Friends and Family; Your Own Personal Trainers

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James McDowell from New You guest blogs about the topic of accountability and working out with friends and family

In this the third guest blog post from the lovely guys at New You – Nutrition, Exercise and Weight Management, they look at an important topic, accountability. If you missed their previous guest blog post on how to avoid the trap of isolated eating, you can check it out here.


In a recent post on this blog I touched briefly on the concept of accountability; specifically how your nearest and dearest can help in the quest to achieve our health and fitness goals, however I’d like to cover this subject in more detail today.

When I was a teenager I ate, slept and breathed boxing. I would spring out of bed before school and go for a run, then rush home after school and go straight to Manorhamilton for training in the evening. This was my ritual for a good 2-3 years, however as soon as I moved from home that all stopped; there was no-one to enquire on the length of my run, check-up that I attended training or even made sure I was eating well. Now most top level boxers have the drive and passion to do these things on their own but those years proved to me that I am like 90% of gym goers; I need someone to keep me accountable.

The commencement of a gym plan or fitness goal should start with the idea of it being a priority, however in many instances irrational excuses and lies we tell ourselves get in the way of these goals and we end up ‘putting off’ the gym or healthy meal to another day. How many times have you told yourself ‘oh I’ll get back on track Monday’? But what if there was a way of enlisting someone that would nag, torment and generally be a nuisance until you got up off your a**e and went to the gym? A personal trainer I hear you say? Just maybe.

Anyone that you trust and discuss your goals with can be your personal ‘Mr Motivator’, quite possibly the best choice could be your kids. Children don’t try to understand or even care about the fact it may be bucketing down rain outside and you don’t want to get wet on the way to the gym, they also have no time for the song and dance that you’re too tired to make a healthy dinner; they just want the spaghetti Bolognese you promised them, and if they know you are trying to eat healthier the minute you reach for one square of chocolate you better believe they’ll let you know about it! I bet you’re struggling to see the appeal of this, however for those of you desperate to reach a goal it can be a fantastic extra little bit of motivation.

Alternatively for those of us without kids a workout partner could be an option; ideally someone of a similar fitness level with the same goals in mind. There’s no point training with a seasoned lifter striving to squat twice their bodyweight if you simply want to shift a few pounds, similarly don’t fall into the trap of picking a partner that would sooner ditch the gym for a Costa and some pastries. If you manage to find someone as determined to achieve their goals as you train with them! The accountability factor will be mutual then; when one of you doesn’t feel up to gym the other will explain why you’re doing it and the benefits that will come from pushing yourself that bit extra to go. The shame of letting your workout partner down will be strong enough to drag yourself out of bed in the morning to get to the gym before work, god forbid you let your comrade train alone (and have the bragging rights!).

Then there is the option of a personal trainer; you pay the trainer, you make an appointment and you absolutely must stick to that appointment or lose your money. I have no problem admitting it, 99% of the reason personal training is a million dollar industry is not due to the fact people want a fancy personalised training plan or the latest advice on nutrition, but rather they want someone to make certain they actually train in the first place! Most trainers don’t stop at the appointments you have with them, they also set goals and plans for the week that you must adhere too.

Having an individual or individuals to keep you accountable is not the be all and end all of adherence to health and fitness, rather another technique that can be employed to help. Start by telling one person you care about and trust your health and fitness goals, especially close family, and they invariably will ask ‘how it is going for you?’. Knowing this alone can give you that extra little push to leave the house and get soaked when it’s ‘too wet’ to go to the gym.

New You - James McDowell Fitness Series

For more info on this or any other questions on nutrition, fitness or overall well-being send the guys an email on or visit their Facebook page; ‘New You – Nutrition, Exercise and Weight Management’.

Author: Debbie


  1. Tracey Smith says:

    words of wisdom here, I always make myself more accountable if someone is pushing me or just keeping an eye on my progress

    • Debbie says:

      Hi Tracey,

      I agree, I think we always perform better when we know that someone is going to be checking up on us 🙂

      I personally found the whole personal trainer experience a game changer. I just never pushed myself hard enough in the gym. I know I could never have lost five stone and 38 inches without the help of a personal trainer like these guys. They really know their stuff. You should check them out if you’re interested. I think they have clients near you.



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