You just know your friend or family member could benefit from making simple changes to their training or nutrition, but they seem resistant to it. It is so obvious to you that lifting weights could get rid of their health issue and get them off of the pills. They see what you do and see if works well for you. Why wouldn’t they take your advice and jump right on it?

 

There are many reasons for their resistance. Let’s see how you can be more effective at making a difference.

 

 

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Reason #1: They Are Intimidated by Your Hardcore Routine

Working out isn’t natural for most people. Barbells, torn up hands, sweat, soreness, and Facebook posts about a vomit bucket don’t appeal to them. And those kettle balls look dangerous. Even a perfectly reasonable strength program can seem intimidating to someone who doesn’t lift.

 

The solution: Break down the barrier by explaining that while exercise is essential for health, for some people it can be a hobby as well. Discuss that it doesn’t have to take over their life, and there are certain exercises that can help them without sweat and tears. You need to convince them that making small changes can pay big dividends. Otherwise, why would they bother if they aren’t planning to commit to a big program?

 

Reason #2: Talking About Training Makes Them Defensive

Nobody likes to be called out. It immediately brings up a defense shield. They know they are overweight, or weak, or whatever the problem may be. It’s a sensitive issue.

 

"You don’t have to be a trained coach or therapist to make a difference. Just be helpful, non-judgmental, and leave the door open for people to ask for help."

The solution: Just be helpful and leave the door open for them to ask for assistance. People will hint at topics that they want to talk about but may not be ready to hear your answer. For example they may say, “I would give it a go, but I’m too overweight. Maybe in some other life.” Instead of agreeing or saying anything too direct, a good response would be, “I struggle with these kind of things too. If you ever need help or guidance I am here for you.” They may want to talk about it immediately, or it may take time. At least you gave them confidence that you will not judge them and just want to help.

 

Reason #3: They Feel They Don’t Have Time

Time is just a barrier. It may be a real issue, or it may be an excuse to change the subject. Either way, you can help them gain confidence by showing them that there are things they can do.

 

The solution: They may ask you for help, but don’t pour it on them. “I would exercise but I have no time” is an invitation for you to say, “Sure, it can be time consuming, but you can still get a benefit by doing a few minutes each day.” I love giving people five push ups a day. By accomplishing this, they win (who doesn’t like to accomplish what they said they would), and it can lead to more confidence. The person will find more time because it is something that makes him or her feel good, and so they naturally want to do more.

 

Reason #4: Bad Experiences in the Past

I’d like to talk specifically about diets here. Almost everyone has tried a stupid diet at some point. They are not ready for the thought of doing another diet. However, doing something proper and reasonable is a tough sell because it will take too long to see results, or so many people think.

 

"By relating to their issue, you can become a source of support rather than an outsider who is way beyond what they can feasibly envision themselves doing. "

The solution: Don’t sell anything. Get them to come up with the solution. Ask questions and listen. Something like “What is the main thing holding you back?” can lead to answers such as “too much sugar,” “no time to cook,” “cookies at the office,” or whatever. Take their answer and ask another leading question such as, “What easy change can you make to start to chip away at this issue?” If a person comes up with a solution his or herself, they are much more likely to do it because they own it. Just keep asking questions that will break the problem down to a few simple solutions.

 

Reason #5: Just Not Sure They Can Stick to Something

This problem is basically a summary of what we already discussed. It comes down to self-confidence and support. Previous failed attempts at exercise or diet can raise some serious barriers. Give people the opportunity to win. The 10,000 swing challenge may not be the best program to convince someone that lifting is cool. Ten hip raises a day may be the best program for them.

 

The solution: You don’t have to be a trained coach or therapist to make a difference. Just be helpful, non-judgmental, and leave the door open for people to ask for help. By relating to their issue, you can become a source of support rather than an outsider who is way beyond what they can feasibly envision themselves doing. 

 

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