I have a friend who is really puny. . .

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    Dec 08, 2008 1:38 AM GMT
    . . . and I'm trying to gently encourage him to start lifting weights and work out. And I'm getting nowhere. He weighs about 120 with no muscle and I think he'd be a lot happier and gain some confidence if he got some muscle and got into better shape.

    I've tried to get him to join the gym. . . and he won't, he thinks he'll look out of place, etc. (As you can see, he's got some insecurity issues.) I told him that was insane, that I've been to gyms thousands of times all over the world and I've never had anyone be rude, nor ever seen it foisted on others.

    Also tried to get him to buy some home equipment, do push-ups, start running, etc. Doesn't work.

    He suffers from depression and takes meds, and I tell him that working out may help relieve some of that. Still no dice.

    I don't harp on it, or nag him, 'cause that does no good whatsoever. I just nicely bring it up from time to time. But I'm getting nowhere. Any advice? Really, my friend needs help.
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    Dec 08, 2008 1:58 AM GMT
    Have you offered to accompany him to the gym? Workout together?
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    Dec 08, 2008 1:59 AM GMT
    Oh yeah. Absolutely. Still doesn't work.
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    Dec 08, 2008 2:11 AM GMT
    being depression and low self confidence, your gonna have to be a little more forceful with him, hes using excuses to keep himself in something he knows and anything outside of that can be terrifying..

    I'm inclined to tell you to drag his arse into the gym and make him do the work, but, I know full well that its going to have to be on his shoulders to go and do it, I know I would have loved someone to drag me in there and got me working out earlier and yes, it does help a lot with self confidence and even more so with depression.

    has he expressed an interest in going to the gym and working out? by either lifting weights or cardio.. if he has, you might be able to drag him in, but, you'll have to almost literally hold his hand while hes in there, its a big scary place with lots of big buff hot men... it can be scary for a newbie.

    Otherwise, encourage him to do other stuff he would normally enjoy, be consistent but gentle, however, don't let him make excuses to not do it.

    or at least thats the way I'd handle it.
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    Dec 08, 2008 2:58 AM GMT
    [quote][cite]lilTanker said[/cite]
    has he expressed an interest in going to the gym and working out? by either lifting weights or cardio.. if he has, you might be able to drag him in, but, you'll have to almost literally hold his hand while hes in there, its a big scary place with lots of big buff hot men... it can be scary for a newbie
    .


    He only expresses interest in a wishful sort of way. . . like it's something he'd like to do, but somehow can't. I've definitely tried to get him to go with me, because I know he certainly wouldn't go on his own. But no luck.
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    Dec 08, 2008 3:04 AM GMT
    LittleDudeWithMuscles said[quote][cite]lilTanker said[/cite]
    has he expressed an interest in going to the gym and working out? by either lifting weights or cardio.. if he has, you might be able to drag him in, but, you'll have to almost literally hold his hand while hes in there, its a big scary place with lots of big buff hot men... it can be scary for a newbie
    .


    He only expresses interest in a wishful sort of way. . . like it's something he'd like to do, but somehow can't. I've definitely tried to get him to go with me, because I know he certainly wouldn't go on his own. But no luck.


    yeah I know that one, throw him over your shoulder and carry him in...

    If you guys are close mates, then you can be a little forceful in getting him there, at least to try it for a week or two.

    Otherwise, knock down his complaints hes using to keep him out of it, give him the opposite of what he says, your effectively gotta annoy him until he relents just so you'll shut up.

    For someone like your mate, its a really scary prospect, he probably doesn't know how to do anything, feels really self conscious about his body and I'm betting might not be that big of crowded places either, so really the only advice i can offer is just being forceful in a mate sorta way and knocking back his objections with counter arguments.
  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    Dec 08, 2008 3:11 AM GMT
    Umm.. anyone ever consider that maybe he just doesn't want to? I mean call me crazy, but different people have different interests. Depressed or not.
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    Dec 08, 2008 3:15 AM GMT
    Actually, Eric, down deep, he really wants to. He talks all the time about how he wants to build himself up. But he's got some social phobias, and that's keeping him from going.
  • upsguy68

    Posts: 270

    Dec 08, 2008 3:57 AM GMT
    Having been on meds for depression myself, he may need to see his doctor about different meds. Try to approach him with that angle. A change of meds and your willingness to go with him to the gym might make all the difference.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Dec 08, 2008 4:01 AM GMT
    Can you try doing a workout with him at his place, or at yours?
    Maybe doing pushups, dips, running, etc at a home, away from others?
    Is there something that he would do, that would have the same affect but not be at the gym? Like tennis, volleyball, swimming, squash, indoor/outdoor rock climbing? There are things other than the gym that can help someone get in better shape and boost their confidence. Indoor rock climbing in particular could be good for that, because being lean and wiry is great for it.
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    Dec 08, 2008 4:02 AM GMT
    He may also just be real anxious in social situations.
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    Dec 08, 2008 4:03 AM GMT
    How about encouraging him to get a dog and walk it regularly? The positive effects of physical movement (for depression) can come from something like that, too, right?
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    Dec 08, 2008 4:07 AM GMT
    Once had a bit of a similar situation with a friend except he wasn't puny. Was when I first started working out. We had said we were going to be gym buddies and help motivate each other and get me over my fear of going to the gym. It didn't work so well. He ended up being the one that chickened out. Said he was intimidated by the other people. Then I said something I never forgot.

    "Well, I'd rather be the intimidated man in the gym than the intimidated man sitting on the couch."

