How to motivate others to work out
This post about how to motivate others to work out is sponsored by Premier Protein. Thanks for supporting our sponsors, and I hope you find this one helpful.
It can be hard for us fitness lovers to understand why someone wouldn’t be into working out. But I’ve got to be honest here, I’ve recently gained some perspective — as a very pregnant gal in the hot summer months, even one who is a certified personal trainer — I’ve found that going to the gym sort’ve sucks. There’s a lot you can’t do. Everyone around you looks so fit and mobile, unlike you. And you aren’t really seeing any sort of results as your waistline expands and your heart beats faster and faster from the smallest exercise move. While I’m not saying that because I’m pregnant, I get a pass (because I’m still working out). I’m saying that if you’re not in great shape and you’re also not able to do whatever you want in the gym, perhaps due to an injury or lack of knowledge, plan or skills, sometimes that makes working out … well … tough work and therefore much easier to live without. My current condition has taught me this for sure.
And that being said, if you’re reading this, you have an interest in fitness and health, and you likely have a good routine down. You probably already know we’ve talked a ton on A Lady Goes West about how to make yourself take a rest day each week, tips for taking your first group fitness class, common fitness and workout terms explained, what you should know about working out in the morning, your biggest fitness questions answered and so much more. But one thing we’ve never really talked about here is how to share that information or that motivation with those around you in your life who mean a lot to you and who really need a little push in the health department. That’s what today is all about. And I have to give a shout-out to the lovely ladies of the A Lady Goes West Friends Facebook group who suggested this topic. They are the best. (Want to join us? Click here.)
Let me start this one out by saying that getting healthy is NOT just about working out though. Being active and moving around is essential for creating muscle tone and mobility, but you also need to eat whole foods, get quality sleep, have a stress-management program in place and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. But today — let’s focus on the working out part, because that can be one of the harder aspects to begin.
How to motivate others to work out
You love the people in your life. And you want them to be healthy just like you, so they feel good and enjoy their lives too.
So try a combination of any of these tactics, depending on the personality of the person you’re hoping to motivate, and make sure you don’t get too frustrated or take things too personally either. We’re all learning as we go …
1. Start very small and begin to build.
Getting someone to work out doesn’t have to start with you dragging them to your favorite high-intensity group fitness class, like Orangetheory Fitness, BODYPUMP or BODYATTACK. In fact, that may be a recipe for disaster — so don’t do that, because you’re bound to scare them away and make them feel inferior.
Why don’t you start with adding an evening power-walk to your routine that you both do together before dinner? After a few weeks, you can replace some of the walking with jogging and eventually turn that session into a walk/run cardio workout, which you can do four or five days a week — and you have to be the one to make sure that you always go at the same pace as the other person, so it feels like a joint effort (not to mention, you’ll be spending quality time together and hopefully chatting a bunch).
While only doing cardio movement outside doesn’t make a well-rounded workout routine, it certainly does make the beginnings of one. Start small, and go from there. (Bonus points for providing the upbeat music and the route for each of your sessions.)
2. Meet them where they need to be met to get started, and it won’t necessarily be where you are right now.
If the person you want to motivate to work out is a morning person and likes to get up early, then that’s when you need to be encouraging them to get active — before work. If you are not a morning person, you’ll probably want to work on that to make sure you are supporting them in their new venture, at their preferred time. Change up your ways a bit to meet them where they need to be met to get going.
And if the person you want to motivate is scared of the gym, maybe you can find some home workout videos (does anyone do videos anymore? DVDs or streaming, I guess) you two can do together, even if working out at home isn’t your thing, just to get the ball rolling. It’s about getting them comfortable, and maybe you’ll expand your horizons at the same time. Outdoor bootcamp in a park not your thing? Maybe your person would be all about the fresh air mixed with fitness. Find some sessions and give them a go!
(Don’t forget to introduce them to foam rolling and stretching after your walks and workouts too. Although my favorite foam roller above is not for the faint of heart, so maybe start with this one. My shoes and leggings and water bottle are here too.)
3. Find out what drives them, and use that.
If your best friend, brother or boyfriend isn’t into fitness, but is into competition, then there’s your answer. Try to get them started with being active by making a game out of it. Perhaps you can challenge them to see who can increase his/her weights on squats the most in one month? Or, maybe you can map out a 30-day challenge for push-ups or planks and make a little wager on who will win and stay the most consistent. Competitors love competition. Use that to your advantage. (But of course, remember that a day off from exercise each week and having lighter days are also important too, so be sure to share that with them.)
4. Put the focus on health and longevity, rather than appearance.
If you are constantly encouraging someone who is not in good shape to work out, they may think it’s because you want them to look differently. And if they start out feeling inadequate, they will likely quit. That’s why it’s up to you to explain the AMAZING post-workout feelings you get from exercise-induced endorphins. They will start to crave healthier food that fuels them too, as they see you jumping around fulfilled and happy from your fitness and whole foods diet.
