7 Tips for Motivating Others to Exercise
How do I get my mom or dad to train? How do I motivate others to come to the gym and learn how to lift? These are common questions we get about motivating others. Below I’ll outline 7 tips to help you navigate the space.
- Assess their readiness. There is a model that details what these stages of change are, but simply get a sense of where they are. If they have no interest at all, it’s not worth arguing. If they have some interest, but not yet, give them time. If they’re interested and need some resources, be there to help guide them along the way. Meeting someone where they are saves you time and energy.
- Ask what they like to do or what they’ve done in the past. Start with what they like. If they hate going to the gym, convincing them to go 2-3 days per week is probably not going to work yet. Start small, start with what they enjoy, and slowly ratchet it up.
- Undermine their expectations. Many people assume that lifting weights means they’ll be super sore for days and leaving the gym a sweaty mess. If they decide to learn to lift, be extra conservative. If they’re very undertrained, it won’t take much for them to be sore the next day. Let them leave the gym feeling accomplished. They’ll feel like they did something that was tough but not impossible. They’ll be a little sore the next day, but no so bad that they won’t want to come in again.
- Record what they do. Seeing their numbers slowly improve over days and weeks and months provides a nice boost mentally. It shows improvement and growth.
- Be willing to change your approach. If they don’t want to do a barbell squat (for whatever reason), teach them how to do a leg press or a goblet squat. If there’s something they really hate doing, can you modify it slightly to get a similar result? There are many ways to get stronger. Adjust when needed.
- Be an example. Often, people who want to tell others about training have experienced positive results themselves. Maybe they’ve lost weight or gotten very strong, and now they want to spread the good word. Being a model of change is often what leads to a conversation with friends and family. They see the improvements you’ve made and want to know what you’ve done. You now have an opening to talk about what worked for you and provide resources.
- Don’t take it personally. Not everyone is willing and able to change. You’ll try over and over to get someone to lose weight or get stronger and you blame yourself for not being able to motivate them. It’s not you. Some folks just aren’t ready yet to make the change. You can’t force that upon them. Be there to help if they ever do ask for it, but don’t beat yourself up too much.