There’s nothing worse than a friend trying to convince their nearest and dearest to do something that they simply don’t have any inclination of doing. If you are chilling in front of the TV with the latest box set and an awesome tub of gelato, there’s no way you’ll be saying yes to that pal who turns up at your door lycra-laden wanting you to whip on your gym gear and attend the advanced spin class with them. While you may have a friend who could do with a health overhaul, it’s not up to you to force them to face their fitness demons. They have to want it for themselves. And even then, you can’t be all guns blazing everytime you see them, trying to coax them to a boxercise session, head to the latest raw food vegan restaurant or stop them from buying a donut like an overbearing mother. Take a look at how you can help a friend in need of fitness without alienating them in the process.
It’s all too easy to take an authoritarian approach when trying to help a friend in need. You need to be more relaxed and remember why you are friends in the first place. Go out, have fun, partake in a few drinks, meet up over dinner and don’t look perturbed if and when they order dessert. You need to be a pal and lead by example. If you have recently quit smoking and your bestie is interested in your latest e-liquid, consider purchasing them a vape kit to help them give the nicotine the heave-ho. If you’ve both been known to enjoy a bottle of wine or two or three on a night out, go teetotal for a little while. The chances are your friend will join you to support you, not realizing that it is you turning the tables on them. Sneaky and sly, but also caring and supportive!
Forget about turning up their doorstep unannounced and making them attend a workout with you. Instead, ask your friend if they wouldn’t mind heading to the gym with you once or twice a week to help you train for a 5k run, a hike or a cycle ride. As a pal, they’ll be more than willing to do this. As you have more fun down at the gym, you will both be more eager to attend classes, try new exercises and have a go on more of the equipment. This will aid your friend’s fitness levels, help them lose weight and ensure that they lower their risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure.
Rather than heading out for dinner, why not encourage dinner parties amongst your friendship group. Every week you could take turns to cook up a culinary extravaganza. You could challenge yourself to invent a three-course dinner party menu for under 800 calories. By doing this you are taking on a shared responsibility and it will prevent your friend from feeling so alone in their fitness quest.
Being a good friend isn’t about showing tough love. By doing this, you run the risk of your pal not returning your calls for a while or even losing your relationship altogether. Lead by example, talk lots and simply be a listening ear. When ready, you can embark upon a health journey together and be the ultimate supportive friend.