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8 Relationships You Can Build To Help You Lose Weight

We all have moments of rationalizing why we aren’t at the gym.  The alarm goes off, it’s dark outside, and you think to yourself “I just cannot get up now, but I will go to the gym after work.”  Or the moment while you sit in traffic after work and you think to yourself “I have had a long day and all I want to do is sit on the couch in my pajamas, watch TV, and drink a glass of wine.”  Or for those who work out of a home office the moment when you think “I just do not have time to leave work to go to the gym today. I will go tomorrow.”  I am sure that all of us have had one of these moments at some point.  So what is going to help you overcome these thoughts and get you to the gym on the path to accomplishing your goals? It certainly is not the appeal of logging some miles alone on a treadmill.

The answer isn’t as obvious as you may think. It is relationships.  Relationships keep you accountable, they motivate and challenge you, they are there for you when life is tough, and they make working out fun. As a personal trainer I am often asked about how many pounds my clients have lost or how soon can a client expect to lose 20 lbs? Although these questions are important, I believe that establishing relationships with others can be just as important in the fitness journey.

An article in the Los Angeles Times states “It is difficult to ascertain whether the benefits of group exercise are derived from the activity or the social interaction, but experts agree that the support, variety and motivation a group provides can help improve physical and mental health and create lasting exercise routines.”

As you move into the New Year and set commitments to your health, it is important to think about where you could build and foster new relationships.  Here are a few examples of places to look and testimonials from participants. 

1. Group classes: Have you ever watched the members of a Zumba class when they are done?? Sweating, happy, excited, and all thanking the instructor and meeting their friends in the café afterwards. Nothing like Zumba with friends to motivate you off the freeway after work.

2. Group personal training: Not only is there a trainer waiting for you but an entire group of people who will ask you why you missed class if you were gone.  And you would not want to miss out on any of the fun, jokes, and entertainment that are sure to happen. Why do people participate in TEAM classes (TEAM Weight Loss is now called palara)?

As group training participant Trish Woolever said, “For me, it's plain and simple.  It's what keeps me working out.  I might be able to work out on my own, but the regularity, frequency and what I actually DO during a workout would change significantly.  I need the regularity and frequency of a schedule.  The days I will be joining my group are already on the calendar, ongoing, no decision to be made. It's just what I do. For instance, the decision to skip the gym because 'it's cold' or 'I'm tired' or I just don't want to” rarely happens to me.” 

3. Yoga: Why try a yoga class? As Elizabeth Camp, LifePower Yoga instructor says, “I love working out in a group because I feel more supported and determined, and when I practice yoga in a group I enjoy the benefits so much more deeply because again, I feel so much more supported and uplifted.  In yoga some benefits of practicing in a group are that you can really feel the motivation to breathe into each challenging posture and maybe go farther than if you were on your own, likewise you can feel just as motivated and supported to take child's pose if you need.” 

4. Personal Training: Let’s face it. Personal training gives you an appointment on the calendar and the 1-1 attention you may need to get you closer to your goals. Personal training client Ellen B said personal training is “A bond of friendship that develops between you and your trainer.  While lifting weights, doing abdominal crunches or balancing on one foot while catching a ball, you and your trainer chat away about the past week's events (you might groan a little).  It could be that all the talking is part of a scheme to distract you from any discomfort.  One on one enables work on individual needs and under watchful eyes, postures are always done correctly avoiding any possibility of injury. But the real value of one on one is that while you are building muscles and a sleek physique, your trainer gets into your mind and instills self confidence and a positive attitude, and you find yourself reaching out in other areas of life working on goals or dreams you might have never tried.  Working with a personal trainer can be a life changing experience.”

5. Run Club: Have you ever been in the club on a weeknight at 6pm or a Saturday morning and seen the Run Club gathered together? This group of people is focused, motivated dedicated to their group group. And they love new people! Plus, they participate in many run events throughout the year! Run Club can help provide the obvious – a group of people to go for a run but can lead to many other benefits.

