exercise.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the main issue presented was adolescent obesity. This is a major problem in today’s society. After-school programs that are free for inner city children are a great way to help increase physical activity patterns. Positive change may increase for the children by giving them some information about obesity, a healthy snack, and some fun activities. Hopefully the process of programs like this can be created all over the nation so that we can start to reverse this occurrence of obesity in children. The children are the future and our future needs to be healthy.


Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008) Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise (3rd. Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Strong, W., Malina, R., Blimkie, C., Daniels, S., & Dishman, R. (2005) Evidence based physical activity for school-age youth. The Journal of Pediatics, 146(6), 732-737.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Keep the drive alive

WHAT: Ben insists that him and his friend Jack need to start working out. They hired Rudy, a personal trainer, to give them assistance in monitoring them and putting them in the right direction of training. The first two months of their training have been going great. Ben and Jack have been making great progress and showing amazing results. They weight train at least five times a week and are staying true to their program. Jack suggests to Ben that they should join group aerobic workouts to switch things up and add to their weight-training program only. Ben only wants to weight train and doesn’t take Jack’s suggestion into consideration. Rudy notices that Jack doesn’t seem to have the drive that he did when he started his training regimen and that his progress has seemed to plateau. Jack struggles to stay motivated to workout and push himself.  His main issue is that he lacks intrinsic motivation and has no choice of his exercise. Since Ben insists that they only weight train, Jack is becoming uninterested and needs to switch it up to keep his drive alive.

SO WHAT: After analyzing Jack’s current situation, it is not hard to distinguish that he has lost interest in weight training and wants to try new exercise programs. Even though he had great drive at the beginning of his training regimen, which he received great results, he has lost it that same drive.  His partner does not show the same signs as Jack and wants to keep continuing the weight-training program only. Understanding motivation requires consideration of individual differences and situational factors (Gill &Williams, 2008). Jack’s motivation has changed and his performance is being affected by it. Jack lacks intrinsic motivation; he no longer sees weight training as desirable and has lost interest. He has shown great progress with weight training but his results started to plateau, making it hard to keep that drive to succeed. According to the cognitive evaluation theory, intrinsic motivation requires being competent along with two conditions. First, the task must be interesting and challenging, the second, the participant must have choice in the activity (Gill &Williams, 2008). Ben is staying motivated because he chose weight training and wants stick with it, on the other hand, Jack wants to try something new to challenge himself and see progression once again. The self-determination theory states that the degree to which one’s needs are satisfied is related to self-determined behavior via motivation reflected on a continuum ranging from amotivation to extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation (Gill & William, 2008). This shows that if Jack is satisfied with a new exercise program his intrinsic motivation will increase as well and stay motivated. 

NOW WHAT: My advice for Rudy would be to sit Jack down and ask him what exercise program he would like to be doing instead of weight training or to add on to weight training. Rudy needs to determine what Jack can do to add self-determination to his workouts. This could be to let him chose what exercise program he wants to do. Even though Ben only wants to weight train, Rudy could tell Ben that he needs to switch it up a little bit and do something with Jack. They could split their weekly workouts up with doing half the workouts with what Ben wants to do and half the workouts what Jack wants to do.  Jack needs something new so that he can regain interest and motivation. Research has shown that when competence, autonomy and relatedness are satisfied, it enhances self-motivation and mental health (ARTICLE).  Rudy can also tell Ben the consequences of not switching things up for Jack could mean him not coming to workout at all, which mean Ben will not have a workout partner anymore and that he might stop working because of that. Ben could possibly enjoy a different workout program and want to keep trying new things to keep both him and Jack’s drive alive. I would also advise Rudy that it took Jack only two months to become bored with weight training. This means he needs to keep a close eye on Jack to notice the same type of trends he displayed when he was unhappy. If it starts to occur again it is necessary to change it up again to give Jack something new to grow interest in. If Rudy doesn’t want to wait for this type of motivational change in Jack he can insist on changing programs every six weeks to eliminate the loss of motivation.

Conclusion: In conclusion, Jack is having a hard time keeping interested and motivated with his current exercise program. His workout partner, Ben, shouldn’t hold Jack back from entering a new and challenging exercise program. Allowing Jack to chose an exercise program to start doing or to add to his current weight training program is crucial. He needs a new sense of interest and a new challenge to pursue. After talking with Ben, hopefully he will join Jack so that they can remain workout partners. Having a workout partner can be a great extrinsic motivator. With a new exercise program Jack’s intrinsic motivation will be increased allowing him to push himself towards a new challenge. 


