Cheerleader or Pusher ?

by Thursday, August 25, 2011

Last week on my Facebook page & Twitter, I asked: Do you need a Cheerleader or a Pusher? At first glance, you might think… “hm, there isn’t really a difference, what is this girl talking about..?” Imagine it this way – you are the quarterback of your high school football team, there are two sources of motivation on the sidelines – 1. The Cheer Team and 2. Your Coach.  As the quarterback, do you think that the cheerleaders and your head coach are the same?? I didn’t think so… so we are going to examine a little of how that cheerleader & coach play a part in health & fitness.

CHEERLEADER:  I was a cheerleader all throughout high school and a coach later on as well, so I know full and well what it is like and what it means to be a cheerleader.  When it comes to football, the cheerleader is there to shout out support & motivation things like “Way to go TEAM Way to GO!” When the quarterback throws an interception the cheerleader doesn’t run out there and tell him what he did wrong and why didn’t he look to the left when he looked right?  The cheerleader is simply there for the support and motivation.

In fitness & weightloss, it’s the same thing.  When I’ve had a bad day of eating it’s nice to know that I have a friend or a supporter there to say, “ya know what, that’s okay we all have a cheat day you’ll get back on the train tomorrow..” It is nice to have that because then I know that I’m not alone, someone is there to reassure me that I’ve had a bad day and that’s okay, it’s not going to affect me long term and it’s awesome for an instant pick me up.  On the flipside, the cheerleader might offer a few suggestions as how to make your meal better or how to work a little harder on your exercise, but the cheerleader is just there for tips and motivation more or less, not to really get you moving and keep you focused.

As a fitness coach or instructor, the cheerleader approach works wonders because you can give it out to anyone that did or didn’t ask for it.  You don’t have to be aware of exactness or specifics of what the person is doing or what they normally eat or how they stay on track, you just need to be an open ear and a support.  I have found that those that need a cheerleader the most are individuals who are maintaining weight or just an all around fitness lover that isn’t really reaching towards goals, just enjoys being healthy and fit on a day to day basis.

PUSHER:  Remember that quarterback that threw an interception a few paragraphs ago? Well, guess who the PUSHER is? Yep. The coach and I can almost guarantee you that coach is going to run up to the quarterback the minute he walks away from the play, maybe chew him a new one and sit him down on the bench.  Not to forget the practice the following Monday, he’ll be getting double time on his conditioning because of that missed pass.

I’m going to fully admit that even as a fitness coach, when it comes to my own goals, especially with how I eat, I need a PUSHER.  I need a person that is going to keep up with me each and every day and make me realize that I need to work harder to eat that bowl of ice cream.  I can’t just let it go and say oh it’ll be okay tomorrow.  I can eat it, but that pusher is going to remind me that I better work it off.  That pusher is going to keep me focused and keep my eye on the prize or remind me of the consequences (weight gain, loss of muscle, feeling fat).  The Pusher is always going to be the person to keep me on task because he is going to remind me over and over and over again that I am going to work for it.  Life isn’t a football field with a cheerleader on the side, I want that coach yelling in my face to get my butt up off of the couch and get my Turbo Fire on.

To be the Pusher is a touchy area.  If you are a fitness coach or instructor or trainer, you need to make sure that you are pushing those that WANT a pusher.  If I’m working with someone that doesn’t have their whole heart into Turbo Fire and only wants a cheerleader, I need to be aware of that, so I know how I need to coach that person.  But if they want a pusher, I’m going to make sure that every day we check in, you tell me how many calories you burned, lets push and see if we can make it to 100 more the next time and so on.

What I want to know in the comment section below – DO YOU NEED A CHEERLEADER OR A PUSHER?