3 ways to make friends lift heavy

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The IHOP Challenge crew, January 2015

Sometimes friends make promises. Other friends just keep an eye out for each other. And if you’re my friend, you get a guilt trip for a lifetime for your body size/softness.

For those of you who aren’t yet aware, my partner is a gym buff. However, one of my darling best friends, Albert, is 100% not. I’m not too concerned since he’s happy and will be marrying another one of my best friends (good luck to the both of them), but I am worried that he doesn’t have enough physical activity to burn the calories he consumes. He’s not an extremely unhealthy guy, and he is definitely capable of doing more, so it’s a personal goal to push him in my own way without shoving him. After all, how am I to motivate him when he’s on the other side of the globe?

  1. Make a bet. Betting is bad. Gambling is bad. But it was my first weapon of choice when you’re dealing with someone who’s competitive and thinks that they can win easily. I went home to Jersey and before leaving, we agreed that whoever can deadlift more weight wins $100 from the other. The thing with the deadlift is that if you’re not careful, you can hurt yourself. This can be due to poor form, attempting to lift too heavy, or other things. The only way to be sure you’re more likely to succeed is to practice what you need to do (duh). When you have so much control over how a situation can go, it makes a great motivator to push for your goals.
    Dear Albert, if you’re reading this, I’d like you to know that the first day I tried deadlifts, I could barely lift 45 lbs (that’s just the bar). After Huan fixed my posture, I was able to deadlift 110 lbs at my second session. In short, I was able to deadlift twice as much just by correcting my form. It’s also worth mention that these lifts were not my one rep max, and my first session was just 4 weeks ago.
  2. Provide several challenges. A single physical competition is good, but when there are other ways to be competitive, throw it into the mix. We’re all gamers, but the course of our lives has taken us to become casual gamers. Recently I downloaded an app called Dream Gym, and one of the beautiful aspects of the game is that it collects data from the iPhone’s Health app. The amount of steps you take in a day will affect the way your 3D character looks, which is amazing. The little people who enter my digital gym have tiny beer bellies, compared to my trainer who has a relatively flat stomach (and much better abs than me).
  3. Bribe them. When all else fails, bribe them. I’m not thinking of a monetary bribe, but more of a barter. Are you awesome at baking cheesecake? Tell your friend that after each gym session, you’ll have a homemade slice ready for them. Are they a big gamer? Let them know that you’ll play a game with them that you haven’t tried yet. Have something to offer that you know they want from you? Give them the bait and see if they bite.

For each person, motivators are different. One thing I’ve learned from Huan and his clients is that the most successful ones are those who really truly want results. Those who have the slightest bit of doubt or self-pity tend to make excuses or just stop trying altogether. Remember that whomever you’re trying to compete with is first and foremost your friend, so make it a goal that you share. When you have that goal together, the it only makes it easier to think of the ways to achieve that goal.

How do you help your friends get stronger?

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