Holly Mahling’s transformed from an inexperienced runner to a serious athlete over the past five years. Holly says “I started running with Life Time Run Club in 2007 when I was a relatively inexperienced runner. Since then, I have finished 3 marathons, 2 duathlons,10 half marathons, and countless 10k's, 5k's and trail races. I've also watched my personal bests for various distances improve even as I age. However, the best part about Run Club is not the improvement I've measured on my stopwatch. Instead, it's the fun I've had and the friends I've made along the way to achieving my fitness goals. Before I joined Life Time Run Club, running groups intimidated me. I was certain that I would be the slowest person there and that the other runners would be annoyed at my glacial pace. Instead, I discovered that there were a lot of runners my pace and that the other runners - fast or slow, veteran or rookie - were welcoming and encouraging. I've discovered a number of benefits in running with a group:

  • Fun - The main reason is to run with Run Club is that it's fun. You are more likely to stick with a fitness routine if you enjoy it, so finding a way to have fun while you work-out is important if you want to make it a lifelong habit. Safety - Especially in the Minnesota winters, running in the dark or on ice or snow can be hazardous.
  • Shared wisdom - I've learned a lot from my running partners, from how to prevent frostbite to information on races around the world that I need to add to my bucket list. Accountability - I love to run, but some days it can be hard to get out the door - especially if I'm tired or it's cold or snowy. Having that extra push of knowing that my training partners are waiting for me can get me to the starting line even when my motivation is lacking!
  • Structure - Runs start and finish at the same time and place every week, so it's easy to make it a habit. 
  • Improved performance - Running consistently means running faster.

6. Life Time Weight Loss Support Group and Online Tracking (signia): Changing your eating habits and lifestyle can be very difficult and it is definitely not an overnight change.  Enrolling in Life Time Weight Loss Support Group class at a Life Time club can put you with other like-minded people on the same path and goal.  People who you can discuss successes and struggles with and champion each other along the way. 

“My most successful clients have participated in the Life Time Weight Loss Support Group. They are empowered to help other participants and to help themselves to reach their goals. They bring ideas, recipes and encouragement to every class and they feel good knowing they are not alone” said Alicia Rodriguez, Corporate Registered Dietitian and former dietitian at St. Louis Park Life Time Fitness.

Paired with Life Time Weight Loss Support Group can be online tracking through  Simply logging your food can make you more accountable to yourself and to anyone you choose to share your food journal with or start a blog or follow other weight loss blogs.

7. Fitness buddy and signing up for an event with a friend: If you are not necessarily a group class or personal training candidate, find a buddy. Someone you can call and check in with or sign up for an event and train together. Even as a trainer, I find myself far more accountable when I check in with another trainer or friend and tell them what I did for my work out.

8. Front Desk: Simply knowing the staff at the front desk at your club or other employees can help motivate you and keep you accountable when you get to know them and they ask “where have you been?” Or how nice is it when you go the café and they already know your order before you say it? “Sometimes you want to go “Where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came.”

As you set out with your new commitments, take time to remember that relationships can be anywhere even if you are not a member of a gym.  The above mentioned article also states “Group workouts are no longer being confined to glassed-off boxes inside fitness clubs. Activities can be found for almost anyone looking for something to do -- including new-mother stroller groups, boot camps at local parks, beach-front yoga and cha-cha classes at recreational centers.”

When working towards a life changing goal, it should be fun.  Building relationships can make fitness, nutrition, and education FUN.  “Most important, I know I will feel disappointed because I missed a workout, and some fun.  Fun?  Really?  Yes.  Because, although it always a tough workout, you become friends with each other.  Everyone’s a comedian.  There is always a funny story to be told or listened to.  We whine and laugh together” said Bret Erickson, Team Fitness participant.

At the end of the day you want to be where everybody knows your name.

Have you found success by getting together with a community of people in some way? Share your story below and keep the conversation going.

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

Guest post written by 

Lindsey Heiserman, 

Personal Trainer, St. Louis Park Life Time


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