How a Fitness Role Model Can Help You

It's hard to reach your goals when you can't see them. That's where a fitness role model comes in. She can help us visualize our goals, show us how to achieve them, and keep us on task when the going gets tough. So where do you find one? Fitness role models are everywhere-at the gym, in magazines, and right in our neighborhoods, offices, and schools.  They're on TV shows like The Biggest Loser where personal trainers, Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels, demonstrate how to make fitness happen-but the contestants themselves may be more realistic role models. They're real people making their fitness goals a reality.

How do you pick a fitness role model?  You may need more than one, especially if you're motivated by many factors.

Start by setting your goals.  What do you want to achieve? 

  • Weight loss?  Pick someone you know who has successfully lost weight the old-fashioned way, through diet and exercise. 
  • Better heart health?  Pick someone who's made a big difference in lowering her own blood pressure or made a big comeback after being diagnosed with heart disease. 
  • Better tone and appearance? Pick someone near your age who you think looks fit and fine, not just thin.  Fitness comes in all shapes and sizes.
  • Improved strength and energy?  Whether your goal is to get strong enough to climb a mountain or keep up with your kids, strength is a key fitness factor.  Pick someone near your age group who has the stamina of a teenager.

Next, pick someone you don't know, like an actor near your age or a public figure with a figure you admire. Say, Valerie Bertinelli or Michelle Obama.  Sure, they're famous, but they're also real women who find time for fitness despite busy lives. Do a little research and find out what they do to stay fit.

Then, pick a celebrity fitness trainer, like Seane Corn (yoga), Denise Austin (cardio and weights), or Valerie Waters (trainer to the stars) who has a pile of DVDs, books or computer programs that can guide you through a variety of workouts.  Try a few and choose the one that fits your goals and lifestyle best.

Find a trainer, teacher or fitness expert at your gym, or community center (or hire one to come to your home or office) to help you design the perfect workout for your goals, body type and health status.  No fitness program is perfect for everyone and it's perfectly acceptable to tinker with a routine until it's just right for you.  If you can afford a few sessions with that trainer, you'll start down the road to success more safely and motivated by a professional who will keep you on track.

Probably the most important step in choosing a fitness role model is picking a workout buddy. Studies show that having a workout partner keeps people motivated because they're accountable to someone else.  It's easy to blow off your own workout, but not as simple to disappoint your friend. 

  • Ask your spouse, best friend, neighbor, or coworker to commit to regular exercise and a fitness plan with you.
  • Find someone who shares your goals, is responsible, dependable, and not afraid to kick you in the pants (and off the couch) when necessary.  

It helps if your workout buddy and fitness role model is already more fit than you, but it's not mandatory as long as he/she is working toward better fitness and motivates you to do the same. Before you know it, you'll be the one who's the role model.