How Can You Convince Your Spouse/Friend/Relative/Child To Get In Shape?

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TOPIC: How Can You Convince Your Spouse/Friend/Relative/Child To Get In Shape?

The Question: Bodybuilding and being healthy is very important to you. You can't imagine why anybody would not want to live this way. Unfortunately, your loved one does not feel the same way. The complain about their looks, they are eating in a way that will cause long term health problems, and they just can't ever seem to make it to the gym.

How can you convince them to REALLY try to get in shape? How can you do this without making them upset, making them feel bad about themselves, or "nagging" them constantly.

Share your success stories if you have done this before!

BONUS QUESTIONS: 1. What made you first start working out? When was it? Have you always cared about being in shape and being healthy? If not, what convinced YOU to start caring about it?

2. Do you have any loved ones that NEED to work out/eat right but don't and may be headed for health problems? How does that make you feel? Have you told them? What was their response?

The Winners:

      The best response will get $50 in credit to use in our online store!

1st Place - chewwy

I don't know about you, but I sometimes feel as if, by bodybuilding, the whole world has turned against me. Sure, there are the other bodybuilders in the gym, and a friendly face every now and again in the street, but on the whole, people are for some reason against me trying to physically better myself.

Why? To me, it seems perfectly logical to follow this fantastic lifestyle, always on an upwards slope to superiority and self-betterment. However, to all these 'civilians', unaware of truly what this sport is all about, they think I'm crazy if I even think about suggesting they come with me to the gym one day - "big muscles? pff, I don't want to look like some steroid-guzzling freak", or "diet? nah, I'd rather have a burger…".

The Training Partner...
A good training partner can help you immensely in your workouts but a bad one can spell disaster...
It's all too easy to despair for these people, and give up. However, don't! The rewards, if you manage to convince a friend or relative to convert and join you in the pursuit of a better body, are great. Not only will you have a super-fit friend, relative or lover, but you'll also find yourself pushing your own body further in the gym, since a training partner, particularly someone who you know well outside of the gym, is guaranteed to give you tons of extra motivation.

If you've read this far, you're likely to be looking for some tips into convincing your friend, or whoever, into getting into shape. Undoubtedly, you've already tried gentle persuasion, and shown them what bodybuilding has done for you, but they won't budge. It's time to get serious.

Health Benefits

It may be that your loved one has health problems. As obesity is ever increasing in the western world, the time to act is now - if you do nothing, it is likely that your loved one's health will further deteriorate with time, and it is foolish to rely on developments in medical science to prolong, support, and improve your life, when this is all possible simply through exercise and diet.

Be quite forceful, and warn your loved one of just some of the many problems which they may be experiencing, or are likely to in the future. A few examples are:

  • Heart disease
  • Strokes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Joint pain, arthritis etc.
  • Diabetes
  • Infertility
  • Weakened immune system
  • Mental deterioration
  • High cholesterol
  • Cancer
  • Skin disease
  • Stress
  • Premature aging
  • Death

These points should then ideally be backed up with scientific proof, and explanations of what each of these conditions means. Don't go into too much detail though, or you risk all this information going straight over their heads. A shock tactic like this may, hopefully, give them the wake-up call they need to get into shape.

The Benefits Of Strength Training!
Research demonstrates that resistance exercise training has profound effects...
Also do little things, like putting pictures of them on the beach last summer (looking the worse for wear) on the fridge, in the hope they'll think twice before grabbing an unhealthy snack.

However, what if this doesn't work? It could be that your loved one is, thanks to genetics and a bit of luck, in reasonable shape already, and doesn't see any of these problems ever likely to interfere with his life, or your loved one could play that immortal line; "life's too short…"

This is a rather ironic line, since, as you have just explained, bodybuilding will hopefully prolong your life, or at least improve the quality of it. It's time to take further measures…

Explain Exactly What Bodybuilding/Fitness Entails

A lot of people have preconceived ideas about bodybuilding, which nine times out of ten turn out to be incorrect. Sit down with your loved one, and explain to them exactly what a normal day in your life is like. Point out the differences between theirs and yours, for example meal times, and free time. Hopefully they'll see that it isn't all too hard to adjust too, and may actually be fun.

