Want to help someone get bitten by the fitness bug? Well, if you want a person to change you have to be aware of the core needs of the human brain. Those needs are:

  • Status
  • Certainty
  • Freedom
  • Connection
  • Fairness
  • Meaning

Whether people are consciously aware of these needs or not, they are at play in every choice and decision they make. Four of these needs are at play in whether or not someone will pick up weight training or not.

1 – Status

Status can be thought of as achievement. If you're going to introduce a person to the gym you want to make sure the experience they have is one they feel they can excel at. This is why you may want to start them out with simple moves where they can see quick results, like the deadlift or squat instead of complex moves like the power clean or snatch. It's also why those who want to overcorrect on form may be inadvertently making their friend feel like a failure. Give them easy wins early to hit their status need.

2 – Freedom and Certainty

These are closely related. They're like two sides of the same coin. When thinking about getting someone into lifting, be flexible on the approach and don't view everything through the gym lens.

Perhaps a home gym provides more freedom (train when they want) and certainty (a familiar environment). Not everyone sees the gym as an enjoyable place. In fact, many see it in a negative light – conjuring images of huge grunting men in string tank tops. While you may think that's cool, they may see it as the last thing they want to associate with.

3 – Connection

This is key. If you can turn the gym into a place where they can connect with like-minded individuals, that's perfect. If the gym can be a place where you and your friend get quality time together, perfect.

4 – Meaning

We humans seek meaning above all else. If you can tie a person's weight lifting pursuits to their chosen meaning you will succeed every time.

I had a patient who struggled with her fitness pursuit for years... until I shared a study with her that children adopt the healthy (or unhealthy) habits of their parents. Her purpose was her little girl who she wanted to instill strength and independence in. For the first time she connected the gym in her mind as a way to achieve that. She never looked back.

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