Basic Fitness – 10: Pay it forward

I mentioned at the end of eight that one of your goals should not just be helping you but helping and encouraging others. It is commonly observed that gymnasiums are much busier just after New Years when people have made resolutions to get fit. It is also commonly observed that things go very quickly back to normal as people give up on these goals.

Many regular gym goers understandably find this both irritating and amusing. The former because there is more of a wait to get to the equipment and the latter due to the speed at which resolutions made in a new year tend to fall away very quickly. The cynicism is understandable but something you should never forget is that you were probably that person once you first. Even if you were always slim, you probably weren’t always muscular. Even if you were never that overweight, you were still overweight. Don’t forget this because it is easier than you think to fall back into old habits or even develop new ones.

All I’ve been doing up to this point is writing. Writing is productive but it would be worthless if I hadn’t done what I have written. If I hadn’t gone through a lot of this myself and overcome it and I was in fact an obese man with very bad habits, you would find it very difficult to take me seriously and I certainly wouldn’t expect you to.

Keep this in mind when you reach or come much closer to your health and fitness goals. Remember that people who struggle will be able to see the results. People you know will be surprised at the change that has taken place. Many of them will be themselves unhappy with their own lifestyle. Just being someone that has been there and overcome it can be  very encouraging.

I’m not encouraging you to go up to people and tell them they need to lose weight or that they have a poor diet. I’m telling you that when people come to you looking for advice, you deliver it honestly and encouragingly. If you notice someone has made changes, be sure to let them know you have noticed.

In the gym, rather than observe new members cynically in January, you might try welcoming them and encouraging them. Show them how to use things, maybe even tell them how much sticking to it did for you. You can do all of this quite easily without appearing condescending.

This bit of advice is certainly aimed at others but this will ultimately help you too. The more people around you that are committed to keeping fit and healthy, the easier it will be for you. You’ll be less likely to fall into bad habits. You’ll be encouraged and challenged to do better by those around you. And if you or someone you know falls, into bad habits, you or they will have the support they need.

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