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How Do You Motivate a Lazy Friend to Work Harder?

I have a workout buddy. Cool guy, very young. 20 years old. Fairly strong with upper-body but still obviously a beginner in lifting. VERY smart and really friendly.

I’ve been working out with him for a few weeks now and noticed that compared to puny little me, despite the fact that I’ve only been heavy squatting for 5 weeks and him training for a few months, his squat is complete garbage compared to mine. There’s no better way to say it.

Now, he’s been my friend for a relatively short time. I am not sure if the rapport is there yet to where I can comfortably drill-sergeant his butt so he’d do better, but it’s a little hard on my conscience to let him go without me helping him a bit. In my short time knowing him, I’ve already witnessed him skip TWO leg days with a silly excuse of “I think I’m overtraining.” This was TWICE.

Right now, I’m unemployed. He works full time. But I’ve been in a job where I was working 40-hours a week and still did a crazy high-frequency training program that was brutal in the mind and body, and survived with good gains. I don’t think he has an excuse. If he had another time-consuming hobby I’d understand, but all his life is right now is work and workout. He barely even play his video games, otherwise me and him would talk about them nonstop as I myself love video games.

I was wondering how I should approach him about it, or even whether or not I should…

Should I just suck it up and stay silent? Or will he appreciate my tough-love? How would you deal with this kind of scenario in your life?

Many thanks, folks.

First off, from your power clean vid, you’re not advanced but you’re certainly not a noob. I think you have what it takes to train him.

People nowadays generally respond more to positive reinforcement, eg, encouragement when he’s forcing out his last few reps, getting him to break PRs etc. If you want to train him I’d suggest you approach it in this manner.

But IME some people just aren’t cut out for this. If he doesn’t want it badly enough to find time to train, or push himself hard in the gym, whatever you do would be useless but you don’t have to take responsibility for his decisions.


I’m not really understanding your relationship. Why do you feel the need to approach him if he’s not interested in working out? Or do you actually really need a gym buddy?

If it’s the latter, just go find someone else in the gym to train with who’s actually serious about training.


I had a friend that worked out with me for years. His progress compared to mine was always crap. Mainly because he didnt / wouldn’t eat. It’s not your fault. Offer tips and when your friend gets envious of you explain why you are different.

But honestly some people like the idea of this life over the reality. The product over the process. Everyone wants to look good naked. But so few people are willing to spend 2 years training 4 days a week either eating like a horse to grown or counting calories in orange juice so they lean out.

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Most people do these things for themself. Telling them what you think they should do is somewhat disrespectful.

Do your thing. If he wants you to help, he’ll ask. If he doesn’t, he won’t. But learn to respect that boundary whether he asks or not.


Just let people be.


Will you take unsolicited work help from him?

Done your resume yet?
No? That’s possibly your.dream job missed
What colour is your suit?
You gonna change that haircut?
What? No elevator pitch?

Be grateful you have someone to train with is my advice.


Lead by example.

This isn’t moral theology, he doesn’t have an obligation to get stronger. Show him the way, if your results show him its worthy of his time, he’ll follow.

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Baring super villain levels of hypnotism, you cannot make a human feel a feeling or do a thing.


Oh no no. He’s already my workout buddy. lol. I met him at the gym. We’ve been training consistently together. Not all the time, mind you, but at least 20% of the time he’s in the gym, he’s with me.

I just think he can do better when it comes to the work ethic aspect of the lifting life.

Is his squat Garbage because it’s all over the place with shitty technique? Or is his squat garbage because he isn’t very strong yet?