One Thing You Should Look at (But Probably Don’t) When Trying to Get Fit

The saying "I get by with a little help from my friends" applies to fitness, too.

Workout DVDs, “As Seen on TV” workout equipment, gym memberships: These are all things millions of people try every year in an effort to become more fit. But what if improving your own health simply came down to spending more time with other people who are in good health? As entrepreneur Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Since Rohn was an entrepreneur and was mostly interested in helping others become more successful, the point he was trying to make was, if you spend time with more successful people, you will also become more successful. On the other hand, if you hang out with people who are negative, they could have a negative impact on your life. This theory can be applied to almost all aspects of life — including your fitness levels.

So, let’s try something: Stop and think about what type of shape you’d like to be in. Now think about the five people you spend the most time with. Do these people match up with your goal of being a more fit person? Do they enable or disable your vision of a more fit you? Now, before you think I’m the most cold-hearted person on the planet and I’m about to tell you to ditch your friends, allow me to explain: You certainly do not have to break the news to your couch-potato friend that he’s no longer invited to your party next weekend because his Netflix addiction doesn’t match up with your fitness goals. What you can do, however, is spend a little more time with people who are also invested in fitness. Even if it’s just once a week that you and your fit friend go for a walk and talk instead of going to happy hour and having drinks to catch up, that will make a big difference when it comes to your overall lifestyle.

Or, another way to tackle the friends-accidentally-sabotaging-your-fitness-progress problem: Challenge yourself to become the fit friend in your group. If Rohn’s words are true, your improved levels of fitness may cause your friends and family to improve their health, and BOOM: You’ve got a chain reaction. Be the friend that suggests going kayaking or skiing or hiking, instead of sitting around watching Netflix all day; instead of going out for pizza and wings, try having people over and grilling some lean protein and veggies. Now, with all six of your core group being healthier, you’ve created a healthier environment for everyone to be in — and you’ve upped your chances of reaching your own fitness goals.

So, do you need to toss all of your friends to the curb? Of course not. You can, however, work to surround yourself with fit people and influence the people close to you (without stepping on too many toes) to become healthier WITH you so you can achieve your desired level of health and fitness. After all, your close friends are the ones who influence you the most — and that applies to your fitness levels, too.


Brian Maher is the owner of Philly Personal Training, a private personal training studio in the Rittenhouse Square area. He and his staff of personal trainers offer packages to busy individuals looking to make lifestyle changes by improving their overall fitness and wellness.  Read all of Brian’s posts for Be Well Philly here.

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