Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Do you even lift, Bro?

How to introduce your gym-bro to leg day! 

The Gym-Bro:
The gym-bro is that guy who's always rocking a snapback and hilarious t-shirt stating that as the sun is out, so must be their guns. The gym-bro can often be found saying things like "bro" and "Do you even lift, bro?". The gym-bro is that guy who you never see in shorts, the gym-bro is that guy who...skips leg day. 

Using my expertly structured guide, watch how one successfully persuades a fellow bro to train legs in just 4 weeks! 

Your 4-Week Guide to Saving a Gym-Bro:

Step 1: Every Day is Arm Day
As you should be aware, the fellow bro loves arm day! This is your way in: start small, suggest training arms together and subtly drop in that you want to train calves at the end. This is very important so pay attention to the small details: by suggesting you want to train arms, the bro is intrigued, they're excited of the possibilities ahead and blissfully unaware that you mentioned anything else. Many bro's may ignore "calves" completely, assuming it's slang for biceps... However, they've naively agreed to the workout. You're in! 

Step 2: If we have time...
Last week's workout was a success; after a glorious arm-pump your bro blissfully pushed through a couple of sets of calf raises and now you're in! but don't get cocky...step 2 is the deal-breaking phase. Your bro may have been unaware of what calves were or where to find them, but their's one word that sends all gym-bro's running back to their protein shakes..."squats!". This is the most delicate stage - ease your way in! When mentioning squats their is two techniques you must implement; firstly, be clear how insignificant they will be to the workout! Start with the allure of arms and briefly mention doing just "2 or 3" sets of squats. This will help convince the bro that the squats are only a small part of the workout! Secondly, ensure to end with the phrase..."if we have time". This is vital; science has shown us that a gym-bro is 100% more likely to agree to train legs if given the incentive that the leg workout might not happen. But just between me and you, you're gonna make sure there's time! Tread carefully...

Step 3: The Unknown Element
Congratulations, you've made it to step 3 and your bro has successfully tackled the squat rack. However, there's no time for complacency as your bro is getting wiser every day; one false step and your cover is blown, losing another gym-bro is not an option! In this stage you're going to introduce the unknown element...simply follow the pattern of previous weeks, but don't forget to hint at a new exercise unknown to the gym-bro. Having been through this workout already, the gym-bro will blissfully agree. You've now successfully created an arm workout with three leg exercises...this is crunch time. 

Step 4: Every Day is Leg Day
Here you are, step 4: your gym-bro has successfully made it to the final stage and this is where the bombshell is dropped. You've made it through three workouts training legs progressively more with each week...but this is where the bro gets wise. You're about to suggest a leg day! This step must be tackled delicately. You're gonna firstly compliment your bro on their performance last week, hinting that they're gifted when it comes to leg training! Then, you're gonna suggest a leg workout that another bro has shown you - the introduction of another bro will help deflect the attention off of you and prevent the gym-bro from getting wise to your intentions! Next, you're gonna be clear on the time frame! Be very clear this is a short workout, don't scare your bro! Finally, seal the deal with the possibility of arms "if you have time", but, as you now know...this isn't a possibility!

Success! Your bro has just made it through their first ever leg day and despite what they may have previously feared, it didn't kill them. Your bro has expanded their hashtag repertoire beyond #SunsOutGunsOut and #CurlsForTheGirls and has a shopping cart full of've done us all proud, Bro.

How it works?

This guide is an example of the foot-in-the-door (FITD) technique. Using the idea of leg day as an example, the guide shows how by asking for a small commitment initially, an individual is much more likely to agree. In this case, the individual asked the "gym-bro" to commit just a small part of their time to training legs. As the 4-week period progressed, the time commitment increased periodically, resulting in the desired outcome. This is an example of how an initial, somewhat trivial, "yes", can be progressively built up to the individual agreeing to something far more significant.

Freedman and Fraser (1966) were the first to study the FITD technique, identifying that a small request first (Performance condition) helps increase the compliancy rate when asking for a larger commitment in the future. When compared to asking for a large commitment outright (One-Contact condition), the complaincy rates dropped significantly. This can be seen in the graph above. 


Freedman, J. L., & Fraser, S. C. (1966). Compliance without pressure: The foot-in-the-door technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4, 155-202.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.