by Lorraine Jones
Intrinsic motivation is one of the hardest life skills to acquire. If you don't want to do something, there is no one to hold your hand and make you. This is especially true when it comes to working out. If your girlfriend wants to start working out but lacks the motivation, no one can drag her out of bed and force her to run, but there are things you can do as her boyfriend to motivate her.
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Jake Romano of John the Plumber helped his girlfriend ease into working out after the two had been slowly gaining weight for almost a decade. “I believe lack of motivation is often caused by not knowing what you're doing. The gym seems scary if you've never been,” said Romano. While he had tremendous success with his healthy lifestyle changes, his girlfriend lacked the motivation to do the same. He found that creating a routine and staying motivated himself helped guide her with her own workout journey—suggest that she sets her personal goals and hold her to them. Romano led by example and showed her that it's possible and the gym doesn't have to be daunting. “Ease her into it. Encourage her to just get inside the gym. You guys can leave if she's not having a good time, but it's important to get inside. Just getting to the gym is a big win.”
It’s important to validate her feelings if she needs a day to rest or isn't feeling her best physically or mentally at the gym. When figuring out how to convince your girlfriend to workout, be there to support her and lift her spirits in times of self-doubt. Romano’s girlfriend often speaks negatively about her own abilities and performance in the gym. “We’re here to improve our strength. That’s the point,” he reminds her. “I make sure there are lots of high-fives. We also look for laughs as often as we can. I worked out my legs a little too hard the other day, and my butt-cheeks were sore and stiff. We thought it was really funny, especially with my ridiculous walk,” he said amused.
If she’s competitive workout with her; race each other or go one on one in a sport. This may give her that edge or push she needs. Make working out together a bonding experience, or if she wants her solitude—either to get in the zone and focus or because of feelings of self-consciousness—let her decide. She might be someone who feels inadequate working out with a partner but thrives alone.
Maintain a balance between supportive and pushy. She has to want it for herself. Don’t disregard her goals and set your own expectations. You are her boyfriend, not her coach. “As someone who has been there, one must sometimes have to strike a delicate balance in encouraging one's girlfriend to work out, especially if you are in shape or an athlete yourself. You want to let her know that you care for her and want her to be healthy and want to avoid any suggestion that she is somehow less attractive because she is not in shape,” said Robert Herbst. Maintain a positive and empathetic attitude with her. Negative comments may have debilitating effects.
“Be encouraging. Point out the improvements such as ‘I can tell you've been working out! Or it might be time to take you shopping for clothes that fit better since your pants are getting baggier!’ Periodically go out for yummy healthy treats after the gym. (I like taking her to the PopEye's across the street once in a while to choose a yummy protein bar. It's not a big treat or anything, but it's kind of like going to the candy store).” said Romano. Positive reinforcements and encouragement will help her push through any strenuous exercises.
In a healthy relationship you thrive off each other, look toward each other for inspiration and motivation. Be patient and bask in the glory of every milestone with her and be there to lean on, on her off days when she can barely make it through half of her workout. She’s got this, she just needs a little push.
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