Theory of Planned Behaviour for PTs

As the world becomes more health-conscious, the demand for personal trainers has increased exponentially. However, it is not enough for personal trainers to design exercise routines and provide nutritional advice. They must also understand the psychology of their clients and be able to motivate them effectively. This is where the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) comes in. In this article, we will discuss the TPB and its applications in the context of personal training.

Introduction to the Theory of Planned Behaviour

The TPB is a theoretical framework that explains human behaviour in the context of goal-directed actions. It was first proposed by Icek Ajzen in 1985 and has since been applied to various fields, including health psychology, marketing, and environmental conservation.

The TPB is based on three key components: attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control. Attitudes refer to an individual’s beliefs about the behaviour and the evaluation of its consequences. Subjective norms refer to the social pressures and expectations that influence the behaviour, while perceived behavioural control refers to an individual’s perception of their ability to perform the behaviour.

Applying the Theory of Planned Behaviour to Personal Training


Personal trainers must understand their clients’ attitudes towards exercise and nutrition to design routines that are both effective and enjoyable. By assessing their clients’ beliefs and values about health, personal trainers can tailor their approach to suit their client’s goals and preferences. To identify their clients’ attitudes, personal trainers can use interviews and questionnaires. Personal trainers can then use various strategies to address negative attitudes. For example, they can educate the client on the health benefits, provide positive reinforcement and encouragement, design workouts that are fun and engaging, and offer nutritional advice that is both healthy and delicious.

Subjective Norms

Personal trainers must also consider the social pressures and expectations that influence their clients’ behaviour. By understanding the social context in which their clients operate, personal trainers can provide support and motivation tailored to their client’s needs. Creating a positive and inclusive environment for their clients is essential. This can be done by including group workouts, social events, and online support communities that will help to normalise health and fitness in their client’s social group.

Perceived Behavioural Control

Finally, personal trainers must consider their clients’ perceived behavioural control when designing exercise and nutrition programs. By understanding their clients’ perceived ability to perform the behaviour, personal trainers can tailor their approach to suit their client’s needs. If a client lacks the confidence to undertake change, the goal must be revised and broken down to make it more manageable. There is a big difference between believing in your ability to lose 1kg of body fat versus losing 6kg, or going to the gym twice a week versus going to the gym five days per week.


To conclude, personal trainers can help clients adopt healthy behaviours far more effectively if they help their clients develop a positive attitude towards exercise and nutrition, surround themselves with others that share those positive attitudes and behaviours, and set goals that challenge them but are within their perceived capabilities.

Want to learn more?

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