Perks of Having a Workout Buddy & How to Choose One

Do you find exercise a chore? Or just feel lost and lonely trying to exercise? Just hang on there! A workout partner is all you need – a cure-all for all your defences for not exercising. Don’t feel flustered as you have enough company. I was not a runner. I discovered that running is fun only when I met a group of running enthusiasts who became my running buddies. Running ceased to be a chore and it was all run-cum-fun thereafter. I hated missing a single run and at times, woke up in the wee hours even before the alarm rang. My running buddies were my motivation to wake up at 4 am and run in scorching summers and chilly winters! To cut the long story short, a workout buddy can transform you from an exercise-fugitive into an exercise-addict.

So, here are a few benefits of acquiring an exercise-mate:

  • Exercise becomes a fun activity: It no longer remains a ‘boring task’ to be completed. Because you start viewing it as a stress-buster, you’re very likely to be committed to exercising long-term. For many, exercise can be a very lonely activity. So, having a friend who laughs and encourages you while working out may be all that you need to push you forward.
  • There is an increased sense of commitment: You start feeling responsible as an accountability partner, since you commit to a goal together. When you lug yourself to exercise after a hard day, you may be tempted to talk yourself out of it; but it’s much harder to do so when you know you may be messing up your partner’s workout too.
  • There is a surge in motivation levels: Working out with a friend will keep both the buddies motivated to working out. If your workout buddy is a fitness enthusiast, it can help you stimulate your latent reserves of energy that you may not have known existed. This may help you push a little extra and inch closer to your goal.
  • Consistency sets in: When you have a fitness buddy, you have to plan your workouts in advance to be able to match each other’s schedules. And when you firm up plans with your partner ahead of time, it is very likely that you’re going to follow them through and not cancel them. This will lead to regularity, making exercise a lifelong habit.
  • Healthy competition sets in: When you exercise with a friend, there is a natural tendency to compete. Healthy competition is desirable, as it makes you stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone and perform better.
  • It helps you reach your fitness goal faster: The increase in motivation and consistency of workouts will help you reach your fitness goals much faster.
  • You tend to become more enterprising: Since you start enjoying working out with your buddy, you’re more likely to explore new workouts. So, if you’ve only been strength training together, you may give group classes like Zumba, Pilates, Bodypump, a try. Variety breaks monotony and does not let your body reach a plateau.
  • Your form improves as you play auditor for each other: Fitness buddies have an unwritten responsibility of spotting flaws and correcting each other’s form while exercising. This can help avoid poor-form related injuries.
  • You get an objective view about your progress: It is not easy to judge your own progress, as you may not notice your strengths and flaws. Your workout buddy can give you an objective assessment of how your fitness is progressing. This validation can give a boost to your self-esteem and also help you to work upon your weak areas.

What to look for while choosing a workout buddy

While it’s been established that workout buddies can really help you reach your fitness goals quickly, it’s a great situation to be able to get a good match. So, these are the attributes that you should look for while you go fitness-buddy shopping:

Perks of Having a Workout Buddy & How to Choose One
  • Similar fitness goals: For your partnership to conform, you and your buddy need to share similar goals. If the goal is not the same, the combo may be a washout. For instance, you wish to run a half marathon in 6 months while your buddy wants to just maintain her body weight through yoga, you can’t be more incompatible. In such a scenario, it would be hard to push each other as your workouts would have nothing in common with each other.
  • Proximity and familiarity: Choosing a buddy from your condo, your gym, your group fitness class or your social circle can help considerably in meeting workout schedules. Converting an acquaintance/friend into your fitness mate can motivate you to train better in anticipation of all the fun associated with working out with a friend.
  • Compatible schedules: Have a buddy whose schedules are similar to yours. If you like to work out in the mornings and your fitness buddy often prevails upon you to exercise in the evenings as it suits her that way, then it’s not going to work for both of you.
  • Similar abilities: Finding an exercise partner with the same fitness levels as yours will make it easier for both to stay on track as both can enjoy the same levels of workouts, with may be even the same number of reps.
  • Communicative and positive: You should choose a fitness buddy who is conversable and has a positive approach towards exercising. Positive words and a pat on each other’s back whenever you push hard to complete a tough exercise, can egg you on to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone.
  • Committed, determined and reliable: Your exercise mate should respect your time just the way you should respect hers. She should have the willingness and discipline to follow the schedules that you deliberated and fixed with her. Nothing can irritate you more when you’re ready to leave for the gym as per plan, and your fitness buddy texts you just then that she is running 30 minutes late as usual.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your phone-list out, profile your friends as per the attributes listed above and pick the one who fits the bill perfectly! And yes, you do need to get her nod to be able to declare her as your buddy. Plead, cajole or coerce her if she sounds iffy. After all, it’s a win-win for both the buddies!