Exercise Psychology: Personal Training

In this episode, Gary goes on location to talk with Jeff McCarthy, a personal trainer in downtown Boston. They talk about the motivations behind personal training and the psychological approach that helps individuals get the most out of it and stay with it for indefinitely long periods of time.

Jeff got into personal training as a teenager to help him compete in sports such as football given that he was considered small compared to most elite athletes in that sport. Jeff's commitment to building strength and endurance enabled him to participate in semi-pro football for 19 years after high school, an extraordinarily long career. 

They talk about the early influence of celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger in popularizing weight training for strength and conditioning. In particular, they talk about the mental aspect of this kind of exercise that Schwarzenegger mastered before the science of exercise psychology became well established. Jeff shares examples of some of his practices to address the power of mind over body in the gym.

Gary and Jeff talk about the power of attention in particular and the importance of body awareness in physical development. There are many ways to perform even what seem like the simplest movements. Attention to particular body parts can help an individual understand the various ways of moving and learn to execute a particular way of moving. This translates directly into development of strength and balance.

Body awareness also helps an individual make connections exercises in the gym with activities of daily living that, on the surface, look like very different kinds of movement. In this way, development of the body can be a pervasive activity in which one continually educates oneself about one's own movement capabilities. Jeff emphasizes the importance of the gym in this kind lifelong education given the sedentary life styles at work and home that technology is forcing on us.

Contact Jeff or one of his colleagues through Thryve Fitness Solutions or Rock'n Fitness.

Listen to other episodes about Sport & Exercise

Listen to episodes from the first season, entitled "Science in the Wild."

Interesting Reads

Hillier, S., & Worley, A. (2015). The Effectiveness of the Feldenkrais Method: A Systematic Review of the Evidence. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015.

McAuley, E. (1993). Self-efficacy and the maintenance of exercise participation in older adults. Journal of behavioral medicine, 16(1), 103-113.

McAuley, E., & Rudolph, D. L. (2010). Physical activity, aging, and psychological well-being. JAPA, 3(1).

Weinberg, R. S., & Gould, D. (2014). Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 6E. Human Kinetics.