Basically, it’s up to you to explain how much better they will sleep at night once they have a regular workout routine in place, and how they will hopefully ease any back pain that they’ve been having from sitting too much, by getting their body to be more mobile and so on. Make it all about the feelings and the health. Also, don’t forget to mention how they will ultimately have more energy and be healthier for the long haul too — so you can enjoy many more years together. Health is wealth, people.
(When you start to work out, you start to crave healthy foods and even superfoods like this beautiful bowl. You’ll also want new gear, like my leggings, shoes and watch.)
5. Sign up for a competition or event with a timeline for preparation.
There’s nothing like a community 5K race to give you a reason to ask someone in your life to get active with you. Perhaps you can do some research on races, obstacle courses (although these can be super hard), or even bike-a-thons, and do one of those events in the name of charity. Once you’ve gotten your person to agree to the event, then you can work backwards to create a training plan, calling for workouts and movement several times a week. Make sure that you build in enough time for them to be successful.
And by the way, a community 5K is the perfect time to invite kids, grandparents and others into the mix, because it can always be done as a walk. Family fitness is way better than solo fitness.
6. Educate, without preaching, and let them ask questions.
I hope it goes without saying that you don’t want to bother your person too much with your “fitness ideas.” You don’t want to pester your person either. And if they are not appreciating or acting on your attempts, then you need to change course after a couple of tries. That’s where education comes in. Maybe you compile some case studies of people who have totally changed their lives with fitness. Maybe you bring some before/after photos of friends who have been successful lately. Or maybe you start gradually incorporating some more movement into the dates and activities that you already do with this person — like hiking on a Saturday morning rather than a movie — and go from there.
Be able to provide information on fitness options, suggestions for healthy restaurants, etc., and, remember, no question is a dumb question, so let them ask away about what to expect before they show up to a fitness class or even before they agree to a power-walking routine with you. (Also, don’t overwhelm them with too much fitness and health information up front. Take it slowly.)
7. Gift them just the right fitness package or program, at just the right time.
Once you’ve gotten your person to move around a bit, maybe you can surprise them with a paid fitness package that suits their needs. If you know your person loves martial arts, maybe you can find them some boxing lessons. Or, if they love dance, maybe you can find them a dance studio. And if they really want to build muscle tone, maybe you spring for a five-pack of personal training sessions at a private gym.
Of course, once you’ve reached this point, you can probably send them off on their own to enjoy the program without you. But don’t pull this card out too early, or it won’t go well. Save this one until after they’ve started implementing a little bit of change and are ready to take the next step, without you by their side.
8. Motivate them with healthy rewards, both short and long-term.
Try creating some shorter and longer-term goals. For instance, what if you set a goal for you and your significant other, friend or family member to work out 20 times in one month, and if you both complete that goal, you each get a professional massage or a new gym bag.
On the shorter scale, you could load up on pre- and post-workout nutrition for your pantry and fridge, so you know you have a tasty snack before or after your workout for you both, like these new Premier Protein Clear drinks, (which contain no sugar or artificial flavors and come in orange mango, raspberry and tropical punch and pack 20 grams of protein, oh my!).
You can also do something cheap, like offer to cover their chores for a weekend, if they hit their workout target for the week, etc. Whatever you choose to do, reward yourselves for being consistent with healthy-ish treats, so there’s always something more to look forward to, and you’re getting fit in the process.
(Fruity and full of protein, this orange mango beverage is refreshing.)
9. Praise them regularly.
If you’ve encouraged someone to change their lifestyle, know that it will take a couple of months for them to fight through the discomfort of that change. You will need to be quite supportive of them. That may mean helping them get their gym stuff set out the night before. Scheduling your workouts and putting it on their calendar for them. Providing full water bottles and post-workout bites for the both of you.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to thank them for their commitment and tell them all of the positive changes you see in them already, and they don’t have to be all about appearance. More energy, better posture, a sunnier disposition — whatever you’ve noticed, let them know!
It’s worth it: Share this one with your friends
Working out with your friends, family and significant other is the best. Not only does it keep you both accountable, but it’s more enjoyable and can strengthen your bonds too. It’s always worth the effort to try to get those around you on a healthy kick, so I hope you’ll try some of these avenues above.
And I’d definitely like to think that this is one of those posts that may help some people who really need the help. I would LOVE it if you shared this link via email or the socials to spread the good word on getting more people into fitness and share how to motivate others to work out. 🙂
Thanks for reading, my friends! Good luck out there!
