The other day in one of my sessions, my client was complaining to me about how she could not seem to get her husband to be active, no matter how hard she tried. She’s quite an active girl, and although he fully supports her commitment to her fitness, he seems to have zero interest in his own. It frustrates her that he does not make his own health a priority and she wants to help him but is worried she’s going to sound like the nagging wife. After some thought, I gave her this advice.
Absolutely DO NOT NAG! The harder you push the harder s/he will push back. So stop trying to get her/him to come to your spin class, or wake up early Sunday morning for yoga, and instead suggest something new that you could do together. Maybe you take a golf lesson together, or go check out a hiking trail that your friends have been talking about. Or maybe you take a cross country skiing lesson together, or rent a pair of snow shoes. Whatever it is, find something that neither of you are good at but both have some sort of interest in and can do it together. Find something where you both will feel vulnerable and will both struggle, leaving the competitiveness at home.
Another idea is pick a charity event, or another type of fun event, that is happening in your city and train for it together. It could be a city scramble (think the Amazing Race), or an adventure race (this usually involves kayaking, hiking, and biking and can be done at all levels) or an obstacle race, such as Tough Mudder. Or pick a charity run, or a beer mile (who doesn’t want to run and drink beer at the same time?). All of these races are fun, yet they do require some fitness, which means maybe the two of you can get out once or twice a week for a workout. Make it about practicing for the fun event coming up, not about exercise.
You could also suggest s/he gets back into a sport s/he once played, and join a recreational or beer league team. Not only will this get her/him out exercising, it will remind her/him of what it was like when exercise was fun and was something s/he did with his buddies. If that’s not an option, maybe the two of you join something together. Slow pitch teams are always fun in the summer, and coed indoor soccer is a good option for the fall and winter. Try and find one that you both will enjoy together.
Finally, start cooking together. A healthy diet is key for a healthy lifestyle and you can’t have one without the other. Switch restaurant date nights for at-home cooking nights. Light some candles, put on some music and get to it. This is one of my favourite ways to spend an evening with my boyfriend. It usually begins with something active, followed by the two of us cooking up a storm with some dancing thrown into the mix, while dinner is getting hot.
Have fun with it, come up with new ideas and be spontaneous. Most importantly, be encouraging. S/he’s probably afraid to admit it but most likely s/he doesn’t want to start being active again because s/he’s afraid of how hard it is going to be.