When it comes to health and wellness advice, I’ve learned to be mindful of who I am speaking to and in which context I am speaking in.
More importantly, in fact, the MOST important factor in me offering advice to anyone depends on the simple fact: whether or not they asked me.
With that said, I only offer advice to those who ask, despite me knowing something the other person may not.
As a personal trainer, unless we’re specifically asked for fitness or nutrition advice, it’s best to not give it up.
In the past, I’ve made the mistake, especially with loved ones, to try and tell them ways they can improve their current unhealthy habits. You probably have done something like this to someone you care about as well in hopes of simply helping them along their journey to make their lives easier.
Here’s why this usually is not a great idea to offer fitness advice to those who do not ask:
- It can come off as you lecturing
- It can trigger something in the other person you are unaware of
- Despite you knowing better, sometimes the person just has to learn for themselves
- The person may get defensive and put up a wall in the future when it comes to seeking advice from you
What I have personally moved towards doing instead of offering advice is modeling my behavior and habits.
According to Psychology Today, “Research on observational learning (in conjunction with an understanding of reactance theory) suggests that while people will resist unsolicited advice and instruction, they will follow the behaviors of others—especially when there appear to be good and reinforcing outcomes from these behaviors (or beliefs).”
It can literally be painful to watch the people we love sometimes self-sabotage themselves. However, it’s best to steer away from offering advice unless asked and simply lead by example.
If you really want to make a difference in someone's life, the best thing to do is go about your business and act according to how you would like the other person to model. In this case, actions definitely speak louder than words!