Disclaimer: This post about how to motivate others to work out is sponsored by Premier Protein, a company with a mission to provide products for people to have energy every single day. They have ready-to-drink protein shakes, protein beverages, bars and even protein powder. I received compensation and complimentary product, but all thoughts, opinions and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the A Lady Goes West sponsors. They’re the best.Spread the fitness love. Here's how to get OTHERS motivated to work out with you on A Lady Goes West ... Click To Tweet
Questions of the day
How do you motivate those around you to get healthy?
Or, how have people around you motivated you to get healthy?
My husband and I were just talking about this the other day! He has a few co-workers he’s trying to help get into workout routines, these are great tips.
It also reminds me in Les Mills training one of the quotes that resonated with me, “Are we just making the fit fitter?” And I always think of these HITT classes like Oragnetheory, Barry’s, Flywheel, and that someone just starting to workout would be intimidated and probably dislike those classes at first.
I always try to motivate others by sharing my personal or others stories on how we feel in love with health and fitness.
Hi Patricia! I love that quote! And some workouts are just TOO HARD and intense for beginners, and a lot of people make the mistake of dragging their loved one to these super-hard classes. The studios want to sell packages, so they say they are okay for novices, but they really are quite tough. Anyways — I hope your hubs has good luck getting some of his coworkers motivated! As a coach, I bet he has some tricks up his sleeves too! 🙂 Have a great day, lady!
These are great ideas! When I was doing personal training I felt it was so important to meet people where they were at and focus on thier goals. The gym can be an intimidating place at first. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Emily! It sure can be intimidating to be in the gym! And trainers definitely need to meet their clients where they are — otherwise it’s going to be hard to make a connection and get them motivated. Have an awesome day, lady! 🙂
I’m trying to get my boyfriend to be more active since he is trying to get a full time job in finance. He currently runs a construction company with his brother so he says he gets his activity from that but once he has an office job, he won’t be active at all. I think I’ll try to set goals for him once he gets the office job as a motivator. And maybe sign us up for a 5k that he has to run with me 🙂
Hi Maureen! I lived many years with an office job and had to fit in my workouts. It takes work. My hubs wakes up at 5:30ish each day for the gym before work — and now that it’s his routine, he is able to do it on autopilot. It will be tough for your boyfriend to get those workouts in before or after work — but with your help, I bet he can do it. Good for you for being proactive and knowing he’ll need a little push!
All such great advice and way to motivate others. I think positive reinforcement is key!
Hi Susie! Sure is! It’s amazing what a few kind words can do to motivate people. 🙂 I know you’ve got experience with this with your runners for sure.
Love this! Such great points! Ultimately you have to be a great resource for someone so that in their own time they can come to you when they are ready!
Hi Kelli! Exactly — it’s always awesome when you lead by example that people around you and in your life actually come to you on their own accord to get started in a new fitness routine, for sure! 🙂 Here’s to motivating by example!
Hi Ashley! Thanks so much for this. The first point really struck me; I’ve been trying to get people to drink my variety of crazy Kool-Aid. I’m hoping to get some family to start living healthier, and easing them into it with walks or gentle yoga may be just the way to do it.
Hi Christine! You are SO welcome! Thank YOU for reading and weighing in. I think it’s so easy to try to preach what we love to others, but sometimes we have to be a little softer with our sell hehehe. Family walks are an AWESOME place to start!
This post is so me!! I’m always the positive one cheering everyone on during cross country practice haha. Smiling makes the workouts more fun, right 😉 ? I’m the workout guru in my family, so my dad actually asked me to help him get more fit. I’ll be sure to use these tips 🙂 !
Hi Meah! Good for you for being a positive influence on those around you! I love to hear that you’re smiling during workouts too heheh! Thank you for spreading the fitness love, lady!
Thanks for this post! I started doing Beachbody work outs (I’m super active and love going to the gym already, but it’s not going to work with my schedule anymore to go as often as I do) and I thought for sure they’d be too easy for me, but holy cow! You can get a GOOD workout at home! The amount of weight people have lost through it is amazing. I definitely try to remind my clients that their health is the most important and not to stress getting a day off schedule during challenges. It happens. We’re here for health!
Hi Liz! 🙂 I’ve tried a few at-home Beachbody workouts myself, and they are totally not easy at all! I love to see and hear all of the success stories from people incorporating Beachbody into their routines for sure. Good for you for trying something new to fit your schedule.
These are all great! #1 is something I need to keep in mind too. A local gym that I go to offers free outdoor bootcamp classes during the summer and I always try to motivate my co-workers to come along since a lot of us are part of a Wellness program for our insurance. I happen to love boot camp workouts but I can see how it would be extremely intimidating for someone who doesn’t work out as often.
Hi Megan, Workouts can be totally scary for people who aren’t familiar with them, so I get it if your coworkers are scared. But sometimes and outdoor setting can be more welcoming than a gym for sure. Good for you for motivating those around you! Keep it up!! And if they don’t want to take class, maybe a walk is in order for the group?