If you are like me, when you find something that you really love, you’re anxious to share it with others, whether it be news, a new products or a great movie. So, when I first discovered fitness and how exciting it was to actually see the reward of my efforts and that it was actually possible to transform my body, naturally I was eager to share. Now, if there is one thing that I have learned over the years, it’s that not everyone is receptive. Sure, we are excited and want to share our knowledge to hopefully inspire and encourage others to do as we have but many times that excitement is met with apprehension. I think many people; even yours truly, have a deep rooted fear of failure. We rationalize that as long as we don’t try something or put in full effort we can always avoid any possibility of failure or claim that we weren’t able to give out best at that given moment. It is a way that we remain neutral and play it safe. The irony is that it is usually these very people who are the first to claim dissatisfaction with their appearance. So, how do we get people like this to become more receptive to our messages of health and fitness?
First and foremost, accept that you cannot win them all and not everyone will be anxious to hear how you have achieved your fitness goals. For some, it is simply a glaring reflection of their own inadequacies and they may very well get offensive, claiming that you are obsessed. Sound familiar? Other people, just like with any tangible product or new idea, will take on the attitude that if your claim is so great, then why haven’t more people caught on? Why isn’t it front page news, so to speak? Well, I can tell you now, save your breath and share your good news elsewhere. It is not your job to “market” your fitness ideologies to everyone. It is your job to “market” to those who are interested. Why do I say, “market?” It is because we are promoting a healthy lifestyle and with such a complacent society, rampant with obesity, it is a shame not to share knowledge that can really enhance people’s lives.
How do we find these receptive people or interested parties? Naturally, our appearance alone will typically beg a few questions from others, as will our eating habits. Share just enough to explain your reason for choosing the lifestyle and a brief overview of your approach, like eating more frequently, sticking to whole foods and how many days of the week you are in the gym but avoid a long drawn out discussion. I suggest this because too much information all at once can be overwhelming and the listener will admit defeat before even trying. Attempting to sell someone on changing their entire eating habits and committing to a fitness program takes a bit of psychology and patience. People tend to pursue something with greater determination if they feel like it was their own idea or reality. How do we support this change in thought process without forcing the issue? We offer our program or story in writing and pictures. That way, in their own time and in a moment of personal reflection, they can use your transformation as fuel to create a desire for their own.
I recall when I first gave my mom a program to follow; she had loads of questions, already requesting substitutions and became frustrated when I insisted that she simply stick to the program as written. I remember leaving that day, all but certain that my mom would never really do the program. However, unbeknownst to me, a few weeks later, she decided to commit to the program and start it on her own without telling me. I suspect that she did not want the added pressure of anyone knowing that she was attempting this change for fear of not being able to follow through. Well, I can proudly say that both my mom and my dad stuck to the program, significantly leaning out in a matter of three shorts months and have maintained the lifestyle change for more than 8 years now.
As evangelists for fitness the best service we can do for others is to be available when people ask questions and provide resources for them to pursue and investigate on their own. Perhaps one idea would be to purchase a fitness magazine subscription and gift it to them. Also, attempt to engage them on social sites where your lifestyle is front and center and they can take more of a voyeuristic approach and learn about your world in the privacy of their own home. It is rather amazing how just leading by example and simply sharing the joy in your life can pique the interest of others enough to really inspire a shift in their attitude and ultimately in their lifestyle.
So, quit letting any naysayers discourage you. Avoid people who want to rain on your parade. Instead, focus on putting information out there in a way that allows other to discover your treasure of knowledge in a less in-your-face manner. That way, you lessen the possibility of intimidation and get closer to your deeper desire of truly wanting to help others and see them improve their life the way that health and fitness has improved yours.
About the Author
Jamie Eason Middleton is one of the most recognized faces in the fitness industry. She holds several fitness titles, most notably Hardbody Entertainment’s World’s Fittest Model, and has been featured as a writer and a model in hundreds of magazine layouts. Jamie has a bachelor’s degree in communication, is the official female spokesperson for Bodybuilding.com and the creator of the popular fitness program, the 12-week LiveFit Trainer.
Jamie, joined Team Labrada in September 2013 and shares her extensive experience with tens of thousands of women in the bi-weekly Labrada Newsletter. Check out her own line of supplements at Labrada, which can be found here: www.labrada.com/jamieeason