    It motivated me more than it motivated him. And I've never looked back or felt out of place in a gym since.
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    Dec 08, 2008 10:17 AM GMT
    well tell him everybody has to start somewhere and many a big, buff hot guy was once 120lbs with no muscle ..
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    Dec 08, 2008 2:16 PM GMT
    I say let it go. Working is something that works for you, it may not be his thing. Not everyone is in to going to the gym. If you are worried about his emotional state encourage his take a class that could be creative. Perhaps start a new hobby. Do if he does not have the passion for going the gym then that's not what he wants to do.

    Bulging muscles are not for everyone. A clsoe friend of mine would not be caught dead in the gym but then again he runs 8 to 10 miles a week.
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    Dec 08, 2008 2:48 PM GMT
    RunnerBen saidHow about encouraging him to get a dog and walk it regularly? The positive effects of physical movement (for depression) can come from something like that, too, right?


    I think this is really good advice. A dog is an obligation. It forces you to get out of your apartment and walk. That is a good first step in getting fit. For some people, they can't just go from couch potato to gym bunny. They need baby steps. First walk the dog. Then play basketball every Saturday. Then heaving weights at the gym.

    In addition, pets can be therapeutic for people with depression.
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    Dec 08, 2008 2:48 PM GMT
    Puny friends make you look bigger. Think of him as an accessory.
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    Dec 08, 2008 3:26 PM GMT
    maybe you're approaching this from the wrong angle?

    just tell him about all the cock in locker room. that should get him motivated! icon_wink.gif
  • SoDakGuy

    Posts: 1862

    Dec 08, 2008 5:02 PM GMT
    Show him those before and after articles in Mens' Fitness or some of the guys here. Loads of us had to start somewhere. icon_smile.gif
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Dec 08, 2008 6:10 PM GMT
    You're TELLING him he'd be happier doing something he's perfectly capable of doing without you

    If you like this guy for whatever reason
    if you want him to be more healthy ... get him to go on a bike ride with you
    take him on a run
    go on a hike with him

    But Don't say .. Hey dude, we need to get you to a gym


    It's Kinda on the order of a built guy comin up to you in a gym and
    sayin' .... Hey Dude, we really gotta work on your tri's... their hurtin

    doesn't sound too inviting does it?

  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Dec 08, 2008 6:41 PM GMT
    You say he takes meds for depression. Is he also having counselling? Meds are a short term fix and not the full solution.

    You sound like a great guy in wanting him to gain confidence. But sometimes it is up to us to help ourselves, and real change can only happen when we're ready and willing to do this, no matter how encouraging our friends are..

    Lozx
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    Dec 08, 2008 6:53 PM GMT
    Is he straight? Maybe you could find a female friend to coax him into going w/ her.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Dec 08, 2008 7:14 PM GMT
    I actually went through something similar to this with my roommate when I first started working out. We were both on the really thin side, but I saw definite improvement over a couple of months of hitting the gym, and he started expressing vague wishes of doing the same, but it took him a while to actually do anything about it.

    I even went through something similar myself--when I first started I was 6 foot tall and 135 pounds, and felt way out of place at a gym. I got over it by going at a time when very few people were using the gym (so there basically wouldn't be people around who *could* stare at me), getting an online personal trainer I could ask a ton of questions about proper form (I used plusoneactive.com until I felt I knew enough to go it alone), and by just sucking it up and going despite feeling awkward and uncomfortable. I realized after a little while that no one else there cared what I was doing, and I also just felt more comfortable after some repetition.

    Fundamentally, it rests on him choosing to do something about it. given that you're his friend, not his parent, you're not really in a position to force him into it. The best you can do is to talk with him about what's holding him back. Tell him that you've heard him express a wish to get in shape, and you've not really seen him do much about that, so you're curious what's standing in his way. Then offer ways around those road blocks. Be prepared for him to shoot several of your suggestions down; don't take it personally, but just keep calm with asking "Why does that not work for you?" and addressing each reason he gives as it comes up. If it's that it's too big of a commitment, offer to go for a 20 minute run once a week with him to start--nobody is too busy to run for 20 minutes once a week, and it's a start. If he says that running's too high of impact, suggest swimming, or an hour of walking through the neighborhood. If he worries about the gym not being open/being too crowded at the times that are convenient for him, give him some simple things that don't require a gym, like pushups and dips and even just climbing stairs. If it's that he'd feel out of place, offer to give him some pointers. If he really thinks people would stare, get him a single day pass at the local Y so he can see that in most gyms the vast majority of people pay no attention at all to anyone who isn't using a piece of equipment that they are waiting to use. If he's uncomfortable with you showing him the ropes, offer to get him a session with a personal trainer for Christmas as long as he asks the trainer to show him how to do the exercises and use the equipment. If he's uncomfortable with his body, reassure him that lots of people work out in baggy sweats.

    At the end of the day, you may well not get him to change. But if you take away his easy excuses, you at least have a good chance of making him face the fact that he's choosing not to follow through on something he says he'd like to do. That might be what he really needs--to realize that getting in shape is something he's actually in control of, not something that depends on luck.
  • reliable1

    Posts: 65

    Dec 08, 2008 7:18 PM GMT
    I'm with the ones saying let him be. If you're occasionally expressing what it is doing for you, that'll either be attractive to him or not. Getting him to a gym before he's really wanting to may do more harm than good later. If it doesn't work, then later on (when he would really want to), he may not bother because it didn't work out before for him after being prodded into it before he was ready.
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    Dec 08, 2008 8:27 PM GMT
    He's like so many little guys, and fat people, I've met over the years. He's full of hot air. Only when he gains some courage will he go. You can offer to go with him, get a trainer, etc., but until he takes action everything will remain the same. He enjoys being miserable, and, you enjoy helping him be miserable.

    I'd call him up and tell him you're going to the gym, and ask him if he wants to go. If he says no, fine; go without him. Repeat a few more times. After that, write him off as the timid, lazy, non-starter that he is.