If you don't want to, or can't sit down and talk with them, instead just show them, by being around them more of the time, what your bodybuilding lifestyle is like. As they chow down to the remains of last night's pizza, whip yourself up a nice steak and baked potato, cooked to perfection - show them what a simple, nutritious, and above all delicious meal looks like.

Food Basics 101!
Use these basic nutrition tips to help you get started and you will be sure to achieve the success you have been looking for...
Educate them on what exactly is in their meals - one thing a teacher of mine once did was fill a measuring cylinder with the amount of fat present in a burger and fries. To this day, I remember thinking that there was no way I was going to fill my body with that amount of rubbish again, and I reckon it convinced a few other people in the class as well.

Educate them, by explaining what calories, carbs, protein and fat actually are, and what they do. Don't overload them with information, but just give them the idea, so they will hopefully find themselves doing things like looking on the back of food packets before they eat them, or choose to buy them. It is, of course, little things like this that pay off in the long term.

If you can, then get them to come with you to the gym. Most gyms nowadays are very pleasant places, and this will hopefully wipe away any fears your loved one might have been harbouring about the gym being intimidating and hostile.

Let them watch you workout, and see first-hand the pleasure you get from doing what you do. (It may be advisable to overlook the 5 reps of 20 squats on that day - puking on the floor will generally not be considered a good first impression to bodybuilding…)


Another thing which may of interest to them is a bodybuilding show. Take them to one, and let them see that it is possible for people just like them to create their ideal bodies. Most competitors are happy to speak to the contestants, and advice from someone with experience could really help sway the opinion of your loved one.

In summer, go to the beach or the pool with them, and show of your finely toned, muscular body. A little bit of sub-conscious shaming may do the trick to convince them they need to change themselves, and become more like you. Don't be too blatant though, after all, you don't want to lose your friend - looks aren't everything.

Flex, pose, hook up with better looking girls than them (this is not advisable if the loved one in question is your spouse or child…) and show them how, by having a great body, you also have loads more confidence!

Boost Performance With Encouragement!
What evidence do we have that verbal encouragement actually works?
Remember, if/when you do convince your loved one to get into shape, don't think the struggle's over. They will look to you for support and encouragement, and you must be there to provide it in those tentative first few weeks or months. They may feel disheartened when they don't see instant gains, and it will be up to you to ensure they don't give up.

After all, if you've gone to so much effort convincing them to change their lifestyle, you may as well make sure they stick to it! Help them set up a workout program, but remember that they will lack the experience that you possess, and so will need something simple and straightforward to get them on the right track.

And finally, send them over to There's a wealth of information to be found amongst the articles, as well thousands of workout programs, diets and the like. The store offers, without a doubt, the most reliable and simple service of it's kind, and its prices are unbeatable. And of course, they can get advice from fellow bodybuilders on the forums, like me. What more could you ask for?

As with everything, persistence is the key, so even if at first you don't succeed, try, try again! Good luck!

Bonus Questions

  1. I first started working out at the age of fifteen, during the summer break. Like a lot of teenagers my age, everywhere I looked, I was surrounded by beautiful people, at school, on TV, everywhere. It was not unusual therefore for me to have a longing to be like them. Amusingly, with hindsight, I started by doing hundreds of bicep curls with my lava lamp in my bedroom.

    The Milk Jug Workout & The Push Up!
    If you can not get the gym and don't have any weights, try the milk jug workout!
    Noticing no improvement in a couple of weeks, I figured I must be doing something wrong. A quick surf of the internet took me to, of course,, and here I found the Milk Jug Workout on the teen pages. A few weeks of doing this and I was actually noticing some gains.

    With my birthday coming up, I asked for a bench and a set of weights from my parents. I got them, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    Before this, fitness had always been an important part of my life, and I was always careful what I ate, though it did not really matter, since I was naturally very skinny. Bodybuilding has, for the first time, allowed me to put some muscle onto my bones, and my self-confidence has soared to new heights.

