and Kenney offer fitness practitioners a comprehensive book on
exercise motivation and adherence. The authors recommend this
book for exercise leaders, program directors, health club administrators,
those involved in the development, operation, and evaluation
of corporate wellness programs, and others concerned about making
the most of fitness activities. This book attempts to answer
questions and address issues such as; how to deal effectively
with motivational problems; ways to make exercise more enjoyable;
appropriate exercise prescriptions; and preparing clients for
exercise. Although the book is based on sound research and theory,
the authors rely heavily on their years of experiences in preventative
and rehabilitative programs in both university and corporate
Chapter 1 begins by examining what motivates exercise behavior.
Ten major components of a motivational exercise program are discussed
in detail. The authors include these guidelines:
- "Clients will begin and maintain exercise only if the
outcomes of the behavior are valued. For each individual, it
is important to consider how exercise might compete with other
interests and/or responsibilities of daily life."
- "You should analyze whether probable outcomes of an
exercise prescription are consistent with clients' personal needs.
it is also important to establish realistic levels of goal attainment
for each client, to question whether these are in fact reinforcing,
and to counter problems associated with the delayed rewards of
- "You should establish and reinforce the proper balance
of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. A potential danger of extrinsic
reward structures is that they will lead to non-compliance when
the reward is no longer available. The real problem occurs when
clients believe that extrinsic rewards are being used to control
them rather than to inform them that they are doing well."
- "You should insure that clients believe that the prescribed
fitness activities will produced the desired effects and that
they have confidence that these effects can be produced if they
behave as directed."
- "Always consider the role of outcome expectancies and
self-confidence in determining behavior. A client's decision
to participate in a fitness program can be compared to a cost-benefit
analysis. Beliefs in specific cost and benefits become more influential
depending on their worth to the individual."
- "You should closely examine what clients believe they
have to do to attain desired goals. It is important to shape
these beliefs and subsequent behaviors so they are consistent
with constructive exercise prescriptions."
- "You should learn how to build on positive and to counter
negative social influence. Consideration must be given to significant
others (e.g., the family), as well as subcultural factors."
- "You should address the potential conflict between what
clients think or feel about exercise prior to a fitness program
and reactions following adaptation of the behavior."
- "You should be aware that the passage of time is always
a threat to the value of a given behavior or to established priorities."
- "You should program activities to match stages of the
life cycle. What people think and their personal needs change
Chapter 2 discusses concerns and techniques regarding the
interaction with your client, gathering relevant information
about your client, and how to evaluate this information to better
meet your clients needs and expectations. The authors include
an outline of a physical evaluation and interview including,
medical history, personal needs, beliefs, social support,
and reactions to exercise and life stresses. In addition,
6 suggestions for successful interactions are discussed:
- "Take advantage of first impressions."
- "Give clients an opportunity to tell their story."
- "Manage your interaction"
- "Choose your words carefully"
- "Don't control responses"
- "Emphasize personal responsibility"
Chapter 3 addresses the prescription process and motivation.
This chapters primary message is that an exercise program must
be tailored to the client. The authors recommend clarifying your
clients needs by the following steps:
- "Discuss needs and expectations"
- "Set attainable goals"
- "Monitor and renegotiate"
Chapter 4 offers suggestions for building and repairing commitment.
Chapter 5 describes how to use goal setting and feedback.
Finally, chapter 6 discussed specific components of the exercise
setting. Topics include, behaviors of the exercise leader, use
of reinforcements, motivational props, and the physical setting.
Fitness Motivation: Preventing Participant Dropout is
highly recommended for fitness practitioners or anyone involved
with client motivation and adherence. A major strength of this
books includes its practical approach in explaining the authors
concepts. Often concepts or points were followed by a case study
or pertinent example illustrating the idea in a practical setting.
The text was very easy to read yet was filled with a wealth of
excellent ideas and illustrations. The authors included several
cartoons which were not only entertaining, but added meaning
and accent to some of the major concepts presented in the book.
For readers seeking a comprehensive, well written, and practical
book on fitness motivation and adherence, few will be disappointed
with this book.