Applying operant conditioning to your fitness program is a lot of fun. It’s especially fun when you focus on positive reinforcement as your primary method of teaching yourself healthy new habits.
I wrote a blog post similar to this about 4 years ago. It’s a great reminder post, so if you are feeling nostalgic for retro ZooFit (before it was called ZooFit, even), definitely check it out.
In my last post, we discussed why punishment is an outdated method of training animals, and an outdated method of training ourselves. But there is still often confusion about using reinforcement.
Consequences to our actions are effective in shaping behavior. It’s been proven time and again. So, if punishment is as effective as reinforcement, why does it matter which method we choose to shape our fitness? It matters because it changes our motivation drastically.
Over the history of ZooFit, I preach about positive reinforcement. This usually instigates a series of questions- Positive what? What is positive reinforcement? Why use positive reinforcement? And the ever popular, “Oh, you mean like having a burger after the gym?” (I go into a series of posts to answer this one simple question)
The most basic set-up for establishing a new behavior is using the ABC’s of operant conditioning. Establish an antecedent, a criteria for behavior, and a consequence. But some habits are little more complex. For instance, going to the gym. Yes, GETTING to the gym is often the hardest part of establishing a habit. Implementing an…