Q: I struggle to train on my own, what can I do? Should I look for a workout partner or just push through alone?
A: Don’t feel bad, a lot of people prefer working in pairs.
It is beneficial for many reasons!
* It cultivates discipline and adherence to your program when you are accountable to someone else!
* It is safer! Someone to help spot you (gym bunny talk for when you increase your weights and someone stands by to help you lift them if needed.) Someone to check your technique so you don’t get injuries or If you drop a weight on your noggin, you need someone you can trust who will help you out and not first take a selfie with an unconscious you! (I may be the latter hahah)
* Workouts become more fun when you share the ‘trauma’ with someone! Watching someone else sweat along through the program with you just makes it that much more rewarding!
* You ideally push one another to do better! Motivation is doubled!
Now, the tricky part! What to look for in a workout buddy and how to pick?
There are a lot of factors that you need to consider when choosing the right person, just as positive as a good workout buddy can be, the wrong one can be disastrous!
Use this checklist when scouring your friendship circle for a new workout buddy:
* Your workout goals should be similar. A tad more challenging if one partner is trying furiously to bulk up and the other is there to become more flexible.
* Your schedules need to match up as much as possible, obviously easier if you can choose a workout time that fits in nicely with both of your schedules each day.
* Have similar motivation style. There are two types, intrinsic (internal motivation, self motivated to take on new challenges basically) or extrinsic (external motivation, needs others to see them doing it or gets motivated by rewards etc). Neither are wrong. Just pick someone who is similar to your style. I like heavy loud music while I train and I like to ‘think’ mean. Rocky Balboa style. If you are like me in that sense, it may not be best to pick someone who trains best to classic music or chitchat, nothing wrong with that at all. It will just make it tougher to get on the same level. Look for someone who gets fired up in a similar way to you!
* Are they themselves disciplined? You will have days where you are the motivator and other days when you need the motivation. Make sure that there is balance. You don’t always want to be the one begging and pleading and kicking the other in the butt.
* Are they willing to put in the work or do they prefer short cuts and quick fixes? If so, run, and not with them, run away from them! quick fixes bite you in the butt, by adding more to your butt!!!
* More talkey talkey than workey workey? Balance is good. Talkey talkey is fine but there should be equal amounts of workey workey.
* Too competitive? A nice edge to your workouts is great yes. One upping each other at every turn, not great! Boost each other and compete against yourself only! We are all similar yet so different.
* Are they generally a punctual person or will you be spending half your workout time waiting for them to arrive?
* Newby vs old hand. You have to be on similar performance levels. It really isn’t ideal to pair up with someone that is a 3x ironman/woman) competitor and you kind of did one aqua aerobics lesson last year. Find someone on par with your abilities. That way you can develop your skills together!
* What is their reason for training? Do they go to the gym/park to chat and just unwind or are they there for some serious hard work? Pick someone like minded. If you like to unwind and chat and move, that’s great! Just don’t pair up with someone who has the song ‘eye of the tiger’ on loop on iTunes!
* Needs to be someone who can get you excited about working out. You need to pick each other up when one hits a slump. Not both collapse in a pit of ice cream fueled self hatred.
* Opposite sex workout buddies can work if you are super comfortable with one another. Hubby & wife, partners, buddies, great! Just have that comfort level and similar goals obviously!
That should about cover it. Take your time. Give each other a few sessions to settle in and take it from there! Once you find the right one, you won’t be sorry! You’ll go from strength to strength, together!