Starting a fitness program can be an exciting, transformative experience but also intimidating and overwhelming. The beginning is the hardest part for many people, and having support and encouragement from those around us can be helpful.
If a friend or loved family member is considering starting a fitness program, you may be curious how you can best support them. In this article, we’ll explore what you can say to someone before they start a fitness program to help them feel motivated, empowered, and ready to take on this new challenge.
Things to say to someone before they begin a fitness program
When someone is considering starting a fitness program, offering support and encouragement can be incredibly helpful.
Before they begin, some things to say to them include acknowledging their decision, providing motivational support, offering to join them, helping them set realistic goals, sharing your personal experience, providing practical support, and reminding them to listen to their body.
These tips can help the person feel empowered and motivated to begin their fitness journey and set them up for success to crush their goals.
1. Acknowledge their decision
Acknowledging a person’s decision to start a fitness program is important to say to them before they begin. This shows you recognize their effort and commitment to improving their health and well-being.
By congratulating them on their decision, you can provide positive reinforcement and boost their confidence, which can help them stay motivated as they navigate the challenges of starting a new fitness routine.
Recognizing their decision can also show them that they have your support, which can be incredibly valuable in helping them stick to their goals and achieve success in their fitness journey.
Examples of how to acknowledge their decision:
- “I’m proud of you for prioritizing your health and starting this fitness program.”
- “It takes courage to make a change like this, and I’m impressed that you’re taking the first step.”
- “I see that this is very important, and I’m going to support you in any way I can as you start your fitness journey.”
2. Offer motivational support
Providing motivational support to someone who is starting a fitness program can be incredibly helpful. Encouraging words focusing on their strengths and potential can help improve their confidence and motivate them to reach their goals.
However, it’s important to offer support without overwhelming them. A way to accomplish this is to ask how you can support them and let them know you’re there to help them with whatever they need. Avoid giving unsolicited advice or pushing them too hard, as this can be discouraging and overwhelming.
Instead, offer words of encouragement and remind them of their progress, no matter how small. By providing gentle motivation and support, you can help them remain on track and achieve success in their fitness journey.
Examples of motivational support:
- “I believe in you from the very bottom of my heart and know you can do this. So keep pushing yourself and remember how far you’ve come already.”
- “You’re doing amazing! Every small step counts and is bringing you closer to your goals.”
- “I’m here to support you and applaud you every step of the way. You’ve got this!”
3. Let them know you’re available to be their workout buddy
Offering to join someone in their fitness program can be a great method to provide support and motivation. Having a workout buddy can make the process more enjoyable and hold each other accountable, making it easier to stay consistent.
Working out simultaneously can also be a great opportunity to catch up, socialize, and build a stronger bond. To make working out together a fun experience, choose activities that you both like and align with your fitness goals. You can also plan to try new workouts or exercises together to keep things interesting.
Finally, remember to respect each other’s schedules and fitness levels and celebrate each other’s successes along the way. By offering to join them, you can support them in their fitness journey and create a fun and rewarding experience for everyone.
4. Help and encourage them to set realistic goals
Helping someone set realistic goals is vital in supporting them in their fitness journey. Setting achievable goals can help them stay motivated and focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. One way to help them set realistic goals is using the SMART criteria.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This means setting clear and particular goals that can be tracked and measured, are attainable given their current fitness level, are relevant to their overall fitness goals, and have a deadline for completion.
By helping them set SMART goals, you can ensure that they have a clear and feasible action plan and can track their progress, providing additional motivation to keep going. It’s important to remind them that progress takes time and that small goals are just as important as big ones.
Encourage them to celebrate each achievement, no matter how small, and to focus on the journey rather than just the end goal.
5. Open up about your own experiences with fitness
Sharing your personal experience can be a powerful way to support someone starting a fitness program. By sharing your fitness journey, including your challenges and triumphs, you can help motivate and inspire them to keep going.
You can share with them what worked for you and what didn’t and offer tips and advice based on your experience. Encourage them to share their personal challenges and triumphs and be honest about their progress.
This can help create a supportive and non-judgmental environment where they feel comfortable sharing their struggles and celebrating their successes. Sharing personal experiences can also help build a stronger bond and create a sense of accountability.
By sharing your journey and encouraging them to share theirs, you can create a supportive and motivating environment that helps both of you stay on track.
6. Provide physical/practical support
Providing practical support is another way to help someone who is starting a fitness program. This can include offering to help with meal planning, grocery shopping, meal prep, or babysitting their children so they have time to work out.
Practical support can help them overcome logistical barriers preventing them from starting or sticking to a fitness program. However, it’s essential to follow through with any offers of help that you make. If you offer to babysit, for example, ensure you arrive on time and are reliable.
If you offer to help with meal planning, follow through and provide meaningful help. By providing practical support and following through on your promises, you can help make starting a fitness program easier and more manageable for your loved one.
Examples of how to offer practical support:
- Offer to meal prep with them: Meal prepping can be time-consuming, but it’s integral to maintaining a healthy diet. Offer to meal prep with your friend or loved one by cooking together or taking turns cooking meals for each other.
- Take care of their kids: If your friend or loved one has young children, offer to watch them for a while so they can go to the gym or enjoy a fitness class.
- Join them for a workout: If you have experience working out and feel comfortable doing so, offer to join your friend or loved one for a workout. This can help them feel increasingly more comfortable in the gym and provide motivation and support during their workout.
7. Encourage them to listen to their body
It’s important to remind someone starting a fitness program to listen to their body because this will help them avoid injury and prevent burnout. Beginning a new fitness routine can be very exciting, but it’s critical to keep in mind that progress takes time, and listening to your body’s needs is essential.
Encourage your friend or loved one to start slowly and gradually increase their workouts’ intensity over time. Suggest that they pay attention to any pain or discomfort they experience and to adjust their workout accordingly.
Remind them that rest and recovery are just as important as exercise and that taking a break when needed is essential for avoiding injury and maintaining motivation over the long term.
Starting a fitness program can be daunting for some people, but it can also be an empowering and transformative experience with the right support and encouragement.
By offering motivational support, helping them set realistic goals, sharing your personal experience, providing practical help, and reminding them to listen to their body, you can support your loved one to feel motivated, confident, and ready to take on this new challenge.
Ultimately, the most impactful thing to do is to be there every step, offering guidance and encouragement when needed and celebrating their successes as they reach their goals. With your help, they can achieve their fitness aspirations and improve their overall health and well-being.
Photo credit – CANVA Pro – Artem_Furman
Natasha MacFarlane is a writer, blogger, and mental health advocate. After being diagnosed in her 20’s with bipolar disorder, Natasha has worked tirelessly to educate others’, culivate community, and share her experiences to ensure no one ever feels alone. In doing so, Natasha has two self-published poetry books exploring some of her darkest times, 2 blogs, and an Instagram community that has grown exponentially in it’s only 6 months of being around. When Natasha isn’t writing, you can find her walking in nature with her toes in the grass, listening to her favorite true crime podcasts or playing soccer with her 3 kids. Natasha enjoys a slower pace of life in a small rural Manitoba town with her husband three kids and is fueled by her passion for words.