You know that quote: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” It’s been applied to business partnerships, romantic relationships, Uber rides, you name it. But its best application might be to the gym. If you want to breeze through a mildly-effective workout, hit the gym alone. But if you want to get more out of your workout routine, make more progress, stay safe and maybe even laugh a little, you need to find a workout buddy.
Finding the right workout buddy is no simple task, though. You’ve got to find the right kind of person with the right attitude and the right goals to make your workouts even better. Here’s why you need a workout partner, what to look for when you’re on the hunt and how to be a good gym buddy yourself.
Why You Need A Workout Partner
Having a workout partner is going to motivate you, keep you accountable and keep you safe. Here’s a few reasons you need to find one to meet you at the gym.
You’ll Be Held Accountable
Having a workout buddy is going to make you more accountable. For one, having someone to meet at the gym at a specific, predetermined time is going to make you less likely to flake. “If you know a friend is waiting for you at the gym or won’t pound the pavement without you,” says Thomas Plante, PhD, professor of psychology at Santa Clara University in Fitness Magazine, “it’s tough to bail.” Even if you’re not feeling it, having someone waiting on you to work out is going to make it more likely that you get up and get moving.
You’ll Be More Motivated
Having a super fit workout partner is going to make you more motivated to meet your goals, too. According to a study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine cited by Soul Cycle, having a workout partner who’s about 40 percent fitter than you can amp up your urge to compete and actually make you work harder and longer than you might have by yourself. A workout buddy who’s positive and encouraging can be a huge motivator as well. Having your own personal hype man while you’re grinding out that last set can make a world of difference.
You’ll Have More Fun
Working out by yourself is great if you need to catch up on podcasts or want to really get into the new Kendrick Lamar album, but having someone to talk to and joke around with while you’re sweating is a lot more fun. Your options for changing up your workout expand with a partner as well. “With a partner,” says Men’s Fitness, “you can get your heart racing with some one-on-one basketball, racquetball or even just a partner workout.” Get off the sad, solo treadmill, call a friend and try something new.
You’ll Be Safer
Once you’ve locked down a solid workout buddy, you’ll never be without a spotter again. You’ll be less likely to injure yourself with someone spotting you and your workout buddy can help you perfect your form to avoid injuries from poor exercise execution as well. “When you have a friend with you,” according to Shape, “she’ll be able to give you quick form checks and tell you when your back is sagging during your plank or if you’re leaning forward too much while squatting. And that can save you lots of pain later on.”
You Might Learn A Little Something
While your workout buddy is checking your form, they might be able to teach you a thing or two. Your experience working out plus their experience working out can equal all sorts of opportunities to learn from one another and get even smarter about your fitness. Plus, as Men’s Fitness points out, two wallets are better than one when it comes to affording a personal trainer. Look for a gym that offers partner training sessions and you might not have to pony up as much to get the benefits of personalized workouts.
How To Choose A Good Workout Partner
When you’re trying to find a good workout partner, you don’t want to grab just anyone off the streets. Sure your frat brother might be a cool guy to drink beer with or your work wife might be a lot of fun gossiping at the water cooler, but those aren’t the people you want to take to the gym with you. You need someone who’s going to motivate you to do better, meet your goals and try new things.
According to BodyBuilding.com, you want to look for a workout partner whose goals mesh with yours. Find a friend who likes doing the same kinds of workout as you, for starters. If you hate running, don’t buddy up to a marathon runner. When you’re looking for a workout partner, try to match interests, skill sets, goals and schedules as much as you can. If you’re lifting heavy, find someone who can handle spotting you. If you’re planning to cycle across the country, make sure your buddy has available time to dedicate to 80 miles on Saturday. Once you find the right friend, you’ll start seeing all the benefits.
How To Be A Good Workout Partner
If you want to have a good workout buddy, you need to be a good workout buddy. Muscle & Fitness says in order to be a good workout partner, you need to know how to spot. “Nothing is more frustrating than having someone rip the bar out of your hand before you feel like you are done driving a rep home.” Keep your hands off until you’re sure they’ve finished.
Show some respect for your partner, too. Be on time. Be attentive. Pay attention to when they need you to push them for one more rep and when you need to back off and let them rest. Coach them as best you can, but be careful not to go too far. This isn’t college basketball. You don’t need to be in their face. When you’re working out with someone, you’re a team. The better they do, the better you’ll do. Keep that in mind and you’ll be someone’s favorite person to workout with.
So go out and find yourself a workout buddy – the right workout buddy. Be the right workout buddy yourself. You’re going to meet your goals faster, stay safer and have more fun along the way.
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