It’s one thing to embrace fitness as a lifestyle for one’s self, but as many enthusiasts will know, encouraging those around us to follow suit and board the flight to fit can be an arduous task.
Yet it doesn’t require any Jedi mind tricks or ploys to bring those we love into the same way of life. Rather, a bit of honesty and constant motivational tactics can be some of the best methods put into practice.
The desire to see family and friends enjoy a more active lifestyle is particularly strong at this time of year, approaching the holiday season with everyone’s mind fixed on what the new year will bring and how we intend to improve ourselves, just like last year—and the year before that.
Being responsible for our own health can be difficult enough without having to feel accountable for anyone else, and there will be roadblocks along the way that can impede the path to a fitter you. Full disclosure, pushing someone close to us into change is liable to result in more than a few bumps along the way, including heated gym debates and early wake-up calls, but it’s all for the greater good.
Not everyone will respond identically to the same treatment, however, which is why we’ve dissected some methods that will work on the average person, as well as some that might only take effect on a tougher mind.
Safe Options: Be On the Same Team
This one’s a no-brainer. If you happen to be the early bird in your relationship, or that one family member with a gym membership, remember your goal is to join those around you on their own journey—not rub yours in their face.
If cardio is your thing, why not survive the apocalypse together and escape the undead legions with Zombies, Run!, or for those more experienced enthusiasts, the Nike+ Training Club is a great way to stay on track as a pair (or more), while finding more specific ideas on how to work out.
The most critical factor here is not making your loved one feel self-conscious about their current lifestyle choices, instead, help them realize the benefits of a healthier alternative and that this is something they truly want.
It also helps to have that special someone guiding you through the haze—after all, remember how hard it was to find decent, reliable information when you first took an interest in fitness? Now, you can be the guiding light who helps provide information on diet, exercise routines and the best supplements to take pre, post and intra-workout.
The 2009 Shape Up Rhode Island campaign found that those who lost at least five percent of their initial body weight during a weight-loss program were more likely to be on the same team. Tricia Leahey, PhD is an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, R.I. commenting on the influence of teamwork and its impact on fitness, she said:
It could be quite beneficial if a bunch of friends that choose to lose weight make healthy food choices together, and hold each other accountable to those choices.
Make Exercise Fun
One particular roadblock stopping certain people from boarding the gain train is a fear—or at the very least, a distinct dislike—of the gym. Any gym. And it’s completely understandable.
This is where trial and error has to come in on your part, and it can be exhausting at times. Weights and cardio machines aren’t the be-all-end-all of fitness, meaning it’s okay to start small with a weekly pick-up basketball game or daily sessions on Nintendo Wii Fit if that’s what it takes to get the ball rolling.
Admittedly, the gym can be monotonous, and someone’s distaste for those same walls could simply come down to a thirst for a more varied approach, and finding that mix can be a big task. Luckily, sites like SpotMeBro are on hand to provide a reliable and friendly source of new inspirations for workouts and diet tips.
Finding new and innovative ways to spice up your routine isn’t always easy, however, which is why we are here to provide you with fresh methods to progress, including saunas and hiking—fitness doesn’t have to be a chore!
Steve Stonehouse is a personal training manager at Crunch gym in New York, and he told Men’s Fitness that variety is a major factor in keeping exercise interesting, meaning you need to be proactive in ensuring workouts with your friend or loved one don’t become stale:
You can take turns leading new exercises and switching up the routine. Your body adapts and becomes efficient at moves that you’ve done again and again. The more you change up your workout, the better your body is going to respond.