It may be time to replace your friends

You don’t have to create a big drama, but if you want to change your life and your fitness and you are hanging out with people that aren’t up to that, you need new friends.

I was talking to someone who was struggling with their fitness and health goals and not dropping the weight and really having trouble staying on a healthy eating plan. We talked about several things and the one thing that kept coming back was that they would go camping or to softball tournaments or BBQ’s with their friends who were all overweight and flat out not interested in health or exercise. When asked about joining in for a little workout on the weekend this person got made fun of and joked about so they did nothing and ate garbage all weekend – again. I see this time and time and time again.

This past weekend I thought it was really neat on Sunday to read through all of my friend posts from the weekend. Catherine won her age group at a half marathon in Mexico, Eddy won the Men’s Middle Weight Alberta Provincial Body Building Championships (where several other friends also competed), Joan completed RAAM (The Race Across America – a grueling 12+ day bicycle race covering over 5,000kms), Matt ran a marathon, Lyle did his first ever Sprint Triathlon, Glen completed another in a long history of triathlons, etc. Last weekend Chris did his first ever Spartan Race, while Janis did her first ever Olympic Distance Triathlon and several friends cycled over 200kms in support of MS fundraising. This coming weekend Carol will do her first Olympic Triathlon.

These are my friends and I feel so lucky to have them, but it is also by choice. I choose to hang around with these people. I work hard to spend time with these kinds of people.

Who you hang around with matters.

I know a guy whose 17-year-old son started smoking in spite of everything the family did to try and prevent it. His son is a mechanics apprentice and hangs around with smokers all day – almost a guaranteed outcome and tragic.

I see this all the time at the gym on the positive side a community forms, a positive community, a community of friends all up to the same thing – getting fit. It’s an energy, a support system, a dependable, powerful force that will support you in your goal, not drag you away from it. People who are up to the same thing as you, and understand the things you do. Your busy weekends exercise are encouraged, shared and celebrated.

What did I do this past weekend? I rode my bicycle 400kms from Kelowna to Delta (near Vancouver) in one day to raise money for directed cancer research. It’s an amazing group of people from all walks of life, all up to the same thing – using their fitness to raise money for a good cause. I love this one because all of the money goes to research, no administration fees, 100% volunteer driven. I respect that, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it is just a lot of fun spending an entire day with people like me, who love to do crazy endurance stuff. I get to feel normal around them because in that group – endurance stuff is normal.

I am not saying ditch your friends or get into a big fight. I am just saying that if you look around at who you call your friends and they are not doing the things you want to be doing, or living the lifestyle that you want to live, it may be time to find some new friends.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.

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