You live healthy, you exercise and eat right – and you want to make a difference in the lives around you. You are a fitness ambassador – a representative of healthy living. But, are you effective? How do others view fitness through you? Are you a turn-off or a turn-on?
If you’re like me, you want fitness to become contagious. However, that is not accomplished by preaching to everyone around you, telling people they are fat, and telling them how awful their food choices are. With fitness, there is a right way, and a wrong way, to spread the healthy love.
Let’s look at someone else who also has a message to spread: a preacher. What preacher do you think is the most effective? The guy who waves his bible at everyone on the street corner telling people they are going to hell or the guy who simply lives by example and shares his message though his actions not his words? Both of them have the same message, but one is going to be a lot more effective. The question is: Which one are you?
6 Steps to Becoming an Effective Fitness Ambassador
We need to look at our area of influence and our effectiveness. If you have lost weight, or just live a healthy lifestyle, you have the opportunity to impact those around you – for the good OR the bad. Either way, people are watching you. It’s important you realize your responsibility and the opportunity you have to encourage others, as well as the risk you have to discourage others around you if you go about it the wrong way. Here are 5 tips to making your influence a positive one.
1. Less is more. You will make a bigger impact on people around you with your actions, not your words. Talking about fitness and diet all day is a big turn-off. Aside from my blogs and tips, I try not to start conversation about fitness. People know they can come to me if they want to talk about it, but I never want people to think that hanging out with Bonnie means talking about diet and exercise – that could get old quick.
2. Be sensitive. If you have a friend who struggles with their weight, you just being ‘you’ is already a reminder that they need to get healthy and fit. Your actions will speak loud and clear. The last thing you need to do is tell them what they should be doing or announce how many calories are in their meal while dining out. Although you may want to convince them to take action – the only action they may take is running away from you.
3. Be real. No one likes to be around someone who acts like they have it all together. Don’t try to act like a rockstar or constantly brag about your new PR (personal record) to your unfit friends. They don’t want to hear it. Instead, on the days you struggle, share it. Be honest with your own fitness journey – not just highlight your awesomeness. By exposing your own weaknesses, you will give others around you hope and encouragement.
4. Love them where they are. One of my friends who was 100lbs overweight once told someone that we made her feel comfortable. As a fitness leader, that was one of the biggest compliments I had ever received. I believe you actually have to go out of your way to even be more loving and sensitive to those who maybe insecure or overweight. Often times their first thought of anyone who works out is that they are self-absorbed or vain. It’s your job to prove them wrong – by loving them where they are.
5. Invite them in. Many unfit people feel like outsiders because they live outside your life and you forgot to invite them in. This is one of the trickiest things for me as a gym owner. People always say “Oh, you should give her a free pass” and then I often don’t do it because I don’t want her to think I’m implying she’s fat and needs to join my gym. However, in comparison to church, I’m surprised how many people will say stuff like “no one ever invited me”. Wow! Can you imagine? Someone out there is ready to go if someone just would invite them? Now, here’s a warning: Invite them occasionally, but don’t stalk them. If they agree to show up and they flake out on you, don’t make them feel bad about it. The key to a really good invitation is being able to let them off the hook if they say no. Otherwise your invitation becomes more like a prison sentence.
6. Never give up. We all know people who have taken YEARS to reach. Whether it’s getting them to church or the gym, people are always worth investing in. This doesn’t mean you wear yourself out trying to fix them, but you should never quit planting little seeds and making sure they know you will be there for them when they are ready.
Don’t hoard your fitness – Share it! You may be the ONLY person who cares enough to help those around you. Your impact on someone can be greater than even some of the biggest fitness celebrities. YOU can play your part to help America get fit and fight obesity.
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