Life with a Twist by Mare_Petras


In her three decades in the fitness industry, Mare Petras, CEO (Chief Energy Officer) of Fitness Simply has been through all the fads and all the extr...

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Started: 14 Jun 2011

Last post: 28 Jun 2013


From No-How to Know-How

Aug0220111:20 p.m.

 “If we always do what we've always done, we will get what we've always got.”

 - Adam Urbanski

As my esteemed realbuzz colleague and fitness editor Suzanne Olson continues to report: There are many paths to fitness. Whether you are stuck in an exercise rut or eager to jump feet-first into any and every exercise du jour, it may be helpful to examine your learning patterns and how they can help or hinder your progress towards your long-term healthy living objectives.

Understanding how you move through the learning process (or don’t), helps to identify what you’ve always done and, perhaps even, give you an “aha” or two of a new way to do. To illustrate the learning process, let’s explore the four stages using a popular fitness trend, Pilates:  

From No-How to Know-How

Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetence

At this stage, you don’t know what you don’t know. For instance, you may not even know what Pilates (puh-lot-teez) is. If you have heard of it, you may feel ambiguous or iffy about trying it. Perhaps you feel satisfied with your present regime and uninterested in trying a new way to stay fit.  

In order to move out of this stage, you need to be aware that Pilates exists (awareness), that you don’t know how to do Pilates (knowledge), and that it’s something you want to learn (inner-motivation).

Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence

At this stage, you know what you don’t know. Pilates hits your fitness radar. Everyone’s raving about it and you run into a friend who credits her super flat belly to performing “The Hundreds.” You may still not understand the concept of Pilates, but you are motivated to sign- up to learn it. In this humbling beginner phase, you must deal with the frustrations and failures of learning something new. 

In order to move out of this stage, you must practice, persist, and persevere.

Stage 3: Conscious Competence

At this stage, you know how, but it takes effort. You finally understand how to From No-How to Know-How perform the entire mat routine with precision and skill, but it still takes lots of concentration and determination to use proper form.

In order to move out of this stage, the movements need to no longer master you; you must become the master over the movements.

Stage 4: Unconscious Competence 

In this stage, you know what you know! Performing the exercises feel like second nature. Indeed, you may find that you can mentally plan your evening menu while executing your workout.

At this stage, you may find yourself at a crossroads:  Some may be satisfied with obtaining mastery while others may desire new challenges such as shifting from student to teacher or taking a crack at a new skill level (and returning to Stage 1).


In exploring the four stages, can you spot where potential speed bumps occur for you?

a.) Is it Stage 1 where lack of knowledge keeps you in the dark or you lack the motivation to learn something new?

b.) Is it Stage 2 where you have to embrace a beginner’s mind?

c.) Is it Stage 3 which requires practice, precision, and patience?

d.) Is it Stage 4 where, once you achieve mastery, you become complacent, bored, or dissatisfied?

If so, it just may be time to embrace a new “do” . . . or two.

Until next time . . . Mare

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