Fitness Goals and Social Networks
Thursday, July 2, 2009
LifeTime WeightLoss in Mindset, Social_Support, weight loss help, weight loss suppport groups

Written by Tom Nikkola - Director of Nutrition & Weight Management

Everyone has heard of the idea that "you become like those you hang around with." Research is beginning to show the significance of this idea as it relates to health and fitness. Even with people's busy lives today, technology is allowing us to stay connected with people like never before. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and the brand new myLT website allow groups of people to stay in touch with up-to-the-minute updates.

A recent study published in the journal Obesity (April, 2009) looked at the impact of social networks (social circles) and obesity. They found that those whose network was made of other overweight people were much less likely to find success in losing weight. In creating social networks, the article stressed the importance of having the network include those that are at normal or healthy fitness levels. People looking to lose weight should get to know other people that are in the kind of shape they want to be in. That way they'll have an example to follow.

Another study in the International Journal of Obesity (Sept, 2008) showed that people on a weight-loss program had a significant impact on the weight loss of spouses that were not directly part of the exercise program. The spouses lost weight because of the example they were seeing in the other partner.

There are a couple of key points about both of these studies. It's important to understand the influences around you outside of Life Time Fitness. It's easy to have a healthy mindset in the club, but at work or out with friends on the weekend, it can be a different story. Your sphere of influence outside of Life Time can be much more powerful than the sphere of influence within Life Time.

Second, an in-person or on-line network can be a great way to be positively influenced and help you stay on track with your goals. These principles are not only for those looking to lose weight. People looking to do a triathlon, bodybuilding or figure competition, get better at basketball or tennis, or any other health or fitness goal, have a much better chance of success by finding like-minded people.

Each person who signs up for myLT will go through a learning curve, but after that, you can write your own blog and have friends follow it, you can set up friendships inside the Life Time community, participate in discussion boards, or follow the blogs of some of the Life Time Fitness staff (like this one).

The more you can keep your attention on messages that are positive, educational, and aligned with the goals you have, the more likely it is you'll succeed.

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