Too often I have seen great progress with clients for fall by the wayside. Why does this happen? A very common reason, inadequate Social Support.
These are 4 Social Support strategies I recommend as a personal trainer to keep you on your fitness journey.
1. Find a Fitness Buddy
I'm sure you have heard the phrase, “You are the product of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Don't know who said this. For exercise and fitness this couldn't be more true.
You hang around people who enjoy a healthy and fit lifestyle, you will get fit and be healthy too.
I encourage all of my clients to find a fitness buddy. This is someone that will hold you accountable and vice-versa. Having a friend to go on a journey with will make it that much easier.
Find a fitness buddy you enjoy spending time. Make sure they are a positive influence and encourage you, as well as you motivating them in return.
Can't find a fitness buddy easily? Consider doing group exercise classes such as yoga, cycling, pilates, etc.
3. Ask for Support
Make sure that the people around in your life understand the fitness journey you are going on. Ask them for support and help. You need to make the right decisions not just in making time for exercise but in eating the right foods that are have nutritional value.
Perhaps you friends and family might even be interested in getting “back into shape” too. You could invite them to join you and become your fitness buddy.
As part of asking for support you should also ask for reminders about staying physically active. This includes keeping training appointments or regularly going to the gym or making time for workout sessions.
3. Gamify the Goals
As part of making an exercise program fun you should gamify the goals. What does that mean? Basically turn it into a contest.
Let's say if you go to 10 yoga classes in a row without missing a single one you had one your schedule, you get to go on short weekend trip. This is a great process goal for you to make for yourself.
Better yet make a competition with your Fitness Buddy. Of course remember the main objective is accountability, not to gloat with your friends who are trying to make you more fit.
4. Find Social Fitness you Enjoy
Doing the same type of exercise without a team sometimes ins't the right move for you or clients I work with. I encourage people and my personal training clients to not only find a fitness buddy but to find social sports and fitness you enjoy.
This could include joining a local swing dance club, hiking, climbing, signingup for a recreational baseball league, etc. You get the idea it's not just a group exercise class but something that gets you out there and is social.
I've found this has done wonders for some clients. It's changed their outlook on leading a more balanced and healthy lifestyle. Especially ones that are more introverted.
Admittedly I am someone who mainly focuses on lifting weights by myself. I do sometimes workout with other people. In recent years I've walk-the-walk so to speak. I've signed-up for many recreational sports leagues to experience new ways of moving my body and enjoying the company of new people.
What are your thoughts about social support and fitness? Do you like these tips? Have anything more to add?
How has Social Support helped or hurt you on your fitness journey?