Reach Your Fitness Goals with a Workout Buddy
I love the team aspect of exercise and fitness. I have made such wonderful friends at the facilities where I teach and I’ve discovered many benefits to working out alongside someone.
Part of my job is to advise students on their career and academic goals, as well as how to be successful students. One of the things I suggest is to make a plan to meet with someone to study. They are more likely to find study time when they know someone is waiting for them in the library. The same applies to working out. For example, if you tell someone you’re going to be at the gym to lift with them, you’re not going to leave them without a spotter, so you make the effort no matter what to get there, right?
Benefits of Working out With a Buddy
Working out with a buddy helps you stay committed to engaging in your own fitness goals. Setting a time to meet with someone can help get you to the gym regularly and on those days when you just do not feel like going to the gym, knowing someone is there waiting for you can make a difference. Working out with a buddy gives you extra motivation. They can encourage you, they can push you, and they can inspire you. Imagine a workout buddy who is aspiring to be in the military (this was a former workout buddy of mine). Their intensity level can challenge you to push your own limits, and watching their fitness levels change can motivate you to think, “Wow, look at what they have done, I can do that too!” Think about our great athletes: Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Phelps. Merely watching them perform has motivated and inspired younger athletes to great achievements. A workout buddy—regardless of their fame—can easily do that for each of us. Having someone next to you saying, “You can do it!” can make the difference in the number of reps you do, whether or not you work to actual fatigue, or if you only reach that halfway point because no one was there to tell you that you had the ability and capacity to just go a little bit harder.
Working out with a buddy is fun. You can develop lasting relationships that go beyond the gym and you can find new friends who have a similar interest: fitness. Some people enjoy running on a treadmill with an iPod on, lost in their own pace and quiet time. But, others enjoy the camaraderie of a shared experience, like being able to laugh together when they are off beat during the Spinning class jumps, or sing along to a great song on a Spinning instructor’s playlist. Having fun when working out can make that time more enjoyable and make the time pass faster. Pass on the drinks and burn some calories together instead!
Working out with a buddy can keep you safe. If you are unfamiliar or inexperienced with a certain type of workout, a workout buddy that has fitness experience and/or education will be able to guide you and help with proper form and technique to avoid injuries. If you want to lift more weight than you are used to, a workout buddy is essential to spot you and to help you if you falter. You will be able work to fatigue because a friend is there to assist you on that final repetition when all you need is the tiniest bit of “oomph.”
Working out with a buddy can help you find variety. A workout buddy might discover a new workout trend or read about a new exercise to try and they will encourage you to try something different and change up your routine. For those of us who are not the dancing type, we may not be inclined to go try a hip-hop class on our own. But with a workout buddy to laugh with and to encourage us to try it alongside them, we are more likely to give it a try and maybe even find we enjoy it!
Perhaps that is really what it is all about when it comes to working out with a buddy—not just commitment to the regimen, but feeding off of each other’s energy in a great partnership. Psychological research has shown we work harder when we are beside someone. A workout buddy can provide camaraderie, friendship, motivation, inspiration and mutual support in achieving your fitness goals.