When talking about cheerleaders, let me clarify one thing from the start. It’s not the cheerleaders on the sideline at sporting events who are waving their poms-poms around and chanting. Here, I’m referring to your personal support network, which you lean on in times of trouble and change.
Unsurprisingly, being a sole proprietor and a freelance fitness writer, I’m a lone wolf and lack day-to-day support. It isn’t bad or good; it is the way it is. Nothing gets done if my boss doesn’t get up and go to work. Whether I feel like working or not, I cannot get up and complain to my boss or lean on my workmates about my first-world problems.
My inner drive has to kick in to get things done. What has this all got to do with working out and being your best self? Don’t worry, here it comes.
What Happens When You Don’t Have Cheerleaders
Note: What is about to be explained is from personal experience, and no names will be used.
During my personal training ‘career,’ I lost many clients who quit and completely ghosted me. That’s not unusual, but three come to mind that will back up the point I’m trying to make. Over ten years ago, I trained an obese client who was trying to turn his life around with diet and exercise.
He had every intention of following through, but it was made more difficult by his wife, who was overweight and didn’t want to change for whatever reason. It’s not like she did it intentionally, but he’s trying to change, which was much more complicated because both kept eating the same foods. He didn’t see any results and soon quit. It was on him, but it may have been different if his wife had become a cheerleader rather than a bystander.
Another two married couples, a husband (client) and another couple, a wife (client), had trained with me at different times. Neither told their spouse about spending money on personal training and went out of the way to hide it from them. One client was going through a divorce, and the other was in a verbally abusive relationship.
Guess what happened with them both? It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. Cheerleaders in your corner is not compulsory for success, but it does make it easier.
What Happens When You Have Cheerleaders
Imagine if you’re running a marathon (crazy, I know), and at every mile maker, you had a friend or family member cheering you on. You would look forward to seeing them and their enthusiastic support each mile. You’d think that would make it easier to keep going, correct?
Same with exercise and behavior change. If you had cheerleaders in your corner supporting you, especially during downtimes, it would be easier to keep going. Not only does it feel good, but it helps reinforce your inner belief that you can do it, which is critical when your inner belief is low. Cheerleading is massive for giving support, but two more factors make it essential, too.
With your health and fitness goals in mind, there’s a chance you might not be able to stick to them without a bit of cheerleading. Reinforcing your inner belief is excellent, but having someone to impress and not wanting to let down is essential, too. When it is just you, it is easy to say I won’t do it today, but it makes it more difficult when someone is involved.
You have someone invested in you and someone you may let down besides yourself. That, my friends, is the heart of accountability. Regarding health and fitness, someone who can hold you to your word can make it easier for you to keep going.
Other people can influence your opinions; no surprise there. Some people rely on willpower to change their behaviors, but willpower is like a muscle; the more you use it, the weaker it gets. And when they fall off the wagon, they blame themselves for lack of willpower, which sets them up for failure.
This is why cheerleading is critical to your long-term success because motivation from your friends and family will fill in the gaps when willpower isn’t enough. In the long term, this will (hopefully) change your mindset in the long run, boosting your confidence and motivation.
When you’re upset about missing a workout or slamming down a bag of chips, you can ask your friends and family for guidance or vent. There’s no shame in admitting that you need help, and letting them do their cheerleading thing can give you more drive to stay fit.
Being a personal trainer, I’m the ultimate cheerleader for my clients, and their success is my success. But not everyone can afford a coach; even if they can, most still need support to pick them up when they are down. Having your cheerleaders in your corner is fantastic for life, love, health, and fitness.
Now, if I could only find my pom-poms.