As the holiday season approaches, I am often asked for advice on how to get someone else started on a fitness program. As many of us are fortunate to have so much, every year it seems harder and harder to give a gift to a loved one that quite often has most of everything they want or need anyway. One thing you cannot easily give another person is health. Ultimately the decisions each of us make in terms of activity, food intake, and getting proper rest play a large role in what we can control about our health. If you are thinking about trying to get a friend or family member started in fitness here are some ideas that can help.
Centre some of your visit with them around physical activity
We often find it easy to spend time with each other over dinner and perhaps a drink. It could also be a movie or a watching a sporting event. These activities can be fun, but they can also contribute to lower fitness levels. We are so fortunate to have many great areas around Kingston such as Lemoine Point or Cataraqui Creek . If someone has not been physically active for a while, the notion of going to a gym may be too much, too soon. You may not be able to dictate their level of activity, but adding even something like outdoor walks as the reason for your time together can help ease someone back into placing a higher value on their own level of fitness.
Help them understand how difficult it was for you to start your fitness journey
We all know that the hardest part of fitness and health is just getting started. All of us started from somewhere, and helping your friend or family member along is really about them deciding that they should take the first step. It can be intimidating giving fitness advice when you may be seen as the healthy person telling another person that “they should start going to the gym.” Even suggesting you will take them may be intimidating. Help them understand that your first steps were also difficult.
Break down a vision into more specific targets
Simply being fit is not a goal. For most people it’s what you do with that fitness that makes it tangible. Oftentimes a milestone birthday, turning over the calendar to a new year, or the birth of a child or grandchild can help someone understand the importance of fitness. Use these milestones to help plant the seed of fitness. A timeline that can spark someone to action today may be knowing that they may want to be an active grandparent and be capable of caring for that child in a few years. Their goal may be to one day have the ability to take them on a hike, go camping, or on a bike ride. Working backwards, it may be that taking up a running program can lead to a 5KM or 10KM race eventrun, or an introductory triathlon program could provide a measurable short term goal that gets them there.
What we can offer at Focus Personal Fitness?
We have many programs to get started. First off, it’s essential that someone who has not been active for a while gets a basic assessment. We do those for free. Our winter indoor cycling or Megan’s learn to run program are designed for beginners. One other popular trend at the gym is having two people join a regular personal training session. It’s a sad reality that we are often more committed to others than we are to ourselves – but use this to your advantage.
We see a higher level of long term commitment when members join with either a close friend or a loved one. It also costs less per person than a one on one session. It may be that the best gift you can give someone this year is a combination of your time and their fitness. If we can help, contact Hope and we will get you planning.
Happy Holidays from our team to you and yours. Be safe and keep fit.