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On Praise

June 24, 2010

I was running the other day at the YMCA and a weird thing happened.  Below the indoor track are basketball courts where I regularly slobber over  enjoy observing objectively the men’s pick-up games.

There was no game going on, just a few random dudes shooting hoops.  One guy was sitting on the sidelines taking a break.  I didn’t think much of it.


Naturally I was really proud of this and as I rounded the corner I saw The Sitting Guy clapping.  Maybe it was the sweat pouring into my eyes, but I smiled.  He could tell how awesome it was for someone like me to run for that distance without having a coronary or a psychotic break!  Finally!  The accolades I have been waiting for!

For a moment, I felt intense pride and pleasure that the world is full of people who recognize greatness and accomplishments, who are willing to offer praise when it is due.

Then I realized what had actually happened.

Sitting Guy was complimenting his buddy, who had just made an awesome dunk.  And, while I was not unswayed in my own self-satisfaction for busting my endurance limits, this was when I realized that for fitness n00bs like myself, there cannot be enough praise.

For those of you who are naturally svelte, who have no mental blocks when it comes to physical exertion, who were born to wear spandex and sweat and coach soccer teams and have an entire wardrobe of Fun Run t-shirts, here are some ways to encourage and praise those fitness fetuses in your life:

1)  Listen without falling asleep to them describe their workout routines or food plans.

2)  Buy them subscriptions to fitness magazines like Men’s Health, Oxygen or Women’s Health.  (Note:  SHAPE magazine sucks!)

3)  Give them your favorite post-workout smoothie recipes or buy them a tankard of protein powder.

4)  Read blogs they write about fitness and make lots of dreamy, supportive comments.

5)  Say any of the following:

“I think you’ve got it in you to do this – don’t give up.”

“You look fantastic/gorgeous/hot/beautiful/wonderful/like you’ve lost weight.” (Pick your adjective according to audience)

“You’ve been working so hard – it’s so rad/awesome/groovy/inspiring/dope/fabulous.”

“You’ll surprise yourself at how strong you really are.”

“I’m so impressed by your dedication.”

“Let’s meet up to workout sometime.”

“Look at your huge bicep – it’s so amazing.” (Men only)

“Your clothes are hanging off you!  Let’s go shopping for some smaller ones.” (Women especially)

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