This problem doesn’t seem so serious if you’ve got a girlfriend, wife, or partner who also loves to lift (lucky you!). But what if you’re desperately trying to get your girl to train and see the benefit of weight training? How would you actually convince her? Luckily for us meatheads, we have the insight of Joy Victoria, a training expert and blogger, on this very topic.
Every guy wants a sexy, confident, in-shape woman on his arm. If you want to help your girlfriend or wife effectively change her body but don’t know where to start, then look no further.Good support is a blend of the practical and emotional.Step one is knowing what you’re up against. Virtually everything ever written in mainstream media about exercising “for women” sticks them in the cardio room with ankle weights, ready to pump-n-tone.
This can lead to considerable conflict for your lady, especially on day one when you usher her towards the scary squat rack and start adding weight. So since we’re dealing with women, let’s start with these “emotional” considerations.
1. Make a plan and be supportive
Good support is a blend of the practical and emotional. At first it will be hard for your gal to commit to training and create the habit, so set her up for long term success by helping take care of the practical considerations.
She’ll need a plan to make it a reality time-wise, schedule-wise, and money-wise. Make your support as visceral as possible and reduce the number of “excuses” available.The aim is to make this a lifestyle change. The gym is already a part of your life… Make it a part of her life too.The nice thing is, by doing this you’ll also be letting her know you care about her and her happiness and what taking care of her body will do for her. Both bases of support will be covered.
- Sit down with her and find the time to work out. Schedule it in and keep that time sacred. Time is the biggest excuse – don’t let her use it.
- Buy her a gym membership, a new gym bag, or a gift certificate for some workout clothes. It’s part of the investment; investment enhances commitment.
- Go with her to the gym and lift together, or suggest ways to find a lifting partner. This is important especially in the beginning when she doesn’t know what she’s doing.
- Tell her to start working out, but not help with a plan.
- Leave her to figure out form for the lifts and how to structure her workouts.
- Get impatient with what she doesn’t know. Teach her.
The aim is to make this a lifestyle change. The gym is already a part of your life – you have a gym bag, you dedicate time before or after work, and you reap the benefits.
Make it a part of her life too. Having someone alongside supporting us makes us all warm and fuzzy inside, and makes you look like a big, bad knight in shining armor.
2. Give her some external motivation so she can build her internal motivation
There are two types of motivation to consider. Controlled or external motivation comes from external sources. This kind of motivation is best for jump-starting the process.Rewards don’t necessarily mean something you buy her; it can be reminders of accomplishment, the promise of hotter sex, telling her how incredible she is going to look, or how jealous her girlfriends will be.On the other hand, autonomous or internal motivation comes from personal conviction, the “I do it for me” kind of motivation. That’s the kind we’re aiming for in the long run, but it takes time to develop.
The best way is to add the intrinsic stuff as she progresses, to give her something to work for by using “reward” strategies.
Rewards don’t necessarily mean something you buy her; it can be reminders of accomplishment, the promise of hotter sex, telling her how incredible she is going to look, or how jealous her girlfriends will be.
Not everyone can be motivated in exactly the same ways, but we’re not all that different.
So what exactly motivates a woman?
- You thinking she’s hot and desirable.
- Avoiding the shame (no matter how unspoken) of an obviously unhealthy and unattractive body.
- The empowerment that comes from looking and feeling good. Everything seems easier and more possible when you think you look good.
- Ego-involvements. If she sees other women like her that can do it and look awesome, why not her?
- “Do it for me.” Reminders of how much you love her attitude when she looks and feels good, how hot her body can be, and a bit of a “do it for me” strategy can work wonders.
Just the act of exercise (not even a certain amount) has an impact on body-image confidence, and the link between the two is well established by research. With increased confidence comes a whole boatload of other good “side-effects.” But to get those benefits, she has to start.
- Remind her that accomplishing a workout feels great. Praise her for getting through the workouts, and doing what she set out to do.
- Help her set numerical goals like squatting her own body weight, or doing a pull-up.
- Be a partner. She’s not in it alone, you’re in it together.
- Compare her to someone else. Stay away from comparisons, even “positive” ones.
- Constantly comment on other girls’ bodies, even if you’re doing it with good “motivational” intentions.
- Talk about how she used to look. Keep the focus on where she’s going and what she’s doing now.