    The extra size and strength I have gained has replaced my former sporting talents - long distance running, for sprinting, and more manly, 'power' sports, which I'm very happy with. I'm no longer just another skinny kid, but one who stands out from the crowd, as being dedicated, hardworking, and oh-so muscular.

  2. My father, over my lifetime, has gained a lot of fat, and would now probably be described as extremely overweight. He is aware of this, and, being in a sporting and healthy family, gets this matter brought up a lot. He, himself, was a very keen cyclist in his younger years, and will still go cycling at least once a week. However, he never stops eating and drinking.

    He does not purposely go for fatty or sugary foods, and in fact stays away from them nowadays. However, the sheer volume he eats has over time caused his 5' 4" frame to become rounder and rounder. He is currently in the process of being diagnosed for liver problems, most probably due to his heavy drinking. I have, numerous times, tried to convince him to change his ways, and he has gone on several crash diets in the past, losing weight, them putting it back on.

    He now has a wealth of knowledge about nutrition in his head, instilled partly by me, partly by doctors, but, for reason I just cannot understand, cannot stop eating. It is quite sad to see him like this, but, as he's said in the past on many occasions, he enjoys his food, and enjoys his life, and would want it any other way. At his age, I suppose outwards appearance isn't that important anymore, and it's something he certainly doesn't care about.

    I'd prefer him to lose a lot of the fat from his body, but at the end of the day, it's up to him. He knows what will happen if he doesn't, and the ball is in his court now.

2nd Place - antihero

Ways To Get Others Started:

  1. You could take your friend to their favorite sporting event -> For example: you could go with a friend to a basketball game, then someone dunks the ball and the crowd goes wild. You then start up a conversation about how cool that was, he then makes the statement "I wish I could do that.". You can then tell him that he CAN accommplish that, and you can help him.

  2. You passivly suggest that someone needs to get into better shape. -> For example, you are "surfing the web" when you come accross a new study that shows specific figures about health and overweight people. You then show the other person, and explain to them that you are worried about their well being. You can then explain to them the additional side effects of being overweight, and then tell them that you would like to help them get into better shape.

  3. Go jogging, and ask someone to accompany you, so you have someone to talk to. Do this continually, and then a week or two later, give them a compliment, such as: "are you losing weight?" or "you look really good since you started jogging with me."

  4. Go lifting, and tell the other person that your spotter cant make it, and you would like them to come along, because lifting alone isn't safe. When you are lifting, tell them to give it a try (with a light weight), and try to get them interested, then invite them to come along again and again and again.

  5. Watch "pumping iron", or another good lifting movie, and invite the other person to watch it with you.

  6. Make a bet with someone. -> For example: "I bet you that I can get into better shape than you by the beginning of summer." Direct the other person to important sources of information, that will be useful.

  7. Tell them about your own experiences, and how much you enjoy it.

Bonus Questions:

  1. (I know this seems cliche, but...) I became interested in bodybuilding about 1 year ago. I was out of school for about 2 weeks because the medication for my epilepsy was all screwed up, and I didn't do anything all day long. I laid on the sofa, ate once every other day or so (then threw it up), didn't move, and did very little. I was then flipping through the channels when I saw someone doing squats with tons of weight.

    I was amazed, even though I had no idea who it was, or what I was watching. I checked the TV guide, and it was an Arnie movie (with Lou Ferrigno). I then began to watch. I watched as he began to prepare for the contest, and did his training. I was a little interested. Shortly after, he was doing the contest posing, and it was right then that I knew that was what I wanted to do.

    The Ectomorph Puzzle!
    The answer to part of the ectomorphic puzzle lies in the amount and quality of carbs, fats and proteins consumed daily...
    Before this point, I played some sports, ate anything, and generally didn't care much because I am an ectomorph and decently thin. I then realized that I was way too thin. I was 15 years old, and about 100lbs. But when I saw what Arnie looked like, I knew that I wanted to look like that, and I was (and still am) willing to do whatever is neccessary for me to reach that goal.

