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Posted by Barry on Mar 15, 2011

Get A Workout Buddy!

If you have a hard time getting motivated to exercise, enlisting a workout buddy may help. A workout buddy can encourage, challenge, pace you, and can make working out more fun. I know that a big part of my success has to go to my family who not only supported me, but would also do the workouts with me.  My son, Cody, especially has been a source of great motivation and support

When you are trying to find the right person, there are some things that you should look for. Moreover, there are some fun ways you and your workout buddy can get some exercise.

The Benefits of a Workout Buddy

A recent study found that new mothers who had workout buddies got more exercise than mothers with no partner support. Another study suggested that college students were significantly more likely to be active if they had the social support of their friends and/or family.

A third study found that just a phone call might help motivate someone to exercise more. People who received motivating phone calls were more likely to increase their level of physical activity after three months than people who didn’t receive the calls.

Why are people more likely to exercise if they have a supporter?

Having a workout buddy can motivate you to workout even when you don’t want to simply because you know someone is counting on you. Exercising with a workout buddy is also a great way to socialize. Instead of dreading your daily workout, you’ll find yourself looking forward to catching up with your friend.

Another benefit is that a workout buddy makes it less intimidating to join a gym, try a new class, or learn a new sport. Your friend can give you the courage to take that kickboxing class you’ve had your eye on or head to that hiking trail you’ve always wanted to try.

Finally, it’s safer to workout with someone. If you injure yourself on a run, for instance, your partner can find you the help you need.

Choosing a Workout Buddy

While the right workout buddy can motivate you to accomplish your fitness goals, the wrong partner could squelch your efforts. When deciding which one of your friends or family members to recruit as your workout buddy, keep these things in mind:

  • Choose a partner with a fitness level similar to yours. If you haven’t exercised for years, don’t choose a workout buddy who runs four miles a day. If you and your partner have similar fitness levels, you can progress at a similar pace and encourage each other as you become more fit.
  • Find someone who shares your fitness goals. By finding someone with similar fitness goals, you can help motivate each other and share your triumphs. If, on the other hand, you are looking to gain muscle and your partner is looking to slim down, or if you want to lose 30 pounds and your partner only needs to lose five, you and your partner may become frustrated and be more likely to give up.
  • Make sure you have things in common with your partner—even outside of the gym. If all you have in common with your workout buddy is working out, you may not find yourself looking forward to your next workout. Choose someone who’s company you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find that workouts can be as socially fulfilling as they are physically challenging.

Working Out With a Workout Buddy

Once you’ve found the right workout buddy, it’s time to get moving. Get together with your partner—calendars in hand—and schedule when and where you’ll meet to regularly exercise. Then, set some ground rules and stick to them.

Agree upon a cancellation policy, just as you would for a doctor’s appointment or hotel reservation. If one of you can’t make it for a scheduled workout, select a time limit (24 hours ahead, for example) that you will have to cancel in advance. Also, figure out how you will decide what activities to do. For example, you could design this week’s exercise schedule, and your partner could design next week’s, and so on.

Now it’s time to enjoy the benefits of a workout buddy. Besides having someone to chat with on your walking path, a workout buddy can encourage you to participate in workouts that you wouldn’t do otherwise. You can mix up your workout schedule by adding partner-focused activities such as tennis (it’s not as much fun playing against a backboard), rock climbing (you’ll need someone on the ground for safety), or basketball (what’s more fun than a game of one-on-one?).

Ask your partner to teach you some activities he or she has mastered and share your skills as well. With a workout buddy, you can quickly add variety to your fitness routine, which will go a long way to keeping you motivated to become fit and stay that way.

I know that as I have started to teach P90X I find myself enjoying the classes even more (I am on my fourth round of P90X) and it helps keep it interesting as you see people react differently and make their own progress.  So find someone to work out with and you are a lot more likely to achieve your goals not to mention have a lot more fun.

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