Deci, E., & Ryan, R., (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. The American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78.

Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How to get motivated

WHAT: As a former collegiate athlete, working out was a big part of the sport I competed in. Offseason workouts consisted of around seven months of vigorous training. After my college career ended, working out regularly has been a hard task to accomplish. Becoming motivated to workout and continuing to workout has been my main issue. There was no reinforcement implemented by a coach or teammates anymore. There are no goals already set for me, it is just whatever I want to accomplish with no one to impress but myself. There are days where I would normally workout but would just blow it off because I’m tired, sore, or have other tasks that I need to get done for school or etc. Sometimes after missing a workout it is very easy to miss the next one because I say to myself, “I didn’t work out yesterday so I can miss this day as well,” then it could turn into “I’ll just start fresh next week.” After noticing my schedule for the rest of the semester is starting to become more hectic, it will be harder to keep motivated to get my workouts in. I am too easy to put off my workouts for other tasks that could have been done earlier or at a different time and lack motivation for my workouts.

SO WHAT: After self-analyzing my situation, I determined that becoming motivated and the lack of reinforcement are my major problems. Malott and Suarez describe reinforcement as any stimulus, event, or condition whose presentation immediately follows a response and increases the frequency of that response (Gill & Williams, 2008). While a college athlete, many goals were in place for my training and now I just have an overall goal of staying fit. I believe that I need to set new specific goals need to be determined to achieve more motivation. Exercisers who set process goals had significantly higher intrinsic motivation and adherence to the six-week exercise program than exercisers who set outcome goals or no goals (Wilson & Brookfield, 2009). Along with setting new detailed goals, I will implement a behavioral plan. I will be using Spieigler and Guevremont’s seven step behavior plan; (1) Clarify the problem, (2) formulate goals for the consultant, (3) design target behaviors, (4) identify the maintaining conditions of the target behavior, (5) design a treatment plan, (6) implement the plan, and (7) evaluate the success of the plan (Gill & Williams, 2008).

NOW WHAT: I first need to determine outcome goals for myself to achieve by the end of my training period. These goals will include; weight, body fat percentage, 1RM’s for certain exercises, maximal repetitions for certain exercises, and the length of cardio sessions. Now I will move on to my behavioral plan. The first step is to clarify the problem, which is to stay motivated even with my schedule and my state of fatigue. The second step is to formulate goals for my training program. I already set outcome goals for my training program, now I will set some specific ones for it. Considering I have problems working out after skipping a day, I think that I should set a goal of getting in four workouts per week. This will give me the flexibility of missing a day if I have to while still getting the work in to achieve my long-term goals. Another goal will be to encourage friends to work out so I have some extra motivation or the ability to motivate someone else. The third step is to design target behaviors. I will use one of my resistance training programs that will work best for me to keep me on track of getting the lifts and repetitions I need to accomplish my goals. Being able to check them off on paper will help me stay motivated and to get through the entire workout. I will also design a cardio program to follow the resistance training program. This will be tailored to reach my running goal I have set for myself. The fourth step is to identify the maintaining conditions of the target behavior. To maintain my target behavior I will use the ABC model presented by Gill and Williams (2008). If consequences are positive, the behavior is likely to occur again in the future. If I notice the positive changes in my physique are due to staying true to my workout program then I will be even more motivated to stick with it or push myself even more to accomplish my goals. The fifth step is to design a treatment plan. Reinforcement will be used in this step. This could include people giving compliments on the way I look, the way I feel by sticking with my workout plan or by treating myself to some personal rewards. The sixth step is implementing the plan. The workout period needs to be given a date and monitored by checking off all my exercises and cardio after it has been accomplished. The last step is to evaluate the success of the plan. This step will be accomplished if I reached my goals that I previously set prior to starting the workout.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, implementing goal setting and a behavioral plan can help give back the motivation I once had. Staying motivated to complete each workout will be a true test but it should be accomplishable with goals and the behavioral plan. Identifying my problem then create a written out plan to help change this will be a good way to stay self-regulated.


Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Wilson, K. , & Brookfield, D. (2009). Effect of goal setting on motivation and adherence in a six-week exercise program. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 7(1), 89.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Don't let your emotions get the best of you

What: At a camp for elite junior tennis players, a camper struggles with keeping his emotions under control during match play. With great athletic potential, this player is easy to show anger and anxiety with bad calls, personal errors and opponent moves.  He rides an emotional rollercoaster during play and this performance matches his emotions. His potential is far from reached, especially in late rounds of competition when it is its most crucial. When competition begins to get tough, he begins to crack under pressure. The main issue for this athlete is the ability to control his emotions. His emotional distress weakens his ability to perform to his potential during match play. Being able to control his emotions during a match will help improve his performance and his consistency.

SO WHAT:  My initial analysis of this athlete is that he is letting his emotions control his performance. He is letting his emotions get that best of him and his performance suffers due to his inability to cope with his emotions and stress.  According to Gill and Williams (2008), in competitive anxiety, physiological arousal typically is accompanied by cognitive worry, and increased cognitive worry is associated with lower self-confidence and poorer performance. His performance is based on his emotional state during play. He needs to be able to control these emotions and stress so that his performance is not affected. Gill and Williams (2008) provide emotional-control strategies, such as Lauer’s three R’s for anxiety control and performance enhancement on hockey players. Lauer’s three R’s can be applied to this tennis player’s problem as well. The three R’s stand for react, relax and refocus. When an athlete is quick to get angered or anxiety levels increase, Lauer suggests reacting to this negative stimulus. An athlete must realize this negative emotion is occurring and try not to let it control them. The athlete then must relax, which is the second R. They must calm down by using deep breathing or self-talk. The last R is refocus. The athlete must then refocus on the game or situation and not let this emotion hinder their performance.

NOW WHAT: First and foremost, a meeting with the athlete should be completed to discuss all his current emotional and anxiety state during play. Determining what thoughts are going through his head and how they make him feel when a bad call or a personal error is made are crucial in the process of helping this athlete. This will allow me to recognize his control issues and then decide how to specifically help this problem area of his game so that his emotions do not hinder his performance. Using Lauer’s three R’s will be the main strategy to help him control these negative emotions. First, he needs to be able to recognize this stress that occurs due to bad calls or personal errors. After recognizing these feelings of emotion he can notify himself of what is going on and to not let it affect his anxiety level. Being able to accomplish this step is crucial so that he knows what is going on in his body psychologically as well as physically. After determining these negative emotions have taken place, he then needs to proceed on to the second R, which is to relax. Relaxation strategies, such as breathing techniques and self-talk, will be given to him so that he can use either to be able to relax on command. The breathing technique will be to breathe slowly and deeply while counting to four (Gill & Willams, 2008). Deep breathing is a simple way to relax quickly with control ones heart rate. Self-talk strategies will also be implementing for relaxation. Positive self-talk may include “I hit the net with that serve but the next one will be an ace,” or “My opponent got that one by me but next time they will not.” Lastly, after he is calmed down using a relaxation strategy, he needs to refocus. He needs to refocus of the match he playing. Simple cue words or phrases can be used to help to get back in that game (e.g., “Focus on the ball,” “Ace this serve”). Once the athlete is refocused, he can return to the game without letting the emotion and stress effect his performance. Another strategy as a coach at camp will be to give positive reinforcement to the athlete as well as using Lauer’s three R’s. The “positive approach” appears to prevent or counteract stress produced by competitive demands as well as increases enjoyment of the activity at hand (Smith, Smoll, & Barnett, 1995). I think this state that the athlete needs to have fun as well in sports and not let emotions harm their performance. Having fun and a good attitude may prevent these emotions from entering the mind in the first place. As a coach, staying positive and not putting stress on the athlete will relieve the athlete from increasing their anxiety levels.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, our athlete is struggling with managing his emotions during play. His emotions are negatively affecting his performance and limiting his potential to be the best tennis player he can be. Using Lauer’s three R’s will help him keep his emotions under control. Being able to react to his negative emotions, relaxing instead of becoming more aroused and finally being able to refocus on his tennis game is his ultimate goal. The strategies of Lauer’s three R’s should help him fill in that gap in his tennis game in becoming a complete tennis player. Also as a coach, giving him positive support throughout practice and during match play should help him enjoy tennis more while not receiving more stress from an outside source. Staying positive will be his key to success.


Gil, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champain, IL: Human Kinetics

Smith, R., Smoll, F., & Barnett, N. (1995). Reduction of children’s sport performance anxiety through social support and stress-reduction training for coaches. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 16(1), 125-142.