We are in mid-tailgating season, which likely means more sugar and more alcohol; and therefore, more fat. It is easy to just throw a sweatshirt over that extra fat and hide it (trust me I am guilty of this myself) but with the holidays coming up, we need to fight the battle now. So two weeks ago I started a series of posts to help with fitness motivation.
This week I want to talk about your friends. I just sounded like my dad.
Birds of a feather flock together.
For you quantitative research nerds like me, this short video shows how obese people become more linked with other obese people over time:
In a study of over 12,000 “densely interconnected” people, lasting over 30 years, it was concluded that in pairs of people in which each identified the other as a close friend, when one became obese the other had a 171% greater chance of also becoming obese. For more on this study read here.
In a similar study of high school students, it was found that students who were borderline overweight were 40% more likely to decrease their body mass index if they reported having lean friends and 56% more likely to increase their body mass index if they had friends who were overweight.
Study after study continues to prove that obesity is contagious — albeit most likely for reasons of social behavior, but the science is still there — birds of a feather really do flock together. So as they say, you are what your friends eat.
Motivation Strategy Three: Friends.
Insofar as all this is true, it stands to reason that we should all go out and get fit friends. So for my third installment in my series on motivation I want to motivate you through getting fit friends or through getting your friends fit.
Here are 5 quick tips for motivation through friendship:
1. Join a sports team. Every community has a softball league, volleyball league, soccer league, etc… and it really doesn’t matter if you have played those sports or not just join and have fun. A few years ago Steph joined a soccer league, despite never having played a day in her life. What a great way to make some new friends and improve your health.
2. Get your current friends on board. Fitism is real (did I really bring that back up?). Seriously it is. So avoid this and be open and honest with your friends about your health decisions. Making new friends is hard so just get your old friends involved in your challenge for a better, healthier life.
3. Enter a team obstacle course race. Get a group of friends together, find a race in your area that is a few months away, and start training for it. Make it a fun event, bond together, and get in shape! For tips on training for such event click here.
4. Get a workout friend. Seriously nothing holds you more accountable for getting to the gym and working hard then a partner. And why not pick a friend?
5. Join a CrossFit gym. Before you non-CrossFitters role your eyes, think about how true the contagion effect is for CrossFitters. Love ’em or hate ’em, they are some fit folks and that sh*t is contagious.
WARNING WARNING WARNING: CrossFit will cause you to lose your friends.
Have you heard this before? I am not a CrossFitter but I have heard this prognostication about beginning CrossFit many times and I have also heard it affirmed many times. Perhaps this is one of the reasons people refer to it as a cult.
Well maybe this is a good thing. Let’s face it, if your old friends can’t accept your new passion for fitness, then are they really friends?
If obesity is contagious, then fitness must be as well.
In fact, in their landmark study on the contagion effect, Fowler and Christakis say this effect is just as strong with weight loss as it is with weight gain.
Seriously hang out with the Strong Figure ambassadors and it is hard to get fat. Not only are their food choices smarter (even their cheats), but they all look amazing. No one wants to be the fat friend and more than that these people are so inspiring.
Don’t lose your old friends.
Most of the friends you will lose are just haters, so good riddance. But here are 5 tips that will help you to keep your non-CrossFit friends who aren’t haters:
- Only speak CrossFit, when with other Crossfitters. No one else knows what, “I rx’d this morning’s amrap” means. So every time you find yourself using words like wod, snatch, chipper, metcon – remember who you are talking to.
- Slow down on the bragging. Ok you have every reason in the world to be proud and you should boast when you accomplish something you have worked 6 months to get. But you should not boast to everyone, every single day. Leave that for your loved ones and fellow CrossFitters. Most people will be annoyed by hearing about your 100 pullups before 6am. Have you ever met a guy who is really good at bench pressing and he talks about it in every conversation? Um… you are doing that.
- “Our warm up is tougher than your workout.” Please for the love of God Crossfitters, stop saying sh*t like this. Even though I don’t CrossFit, I know it works and it has way more positives than negatives, but you guys alienate yourselves from the entire fitness world with statements like this. Go on any major lifting forum and you will see people bashing you and this is why. The big “Globo” gyms are not your enemy – obesity is your enemy. I do 75% of my workouts in a “globo” type gym and there are a lot of really dedicated, smart, hard workers, who KNOW what they are doing.
- Diversify yourself. Read books on the best seller list, follow a major news twitter feed, do other things and talk about those just as much as you talk about your PR’s. A good rule of thumb, for every time you bring up handstand pushups you should talk about two non-crossfit related topics.
- Stop proselytizing. No one likes a preacher. Let your happiness and new awesome body speak for itself.
Friends really can be the best motivation. How have your friends helped you?
Featured Image by puuikibeach