That goes for me too, and I’m supposed to be ultimate fitness fanatic. I have “those kind of days” too – the ones where I just want to stay in bed, make some excuse to skip out altogether or do a half-ass workout. Having someone who is expecting me to show up, counting on me to be ready, and needing me for encouragement and motivation, makes me be more consistent and just plain better at my workouts.
Without a workout buddy, you may skip a day here and there for really lame reasons, you may cut your workout short, do fewer repetitions, or just not push as hard.
When you’ve got yourself a partner-in-pain you will be more consistent in showing up. No one wants to stand someone else up. You’ll have someone holding you accountable. They know if you’re there, they know when you are working hard or hardly working. You’ll be a part of helping someone else on their journey and that feels just plain good. You’ll push yourself a bit harder, especially if you have any bit of a competitive nature about you. You’ll enjoy yourself more – especially if you do some good-hearted teasing, challenging, or joking around.
These are just a few of the reasons why I really believe in working out with friends. Lots of people tell me that finding a workout buddy is a challenge in itself. I have some ideas that might help you find one.
- Look first to your family and friends. Who has a similar desire to get fit and be consistent at it? Who will push you and hold you accountable? Is there someone who mentions losing weight, being healthy, or wanting to get more active in casual conversation? That’s your moment to snag them as a workout buddy. Call them on what they just said. Invite them to join you.
- Put the word out to your friends. Do this in conversation or use your Facebook page to let your friends know you are looking for a workout buddy. Maybe there’s a friend of a friend who would make the ideal workout buddy for you.
- You could go to CraigsList and post an ad. Take time to browse through the existing ads and maybe you’ll find someone out there is looking for a workout buddy like you. This is a great way to meet new people, find partners for running, walking, hiking, cycling and working out. Just use your good common sense about meeting strangers.
- Join an existing exercise group. This will most likely cost you some money at a gym or with some sort of boot camp. Personally, seems like a crummy option, since I hate gyms. It’s better and cheaper to create your own group and use my workouts as a guide.
- When choosing a workout buddy or a group, if you go down that road, make sure to get with people who fit your style. People with similar interests, goals, and approaches to fitness compliment each other and bring out the best in others. For example, I like to push hard, be challenged, be outside, and get dirty. So I wouldn’t workout with someone who loves bellydancing class in the gym, or someone who whines or gives up when things get tough or dirty. Find someone compatible.
- There’s always the really expensive option: hire a personal trainer. Then you’ve got a workout leader, but not much of a partner. Trainer’s don’t usually workout with their clients. You will have someone to push you and someone to be accountable to though.
- E-workout buddies are another possibility. You can arrange this with a like-minded friend, wherever they might live. Or you could join an online group. You keep each other honest and accountable by checking in with each other regularly. You can keep in touch daily, but at least weekly. Share your workout plan for the week , then communicate via email, chat, texting, or phone to see how each other did. I’ve done this, and it actually does work, as long everyone is pretty honest – and a good chunk of pride or competitiveness isn’t bad either.
- Your workout buddy doesn’t have to be someone at the exact same fitness level as you, though sometimes that helps. The main thing about a workout buddy is that it’s someone who is there for you (and vice versa) in all things health and fitness. I’ve had a workout buddy who was injured and couldn’t do the same workout I was doing. We still met, we still worked out (each at our own level), and we still pushed and encouraged each other.
One thing is for sure, I have always done better with a workout buddy. I love having someone there sweating it out with me, making me laugh, and bringing out my best. It makes every workout even better, more fun, and more enjoyable. There’s strength in numbers, folks. Sure I still workout alone . . . plenty. Even then, knowing I have someone to report to or brag to (my workout buddy) when I’m done makes it even better.