T Nation

Getting Couch Potato Friend into GYM


So I've got a friend of mine, a really good friend....who is a massive couch potato. He works a million hours a week, eats like shit and spends his time at home watching TV and playing on his iphone (at the same time).

I know the saying "You can't save everyone" and I know it's true. But I'd like to try at least; to get my buddy into better physical health. He used to play hockey with me (and was a lot better) so I know he's ok with being active.

What are some suggestions that you'd say are good for trying to get him into the gym with me to train?

I've already asked him a bunch of times in passing. He usually calls me around 3 on fridays and asks: "What are you doing tonight?" to which I reply "I'm hitting the gym around 5, wanna come?" It's always no; either with or without a reason/excuse why.

I can even get him a free week! Hm.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?


You are wasting your time. I know you don't think so because you think your case is special and that anyone telling you otherwise just doesn't see what you see. However, there is no larger vain attempt than trying to BE someone else's motivation.


I'll second that one. In this type of scenario 'you can't save everyone' doesn't apply. It's more like 'you can't save anyone'. Can you motivate someone to quit smoking, drinking etc? No.

All you can do is continue to offer. Maybe one day he'll be bored, go with you and love it. More likely he'll go with you once and then go home and watch t.v.


I've tried and failed here too.

all you can really do is be available to help if he chooses to start.


heh, my friends have been sort of the opposite.

like clockwork, once a year, a good friend would want to 'get in shape'. we would do the whole ritual - diet, routine, even taking starting measurements. within a week he wouldnt follow the diet anymore, within a month or two (at the most) he wouldnt be working out anymore. the last time he asked about working out together, i just asked "why?"..i was tired of wasting my time with it...and he never started working out on his own, either.


i just call them a fat mess, female or male. generally they either want too come or they dont, might explain why i have few friends lol


I have had zero success on this front. The best way is just to keep doing what you're doing.

I think that active people mistake how much of a paradigm shift it is for others. It's like what I posted in another thread about substance abuse... when you want to change, you'll change. I sort of call it "lifestyle abuse..." haha... but the corresponding elements are pretty similar.

The best way, in my experience (sadly), you can motivate your friend to change is to provide a contrast that will be appealing to him.

As to the confronting him about his lifestyle, and the cons, that's something you'd have go gauge on the basis of your relationship and personalities.

Just speaking IMO... hope it's helpful, even if it's negative.


Pay a stripper to come to his house and start griding all over him. Have her tell him she would fuck him, but he's not fit, and she only fucks fit guys.

If that don't work, nothing will. And really, the gym needs fewer fuck offs that walk around being chuckleheads, not more.


Do you do anything active for fun? Invite him and dominate him.

Helps with the contrast.


If your example isn't sufficient to motivate him, nothing will be. Leave him be. You might be surprised how much influence you can have minding your own business, but looking good and healthy and only offering info if asked.


man i actually had a friend that turned the corner after we started working out together. He was a fat mess in 8th grade and he couldnt get a girl if his life depended on it... meanwhile i could.. long story short, i needed a workout parter in ninth grade and asked him to go. he went and loved it! after 3 years he was taller more attractive and had self confidence he never had before. I do think though, that it was something he made the decision to do. I was the catalyst, but he kept it going.

Nothing you cAn do will make somebody want to be in shape, it has to come from within. Even so, think I gave my friend a gift he will cherish for the rest of his life. I say f#$% it help him out, get him into the gym your buddy might suprise you


I'm just getting back to workin out myself. I broke my wrist a year ago after workin out for a solid year. I have a friend that is inconstant himself in workin out. He's too busy playin XBOX/kids. Last week I made him work out with me cause I was maxin that week. After he saw how much I had gained he is gettin back himself now. Dont pressure him, just show what ur workin so hard for. Envy is a bitch...


Well guys I tried and succeeded with one of my buddies. The thing is my case is a little different from yours. I stayed for the Christmas break with the guy (note: this is in Utah State University needless to say...boring as hell), we had nothing to do so since we were literally alone i told him if he wanted to go train with me n kill some time at the gym. He went with me n has never looked back he's in fact the best training partner I've had in a long time.

P.S. before this event his brother and I used to call him all sorts of shit because of his lazy ass, so maybe that can work although I dont know if he would get offended.


Thanks for the thoughts/words/advice.

He came to the gym with me once in college (4+yrs ago) and that was the last of it.

I ask him in passing; but don't really push it. You would think he'd be able to see how it is benefiting me...but I think he has gone to the point of no return.

It hasn't detered me at all. Actually; hanging with him really makes me motivated from time to time. I chill with him and think; man....I'm f*cking awesome. I'm gonna go lift heavy shit that he'll never be able to do.

Sorta mean/cocky...but it's in no way a lie.


Let him rot on the couch.

Thinning of the herd is a positive phenomenon.


man! i dont even talk to my friends about workin out anymore. everyone thinks they know more than me and they dont even try to go to the gym! it pisses me off so when they ask me for advise on how to eat better of how to get bigger, i just change the subject. i hate to be like that but with some people your just wasting your time!


I'm 100% for Darwinism man. Let the strongest survive.


If your gym has racquetball courts try to get him to play. After a few times just ask if he wants to go lift a little and ease into it. Start off small...You are smart in your thinking not to push it.


Our collective gene pool in this country is more like a cesspool.


I think that why most people fail to bring friends into the gym is going too fast too soon.

Your friend won't want to train anoymore if you immediately tell him about 5 day splits, training methods, how he should eat clean always and forever and so on.

Start by just taking him to the gym once, or twice a week. Or better yet, just take the man outside. Throw a ball around, anything to get him to move a little more. Then slowly progress.