how to motivate fitness friends

Using Love Languages in Your Fitness Relationships

Mariah Cressy In Motion 0 Comments

In Motion with RPM readers, I really hope you had a wonderful August and found fun and fitness with family and friends during the last real month of summer!

If you’re feeling anything like me, summer blinked by (where did August go?!) and we’re already two weeks into September! Whoosh!

And with the passing of summer, my and my husband’s one-year anniversary flashed by, as well, but left me (being the perfectionist and people-person that I am) pondering how I could be a better partner in our fitness life. The question has been rolling around in the back of my head now for almost a month.

If you’ve been following along, you know that George and I have been maintaining a running streak (I’m at 515 days; George is just short of three years and 2 months!). We’ve been really supportive of each other — sometimes even running twice in a day just to complete the other’s mile with them — and it’s been a lot of fun. But could I improve? No doubt.

One of my favorite books, mostly because of its practicality to all relationships — not just marriages — is The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. Reading this book opened my eyes to how I value certain forms of affection and how to discover and communicate with others’ love languages, whether that’s George, a family member, or a friend.

In case you’ve already read it but need a refresher, the five love languages are Quality Time, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, and Acts of Service.

Surely, I thought, those languages of affection apply to all aspects of life, including fitness training.

I conjured up a thought experiment to see if these do matter to me, as I pursue my health goals. I’ll walk you through it.

My top love languages are Quality Time and Words of Affirmation.

Since a big focus in our lives is health, when George’s appreciation for me and my fitness goals is realized through shared time together and affirming words, they mean so much more to me.

Like if George runs that extra mile because I still need to get mine in for the day, and we get to talk about our days and connect, that fills my “love tank.”

And George is great about using positive feedback whenever we’re working out — which means a boost in confidence for me and another reason I tend to be more willing to get that next workout in.

I had never thought about our communication affecting our attitudes toward each other and working out together, but it makes perfect sense. Everyone enjoys feeling appreciated, and when that appreciation is connected to larger life goals, the recognition is that much stronger.

Now it’s your turn — I’ve worked through an example of how each of the love languages may be applied below (spoiler: they can and should be utilized in any and all relationships you’ve cooked up, and might make all the difference for fitness motivation).

Try these the next time you’re working out with your S.O. or good friend:

Quality Time

If your friend’s love language is quality time, why not tag along to the next race your fitness pal is in. The time spent together on the car ride there and post-race gives you both a chance to spend some time in each other’s company while your friend gets to do something they enjoy.

Physical Touch

High fives are underrated. Next time your fitness buddy crushes their workout, put it there!

Words of Affirmation

Have a friend who’s recently revived their fitness journey? Send them an appreciative message about how inspiring their effort and dedication is.

Gifts

You don’t have to actually purchase something for your fitness pals whose love language is Gifts. Put together a workout playlist for the next time you guys are pumping iron!

Acts of Service

Make your significant other a healthy meal next time they’re putting in the time to workout. They’ll feel loved, and you’ll both be able to enjoy the benefits of a healthy meal!

Whether or not you explicitly know what love language(s) are your fitness buddy’s top two, putting them all into practice is a great way to show your appreciation for your healthy relationship. And if they’re feeling appreciated, they’ll be more likely to reciprocate!

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