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Transtheoretical Model-Stages of Change

The transtheoretical model (TTM), also known as stages of change, was developed by James Prochaska from the University of Rhode Island back in 1977. TTM was developed as a way to help better understand where a person is in their life in relation to helping them change a habit or repeating action, such as smoking.

There are five parts to the stages of change:

  1. Precontemplation-those not interested in taking action in the near future, at least for the next six months
  2. Contemplation-those that are interested in learning how to change in the next six months
  3. Preparation-those that are planning on taking action in the immediate future, usually within the next month
  4. Action-those that have made modifications in their lives within the last six months
  5. Maintenance-those that are continuing their modifications, and making sure they do not relapse, usually from 6 months after to 5 years
  6. Termination-those that have successfully changed and have no temptation to relapse

According to the model, it is important to know what stage a potential client is at. If for example you meet someone who is in the precontemplation stage, using information such as facts as to why they need to lose weight if they are diabetic, is likely to not work, as they are not interested in hearing it. However, if the person is in a state of contemplation, they will be more willing to listen to what you have to say, which could help move them into a stage of preparation quicker.  Likewise, if you begin talking to the person about how much weight they have lost if they are in preparation, they might not respond well and end up going back to a state of contemplation (as people can freely move forward and backwards within the model).

One thing to keep in mind about the TTM model is there is little experimental evidence to prove that it can help an individual change.  However it is good to keep in mind that when speaking with a potential client, not all of them are at the same point in life. You may have to adjust what you say to the client or you could potentially scare them away from wanting to use you as their main fitness professional. For more information on the TTM model, visit




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