DEFINTION OF FITNESS SUPPORT GROUP
A support group is a gathering of people who share a common health concern or interest. A fitness support group focuses on helping its members achieve their fitness goals which typically include physical, emotional and mental aspects. Formats for support groups can vary. They can include in-person meeting, online sharing and / or telephone support.
BENEFITS OF SUPPORT GROUPS
- Provides motivation for members to accomplish their personal goals,
- Increases optimism, a sense of empowerment and hopefulness,
- Improves access to information needed,
- Increases opportunities to participate in a wide range of activities with others,
- Introduces variety into each person’s fitness plan which keeps it more interesting,
- Offers accountability for those who need it,
- Increases the possibility for bonding with people with whom you share specific life challenges!
Answer the question: Why create this fitness group?
- Is it to help people who need to lose weight?
- Is it for people who like to socialize while exercising?
- Is it only for people who are having trouble achieving their fitness goals?
- Is it open to any and all?
Answer the question: What are a few goals for this group?
Possible weight loss goals
- Decreased inches
- Decreased pounds
- Decreased body fat percentages
Individual member goals
Write out some possible ways to accomplish each goal
- In-person meetings
- Online sharing
- Telephone support
Determine meeting structure.
- Check-ins including individual and subgroup goal progress, partnering needs, informational topic planning and group activity planning
- Review group goals and guidelines including brainstorming next steps as needed
- 10 minute exercise “take-home” demonstration
- Informational presentation
- Resource information presentation
- Review next steps
- Determine ideal group size.
Devise ways to promote your group membership.
- Create a poster which is distributed to community center, local clinics, supermarkets, faith based organizations and other high traffic areas.
- Post meeting announcements in free online sites such as Meetup.com, Craigslist.com, etc.
- Find a location for your group meetings.
- Schedule dates and times for meetings.
Define different roles for group members.
- Logistics for ongoing meetings
- Fitness partnering coordination
- Logistics for special activities
- Note taker
- New member welcome person
- Coordinator for guest speakers
- Keeper of email / telephone list
- Meeting facilitator
- Flyer creator
- Online poster
- Topic presenter
Brainstorm discussion topics
- Weight resistance
- Portion control
Mind / body skills
- Mindful eating
- Guided visualizations
- Self-talk and mantras
- Stress diary to understand emotional eating patterns
- Understanding relationship with food
Brainstorm activity possibilities
- Visit other member’s home gym
Join national contests
- Biggest Loser
- Create local contest which can be promoted on local public radio
- Cooking a healthy meal together
- Group discussion of fitness related book read by all
- Theme park
- Meal at healthy food restaurant
- Prizes for those who successfully accomplish a specific goal