2017 has launched and with it a barrage of New Years resolutions, some lofty, some sensible and some outrageous but generally all with the motive of improving lifestyles through curbing a bad habit or adopting a good one.
Over the Christmas break I bumped into friends and family I hadn't seen in a while and the gym, training and nutrition came up quite a lot but generally from those who have been actively involved in fitness. Then a common theme kept coming up. They basically were lamenting their failed efforts to get their partners, friends, sons and daughters to get involved in the gym to become more active and healthier.
"I often try and get him to come with me to a spin class, but the lump wouldn't get off the couch"
"When I was younger I was playing 4 sports, all my young lad does is play call of duty all day"
"She's let herself go, I'm always asking her to lift weights its the way forward, but she has no interest"
If you've been involved in being physically active, if you know what your doing, if you have access to knowledge/equipment/facilities/coaches and if you care about the person your trying to help then your the one with the keys to the castle and you play a vital role in helping them across the drawbridge. If you've been making the same suggestions to them and it has brought little or no fruition or even worse, if it has created hostilities " I don't even bring it up anymore" well then you need to reexamine your approach and engage in a more supportive and considerate manner.
Here are 3 simple tips to help encourage and support those you want to get more active.
Drop the Blame Game & Hop aboard the Gain Train
Telling someone to go to a gym and not helping them with exercise selection, programs, exercise form, which gym to go to and which equipment to use is a recipe for disaster. You can't then wonder why they didn't enjoy it and haven't returned.
Sit down with them and put a real basic plan in place.
Grab a blank piece of paper and talk through the following points and jot down a few key words. Your input is for guidance and for pointers ( also add a bit of realism -arms like Arnold in 6 weeks, by eating 8 pieces of salmon and doing a 1000 curls a day kind of stuff needs a reality check)
If your not sure on the coaching, exercise side of things find someone who is, but this is about getting them through the door, don't get too bogged down on the detail.
Goals: Get fit and strong, play with the kids without running out of steam, get toned & lose fat
Why those Goals: Want clothes to fit better, Healthier parent for my kids, Confident in my own body
How do I achieve these goals: Engage in more physical activity( 3 times a week for 45mins+), Take personal responsibility for my eating habits, Commit to a program in a gym
How you will help them towards this: Introduce them to a new gym/coaches, sign them up for a package, you will attend with them the first few times,
Simple Exercise plan(or coach will provide one): Write down a simple total body program, with cardio. Alternating the exercises each day.
Schedule: Pick 3 days that you can be available (at the start) They have already found lots of excuses, don't give them another one. By being available and there, they have a positive support wanting them to do well
Sign it and take a picture of it: Them being accountability to you is wonderful but with the end goal of them being personally accountable.
Explain to them that they are basically running the show! Your there to help them out and give them direction but they are the driving engine and they determine how quickly they get to where they want to be.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day
This is particularly important for those in a relationship and even more so for those with children. Time is the get out of jail card that is often brandished and particularly when children are involved.
Schedule their times to train that make the most sense with their schedule , do not put them under pressure to make sessions or have times close to collections, appointments etc. If you do it won't take off. If it means having to promise to take over something shopping, kids to ballet, games etc. Take the step up it will be worth it in the long run.
Self Motivation is the purest fuel
Many a social media feed is awash with semi naked shredded bronzed ladies and gents telling the world to keep grinding, keep pushing, follow my amazing journey etc.......
Do not compare them to anyone else for better or worse, it's counterproductive. You want them to get the best out of themselves....... not anybody else.
Them doing it for themselves, self motivation is ideal but at the beginning its not going to happen. At the start you are the motivator :
Remind them of the fantastic feeling after finishing a session. Praise them for getting their training in and remind them why they are doing it and that through their own hard work they are getting better everyday.
Help them and encourage them toward little targets and congratulate them when they meet them. For example: Getting a chin up, 10 press ups, beating a max row time in 3 mins, New 3 rep max. When someone is routing for you it only helps.
Most importantly that they are not alone! You care about them and are willing to help them along the way. Remind them that you're in it together and by doing this they are going to be healthier, fitter,stronger, healthier and happier.
Getting people involved in fitness ,when it comes to loved ones , you've got everything to do with it!