  2. My little brother is 5ft. tall 13yrs old, and 170lbs. To be honest, this does worry me, but I have been running out of ideas of how to get him into shape. He has no desire, drive, or determination about anything. He's getting some attention because he's fat, and he doesn't have many real friends, just those who make jokes about him, that he considers his friends.

    I have explained health risks to him (so has our doctor), but he just doesn't care. I've tried everyone of my ideas on how to get someone convinced on getting them into shape, but I'm at my witts end, so to speak. The worst part is, he needed surgery on both his feet, (so my parents are still trying to pay for the surgery, and I can't even get my supplements) so then he was unable to do any physical activity, (not that he did) and now he has an excuse not to.

    The surgery was fully healed over the summer, and when school started he pretended that his feet hurt so that he didn't have to take gym! I just don't know what to do anymore....

3rd Place - TRICK D

If you have a family member/friend/or spouse that could get in better shape, the absolutely best thing to do is to show them that you care about them, and suggest it in a passive way that they should go to the gym.

Ways To Be Passive:

  1. Tell them how much fun you have at the gym.
    1. Tell them about the awesome people you meet
    2. Tell them about what the gym has (racket ball, basketball, tennis courts, swimming pool, weight gym, aerobics, etc).

  2. Tell them about how great you feel.
    1. I stress how much better I feel now that I am in better shape.
    2. How working out relieves the stress of my occupation

  3. Be their mentor.
    1. When my roomate started drinking heavily I told him he should go to the gym with me, and told him that in no time I could get him in a lot better shape, and bring up his bench. I knew that this would help him get away from alcohol for whatever reason he was using it, and get him in better shape. He came in weighing about 175 and was benching about 160. 8 months later he is still drinking, but on a much more social manner, and he benches 225 at about 195 pounds. He gained a lot of muscle.
    2. The key thing about being a mentor is to be nice, I have lifted for about 6 years now, and I have a lot of knowledge on what works, and what doesn't when talking about supplements and exercise routines. Always give them encouragement and never put them down. If they are wanting to lose weight, make as much comments as possible, every week or two about how they are starting to look better. This will give them a self confidence approach to working out.

Bonus Questions:

  1. I started working out in September of 1998. I was 5'2 and weighed just 100 pounds. I was picked on in school for being so small and had no chances with the girls, but I was very popular (student council president of junior high). I had a lot of self confidence in myself and wanted women, so my dad who was small statured like me suggested for me to start lifting weights.

    When I started I could only bench 65-75 pounds. By my 15th birthday (December 25, 1998) I could bench 120 and weighed 125. I gained 25 pounds in 3 months. I soon found a lot more confidence in myself and women started noticing the body. It was great. Since then I have not let up. I didn't want to gain much weight growing up and was particularly interested in strength.

    In 10th grade I lifted with the football team over the summer, and finished 2nd in the bench press divided by body weight challenge. I was 130 pounds and benched 185. People were starting to notice me and getting impressed by my ranking. Currently I am bulking. Weighing 158 pounds (ripped), and benching 240 pounds. I have goals to do some bodybuilding and powerlifting in the future.

    Smoking & Musculoskeletal Pain!
    There's reason enough for people not to smoke, given the adverse health consequences and the detrimental effects it has on exercise performance...
  2. My mother is a fairly fit 42 year old who smokes. She just had a total hysterectomy because of cysts found on her ovaries. I feel that if she didn't smoke and she had worked out some over the last 20 years that wouldn't happen. I remember back in around 1993 she quit smoking and started working out because of fat that accumulated on her after she had my little brother.

    She lost all that weight. She went from 165 to 120 in about a year. I was so proud of her. Now she is still at 120, but she is coughing a lot and of course smoking. It really hurts me when I nag her about smoking. But of course she says it helps with her nerves since she is always nervous. Maybe one day I will be able to convince her that working out and not smoking would be very beneficial to her health.