Do you know a gymophobe who absolutely refuses to go the gym? Perhaps you yourself feel indoor fitness facilities resemble Satan's resting place?
Gymophobe n. Person who hates the frickin' gym.
Gymophobes prefer lunches to lunges, a bread press to a bench press and crunchy over crunches. You get my drift?
As a former fat person and gymophobe, I'm very familiar with well-meaning, gym-loving friends who want you to workout with them.
They say ri-donk-ulous things like:
"It'll be fun!"
Applying the word "fun" to the gym just insults the word "fun." Don't be cruel.
"We'll work out better together!"
Really? You think talking and sipping lattes on our elliptical is working out better? Whatever you say to get yourself out of bed in the morning... I'd rather just do a couple muffin curls in my favorite recliner and call it a day. Also, let's be honest, you just want me to go to the gym to make yourself feel better. Like an ugly wingman, my flabby self makes you look good.
"Everybody is bad at Zumba when they first start, you'll do great!"
According to the psychology of Zumba, first-timers will inevitably feel excruciatingly embarrassed until Zumbaism kicks in and shuts down their brain so that they think it's normal to do shimmies in a public, well-lit place.
"We will go every day and keep each other accountable!"
Mmmm. Accountable, huh? Just because you heard that word on "Dr. Oz" doesn't mean it makes me want to trade in my spot on the couch for a spot next to you at spinning.
Can we just take a break and talk about spinning for a moment. Is spinning like crack or something? Whenever I'm at my gym's smoothie bar (my favorite part of the gym), I always see these spinning junkies pour into the gym an hour early to reserve a spot -- they excitedly take their number and then drape 14 towels over their 'favorite bike.'
The problem is, I'm the kind of person where if I see a line, I will get in it, thinking I might miss out. So a few weeks ago, I took one of those numbers and decided to give this 'amazing' activity a go -- I'm always meeting insanely gorgeous women who tell me they are 'addicted to spin.'
Well, do you know what they do in these so-called fantastic spin classes?
You just sit and bike in place. That's it. Oh sorry, occasionally you lift your butt.
After 20 minutes, my brain was ready to shut down from terminal boredom and my lady parts were like "We don't ride a bike, why in the hell are we doing this!?" Spin is clearly not made for us pear shapes, if you know what I mean. My butt is just too big for those little 'seats' that look suspiciously like blunt thumb tacks.
Whew, had to get that out of my system. Anyways, the above enticements will only get you so far with gymophobes. If you really want to get your reluctant friend to go to the gym, you need a full plan of attack, gymophobe style.
The traditional gym motivational tricks simply don't work for gymophobes.
For example, for encouragement, Kate Moss has said, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." But has she ever tasted a Cinnabon? There is simply no way a size zero can compete with Cinnabon's cream cheese icing.
There is an abundance of self-help posts on this topic, but none of them seem to do the trick (hence why there are so many). They recommend things like:
"After you go to the gym, reward yourself with a small treat." What, like a small box of donuts? Or a small pint of ice cream?
Jeez, skinny peep self-help writers, you have clearly never tried to lose weight. When I go to the gym I come back ready to eat a small animal, like even my neighbor's pug looks delicious. A 'small treat' would quickly devolve into me eating every carb in my house. Bad idea.
If you have a gymophobe friend, here are three creative ways to incentivize them to get their butt on the treadmill next to you:
What does your friend really hate? Every time your friend does not go to the gym with you just donate to that cause. This is called an anti-charity.
Anti-Charity: An organization that supports a cause you do not believe in or is against your values.
Just because your friend is not passionate about working out does not mean they don't have loads of passion for other things. Just exploit those. Do they love animals? If they miss your cardio kickboxing class, donate $10 to an animal testing facility. Are they a tree-hugger? Donate $10 to drilling in Alaska when they skip out on your gym date. Sound harsh? Sometimes we need a little tough love in the name of health.
(Besides, I'm not the only one who thinks anti-charities work, Stikk.com has a list of popular anti-charities on their website and helps users donate to them when they don't meet their goals.)
2. Workout With Hot People
According to research even being near good-looking members of the opposite sex gets our blood pumping, our competitive juices flowing and our skin glowing. Heck, those are the same things that make a great workout! Find a gym full of hotties, workout with a former model trainer or treadmill next to someone gorgeous and watch motivation soar.
3. Be Radically Honest
Don't dance around the issue by saying "Let's get healthy," when you really mean "You're a fatty." Or if you really just want some company, don't say, "It'll be good for both of us," just be radically honest and say, "I'm lazy and need you to be my unpaid trainer."
Instead, give them a healthy dose of honesty. For example, "You're gorgeous, let's lose that baby fat and then you can wear all of those gorgeous dresses you bought before you got pregnant." OK, maybe not that one. But you get what I mean. Gymophobes, anti-athletes and really everyone appreciate properly cushioned honesty.
So, to all of you well-meaning gym-loving friends, try some of these new tactics. We gymophobes know you really love us and won't judge if we occasionally choose to have a Cinnabon over being a size zero.
Follow Vanessa Van Edwards on Twitter: www.twitter.com/vvanedwards