“I want to give an encouraging fitness gift to a friend who— how can I put this nicely?—needs to think about working out. What can I get that isn’t insulting?” – Doug S., Kansas City, MO
You may want to reconsider giving unsolicited fitness “help,” even if your intentions are sincere.
“Most ‘encouraging gifts’ are anything but gifts,” says life coach and author Mike Hrostoski. “They send the message that the person isn’t good enough just as he is. Yes, he might need to think about working out, but is it your responsibility to tell him that — and possibly risk losing a friendship?” Instead, Hrostoski advises thinking about less-hostile ways to push him in the right direction. For example, mention new fitness discoveries that have worked well for you.
Or go the teamwork route: “We can fail to reach even well-intentioned goals if we try to go at them alone,” Hrostoski says. “So ask your friend to be your workout buddy, or create a fitness challenge you can do together.” If it sounds like a lot of fun, it just might work.