Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Susan Hawk

Second Committee Member

Kelly Pritchett

Third Committee Member

David L. Gee


Personal Fitness Trainers working within their scope of practice are in a unique position to encourage client adherence to dietary changes that are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Some research shows that the quality of an individual’s motivation may play a role in goal success, and that implementation planning may be an effective goal adherence promotion strategy for those with autonomous motivation. However, little is known regarding this relationship between type of motivation, implementation planning, and goal adherence among personal training clients interested in improving their dietary habits. This 6-week mixed methods study sought out female personal training clients at a public comprehensive university who were interested in improving their dietary habits (n=19). All participants were presented with information about the DGA and asked to set a daily dietary goal to bring their diet in tighter alignment with those guidelines. They were asked to rate their source of motivation for the goal as either autonomous or controlled. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: Control group (C), or (2) Implementation Planning group (IP) both of which tracked goal adherence and reasons for non-adherence on a daily basis. In addition, IP participated in weekly implementation planning sessions. Results suggested that participants adhered to their self-selected daily dietary goals approximately 62% of the time, irrespective of group assignment. No significant correlation was found between the source of motivation, implementation planning, and adherence, although the small sample size makes it difficult to determine whether the lack of correlation was valid or due to low statistical power. In conclusion, more research needs to be conducted to determine what factors influence successful dietary change.