No, not the gym kind. The kind of spotter who’s got your back when the chips are down and you need a positive support system.

Health and fitness – just like life – is a rollercoaster and it is jammed with ups and downs that will test your resolve. You will inevitably be faced with circumstances on your journey that will force you to change your workouts, take a break, switch up habits, alter your diet or question your priorities. This is normal, but crucial to recognize, confront, and plan for. So, what do you do when life throws you a curve ball, or knocks you on your butt? What do you do when times get tough, you feel down and out, or just feel like quitting? Seek out people who understand you. You should look for those you can depend upon during pressing times. You yearn for friends, family, and peers who will listen to you and give you honest and constructive feedback. Guess what? That’s the exact same thing you need to do when you encounter hardships in your health and fitness journey’s. Need more convincing? Here are some reasons!

Daily Cheer Squad
You already know how good it feels to hear someone say, “Hey, stick with it”, “Don’t give up”, or “You got this!” That sort of support makes you feel good because it motivates and sometimes it is exactly what you need to hear. So, if this works for you, then buddy up with someone who will shout words of encouragement while you push yourself. However, if you find this doesn’t always do the trick, you’re not alone. A study in the >Journal of Medical Internet Research found that exercisers are more motivated by working out with someone who is in better shape, while words of encouragement can actually be counterproductive. The takeaway? Learn to recognize which type of person you are and plan accordingly because the research suggests you should buddy up with someone who is slightly fitter than you.

Reframed Intentions
When you hear things such as social support and/or social influence, you may not immediately relate that with health, well-being, and exercise. In fact, you may even be likely to associate terms like these with being weak. Well, you may want to think again. Research in the >Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology and in the International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology revealed that both social support and social influence positively impact your attitudes about exercise and increase your adherence to exercise – two highly sought-after attributes. So, consider getting social when it comes to exercise, your well-being and nutrition. Buddy up with someone you can learn how to cook with or try a new workout with a friend – the support system and environment may be exactly what you need.

Make It Real
When you think about support systems, you probably think about your friends and family, right? Well, there are other systems you should consider as well, such as journaling. Huh? The thought of writing down your feelings may not be enticing because you’re not in middle-school but hold off on your judgement. According to UCLA psychologists, simply writing about your feelings or emotions in a journal can help you to feel better. Not a fan of the idea? What about blogging and/or social media posts. This is just public journaling in disguise. So many people sink endless hours into social media in a way that doesn’t necessarily benefit them, so why not use it to your advantage? Next time you’re bummed you feel short of a goal, aren’t too happy with your physique, or discouraged because you feel you can do better with your diet, try writing about it. It may be the exact trick you were looking for and a simple support system you can fall back on!

Stay Honest
Get someone to hold you accountable. According to an American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) study, you are 65% more likely to meet your goals if you commit with someone to that goal, and you can increase that number to 95% if you have accountability check-ins together. These are some positive and powerful numbers. By simply committing to a goal with someone and holding each other accountable, you’ll be far more likely to meet that goal and likely be happy chasing that goal.

Finish Lines Matter
We’ve talked a lot about support systems and accountability. It is important to spend time on goal-setting as well. As a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) personal trainer, I routinely encourage my clients to make sure their goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. By doing so, they are far more likely to set themselves up for success. Make sure you reread and remember that – goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. This tip is super, yet very helpful and super effective. Using these aforementioned tips, will leave you equipped to create and establish a strong, positive support system. What’s even better, these tips don’t just apply to your health and fitness journey – they are applicable to all aspects of your life!


By Zane Hadzick, a NASM-certified trainer, and Nutriabio athlete.