Most families have a loved one who is constantly choosing a session on the couch over one on the treadmill, leaving their friends and family concerned about their health and well-being. While many believe there’s simply nothing they can do, fitness experts have seen that providing support, inspiration, and healthy-habit forming advice to those you care about is one of the most effective methods to help them reach their fitness goals. Health and fitness expert, Mark McCarthy from Orangetheory Fitness provides his top tactics for motivating your family members to make healthier life decisions so that you can live life as a healthy and fit household.
1) Help create momentum. For many people, getting started is the hardest part of adopting a workout regimen. Chances are your friend or family member needs that extra little push to get them out the door running (literally). Show them that working out can be fun, help them explore exercise alternatives, and provide motivation without being too forceful.
2) Be sensitive. If you want the person you care about to be receptive about changing their lifestyle choices, make sure you don’t put them on the defensive. Be careful not to make them feel resentful or ashamed of what changes you’re suggesting. They will most likely want it to be their idea to make a change; your job is to provide additional support and help them along the process. Simply plant the seed in their head, water it, and watch it grow.
3) Do it together. Make your lifestyle change request about spending more time with one another. Training side-by-side will allow you to use your struggles and successes as a way to bond and feel closer in your relationship. It will also enable you to provide additional support and encouragement when your loved one needs it most.
4) Lead by example. The best way to motivate your family member or friend to make healthier decisions is to show them that you, too, are committed to changing your lifestyle. Lift a dumbbell after dinner instead of a pint of ice cream to help reduce some of the temptation that they already have to deal with on a daily basis. The less you waiver, the less likely the person you love will fall off the bandwagon.
5) Stay positive. Any progress that your loved one makes, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. Compliment them on their growth and make sure they know you are proud of them for their perseverance. This will help them be persistent and consistent about making healthier decisions in the long haul.
Making changes in one’s lifestyle is often a difficult and tedious process. Starting earlier rather than later, providing continuous love and support, and showing a positive attitude can help to reduce this struggle. Whether it’s through taking your own advice or giving a loved one the encouragement they need, you can be the key to change that they need in order to live longer, stronger, and happier.
Mark McCarthy is the head trainer at Orangetheory Fitness Ahwatukee. He is ACE certified and boasts more than 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. Mark loves the connections he is able to form in his role at Orangetheory Fitness and is passionate about helping people achieve results. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring the outdoors with his wife and their two beautiful daughters.