How Not to Give the Gift of Fitness

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This morning on the radio, I heard a story about the best way to gift fitness to a friend who just isn’t into it.  The basic gist of it was “Don’t buy them a treadmill with the hopes that they will use it, but buy them some cute “Athleisure” clothes or get them a yoga mat that matches yours, or buy them a gift card for some workout classes.”

Don’t do this.  Don’t do any of this.

If you have a friend who knows you take yoga classes but has never shown any interest in your classes, don’t give them the “gift” of a class for Christmas.  There is a solid chance they have zero interest in yoga, and you forcing them with a “gift” sort of takes away the meaning of the gift.  That’s like giving someone broccoli for Christmas.  “I know you say you don’t like this, but I really like it, and I think you should try it so now you have to.”

Can you imagine how insulting that might be to someone?  Hi, I’m in shape and you’re not, so I’m going to give you these classes so you can tone up, and it’s a gift, so you have to thank me.  Oh, you never workout because you don’t have the gear?  Well, here you go, now you have no excuse!

I love triathlon.  I love riding my bike.  I have a love/hate relationship with running and swimming.  And trust me, everyone I come in contact with knows these things about me eventually.  I have some friends who have shown interest, and I’m immediately encouraging.  I have other friends who have zero interest, but think what I do is cool anyway, and I so appreciate that support.  Doesn’t mean that I’m going to give my non-swimming friend a cute bathing suit for Christmas.

If you are into a certain activity and have a friend you think would enjoy it, invite them to join you sometime, not as a Christmas gift, but just as a nice thing to do.  See if you can borrow a bike for them to use, get them a guest pass to your gym, ask them if they want to join you for a beginner yoga class.  Don’t force it.  Don’t demand they join you.  If they say no, they say no.  Your friends don’t have to love everything you love.

And “athleisure” clothes aren’t going to make anyone more likely to workout.  Yoga pants are comfy and awesome for wearing when sitting on the couch.

One thought on “How Not to Give the Gift of Fitness

  1. I’d argue that most of my friends don’t exercise. And not once did I EVER think to make them because I wanted a buddy. Or whatever other bad reason I could think of.

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