Individuals that decide to team up with a workout buddy often see better results faster than those that do not have a workout buddy. Having a workout buddy is not an excuse to socialize but rather a way to stay focused and motivated. Finding a partner can be a difficult process but it can usually start with just a friend, significant other, or an acquaintance made at a gym or club.
The benefits gained from having a workout buddy are two-fold. The first aspect is mental in respect to finding motivation to exercise. The second aspect is more physical in nature, with regards to safety as well as allowing one to perform weighted exercises until failure.
Selecting a Workout Buddy
There are a number of ways to go about finding the optimal fitness partner. Here are some general guidelines that should be followed:
- Set similar goals - one person should not be trying to lose 20 lbs while the other is trying to increase their maximum leg press (Read more about establishing goals)
- Convenience - find a location that is ideal for both parties, having one person drive 45 minutes while the other drives 5 minutes is not ideal unless you meet at different locations each workout session
- Attitude - keeping things positive, especially on the hard days, is a great trait for any workout buddy to have
For some individuals, letting another person down is less acceptable than only letting themselves down. Knowing that a workout buddy will be at a specific place and time forces the individual to follow suit and complete the workout. This motivation does not end with simply arriving at the specified location/time but continues throughout the workout as the buddy can verbally motivate the individual to keep going.
Whether or not the task at hand is running, cycling, swimming or lifting weights, having a workout buddy adds a layer of protection against personal injury or accident. Any kind of outdoor activity has potential risk for injury especially if the environments these activities are performed in are cities. There have been many instances of along landmark paths like Lake Shore Drive in Chicago where cyclists have collided or crashed into joggers. Busy city intersection can also be hazardous for runners as people do not always yield to pedestrians. It is also especially good to walk/run in pairs because if the activity takes place away from home or emergency access, one could twist or sprain an ankle leading to a very painful walk back. With a workout buddy, they can come back for you or contact emergency services if needed.
From a weight lifting standpoint, any time a weight is placed over the head or body, the possibility of that weight falling and causing injury is present. With a workout buddy, that individual can act as spotter while the exercise is being performed. In addition to spotting, the workout buddy can also aid by pulling the weight up during a "lifting until failure" technique to allow for an extra one or two repetitions during the exercise.