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Whose Influencing Young Athlete's Training?

"Who the heck are the Tren Twins?"

I wanted to share something I realized a few weeks ago which has really helped learn how to talk to the teens in our Strong Future Performance group about their health, fitness, and performance.

This spring I served as an advisor to a local high school student on his senior thesis, which discussed the impacts of social media on his generation’s views of themselves and what they perceive of their own fitness. I was shocked at some of the stats this student presented on the current generation’s struggles with different fitness related issues such as body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and fitness supplement (and even steroid use). It’s a much bigger thing than even I realized!

When working with this student, we did a deep dive on the influences his age group has when it comes to their health and fitness, and I realized there are three main influences, or what I call the “3 P’s”:

  1. Personalities

  2. Peers

  3. Parents

There’s a lot of personalities, or celebrity like figures who are constantly influencing kids and how they view their own health and fitness. Especially if they have access to social media, they may have a number of individuals who are providing information on fitness which may or may not be harmful to their development. And even if they don’t have access to social media outlets, they may get secondhand information from the second “P”…

Kids also get a lot of information from their peers. Think back to when you were their age. What caused you to get involved into the different activities you did? Most often, the answer is friends! Kids tend to engage in the same healthy or unhealthy behaviors their peers do. It’s pretty common for teens to try sports, get into the gym, or inquire about things such as supplements based on what their friends are doing.

And then are their Parents! If you're a parent, your influence is pivotal. Your child values your opinion, and your lifestyle choices, conversations, and parental investment directly impact their health. Regular discussions about their peer influence and behaviors can guide them towards a healthier and successful future.

If you struggle with having a conversation about these topics with your kids or athletes, or you’ve never thought about the other influences as much, it’s never too late to start! It can start with as simple a question as, “Whose your favorite fitness motivation right now?” or “What’s the favorite thing you’ve done at practice/in PE/in a workout this month?” You’d be surprised the doors these questions open!

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