It’s awkward when you accept someone’s fitness challenge and lose interest halfway. You could bear through it all for the sake of your pride and friendship, but if it does become too much, there are ways to politely end the activity.
Here are several things you could say and do to stop the challenge, broken into different situations you may find yourself in. Make a note of these tips and try to adapt them to your reasons for wanting no more of your friendly fitness activity.
1. You Were Coaxed Into the Challenge, and It’s Still Not Fun: Be Honest
It’s very common for one person to sweep another into a situation, despite the latter not really being into it. It’s even worse when the unwanted activity is a fitness challenge, which needs some degree of experience and drive to do well, let alone enjoy.
If you’re well into the challenge and still hating it, it’s better to end it gently than explode. Considering it’s actually affecting you emotionally, you have every right to stop for your own well-being.
The best approach for this kind of problem is honesty. Apologize to your partner, thank them for the opportunity, and explain that you gave this activity a good try, but it’s not to your taste, and you’re just not having fun anymore.
2. You’re Embarrassed for Losing: Gracefully Accept Defeat
Feeling embarrassed because you’re losing the challenge is another good reason to want to end it. Before you walk off in a rage, however, you can take a more diplomatic approach that doesn’t insult your partner and demean you.
Some honesty is necessary once again as you bow out of the activity with a smile and a self-deprecating joke—if you feel like it. What’s most important is that you shake hands or hug it out and acknowledge your friend’s skill. You could even ask them for fitness tips.
Finding the right words for different social situations is hard, but you can practice and get better at it. Explore mobile apps that boost conversation skills or podcasts like Beth Buelow’s How Can I Say This on Spotify and apply what you learn to real-life interactions, especially unpleasant ones.
3. You’re Losing Your Challenge and Motivation: Suggest a Different Activity
Your reason for wanting to end a challenge can be less about feeling embarrassed for losing and more about your dwindling motivation to do better.
There are ways to stay fit and motivated when it’s cold or just too hard of a challenge, but when the activity no longer feels rewarding, it may be time to stop. You could always pick it up again later, so that you and your friend can both enjoy the experience.
But how do you approach this social conundrum? First, explain that you liked the original activity but lost your motivation along the way. It happens. You can then gracefully bow out, as in the previous example, or shift to a different activity that’s more fun and less strenuous.
4. You’re Losing and Hurting: Suggest a Break to Recuperate
When it comes to fitness, avoid pushing yourself beyond your pain threshold, or you’re likely to cause real damage. This applies to challenges just as much, if not more so, because of how easily friendly competition can make you ignore your well-being.
If you’ve had enough of your painful activity, it’s another situation where honesty is best. Wherever you’re hurting, tell your partner and ask for a break of a few days or weeks until—and if—you feel up to the challenge again.
In terms of actually recovering from the experience, you have several options and tools available, from going for a massage to apps with foam roller exercises for pain relief and stretching.
5. You’re Winning, and It’s Affecting Your Partner: Offer a Truce
It could be that your friend is losing and affecting the once-fun atmosphere, in which case it might be worth ending the challenge early to avoid more conflict.
A gentle way of doing it is to suggest a break or another activity, maybe one you know your partner enjoys or is good at. Letting them win the challenge is also an option, but a competitive person won’t appreciate that.
Then again, you always have fake call apps for iOS and Android that can help create an excuse for stopping your activity for the time being.
There are many different fitness challenges today. Some, like Great Run’s couch to 5k challenge, you can do in-person or virtually with a friend, but which are more or less private affairs.
Others, however—like TikTok’s fitness challenges—are there for the world to see and comment on. The downside is the trolls that can spoil the whole experience with their negativity.
If you experience too much of this, and it’s affecting you badly, you should speak to your partner. Ask if you could either disable comments on your videos or end the challenge, since it’s more hurtful than fun at this point.
7. Something Urgent Has Come Up: Apologize and Continue the Challenge Later
It could be that you genuinely can’t continue the challenge because you have a family or work emergency, for example. In this case, there’s really no other option but to explain what your situation is and politely excuse yourself.
If you’re enjoying the activity, simply suggest picking up where you left off at a later date. It’s only a temporary break from your fitness goals. If the challenge wasn’t fun to begin with, however, you could dodge it entirely.
Some Fitness Challenges Aren’t for Everyone
It’s so easy to agree to something before realizing that you’re not that into it. When you’re doing it with a partner, like a fitness challenge, getting out of the situation is especially hard.
But use the right words, and you can end the activity without hurting anyone’s feelings. Honesty is often essential within a gentle, tactful exchange. At the same time, you have access to nifty apps that can help you exercise or escape social situations.
The best solution, however, is to avoid these kinds of binds from the get-go. So, learn about fitness challenges and which ones you’re better off doing alone.