Starting and sticking with a workout plan can be challenging at times – especially when we’re used to taking it a little easier on ourselves. Sometimes the commitment we won’t quite make for ourselves and our own health is easier when we realize we don’t want to let someone else down. That’s just one way that an exercise buddy can help us stick to our plans.
No matter how you connect with your exercise buddy – in person or electronically – you can use the motivation provided by a partner to help you stay on track and push to higher achievements.
A partner may be just what you need to stay motivated, have fun, and reach your fitness goals. Below are some points to consider for selecting the right exercise buddy so you can work together effectively.
Selecting Your Exercise Buddy:
- Find a partner among your family and friends. You may need to look no further than your own family and friends to find a partner. The advantages are that you’re already familiar with each other and enjoy each other’s company.
- Search for a partner with compatible goals. You may prefer to look for a partner with similar goals. If you want to lose a significant amount of weight, you might like sharing the challenge with someone in a similar position. If you’re very competitive, you may feel more compatible with someone who shares your intensity.
- Stay safe when searching for a partner online. There’s nothing wrong with finding your ideal partner online, just protect your own safety. If you decide to meet in real life, always meet strangers in a public place and safeguard any confidential information. Many people have found success in using Facebook groups to find exercise buddies and use the social networking site for check ins and progress reports.
- Choose a partner who lives close by, or who is on the same schedule. It’s easier to stick to a regular routine if you don’t have far to travel. Be realistic about how much time and expense you’re willing to devote to commuting and pick a buddy within that range. Choosing someone who also works out in the morning makes them a more effective buddy than someone who doesn’t keep your same schedule. Even if you’re not physically in the same location, knowing that your exercise buddy is also walking the track or working out in a class at the same time can be enough inspiration and motivation to keep you going.
Working Out With Your Exercise Buddy:
- Agree to a regular schedule. Sit down with your exercise buddy to arrange a schedule that you both can live with. It’s more effective to start out gradually and add on more sessions together if you feel up to it.
- Take turns coordinating your activities. One nice thing about working out with another person is that you can share the responsibility for planning your exercise sessions. Host each other in your own homes or visit different parks and yoga studios in your neighborhood. Maybe you can trade back and forth in finding new challenges to adhere to or creating new routines to try out.
- Encourage and reward each other. The two of you can support each other to stay on track. Make sure you praise each other for your efforts! You could even surprise your friend with small treats like going out for low-fat frozen yogurt smoothies if you meet in person, or by sending encouraging messages or images to each other if you are electronic buddies.
- Monitor your progress. It’s easier get into a rut if no one else knows about it. Keep your goals in mind and track your progress according to your own targets. You might want to weigh yourselves periodically to see how many pounds you’ve lost or keep journals showing how quickly your running speed and distances improve.
- Keep alert when exercising outdoors after dark. Many women may feel safer having someone along when they run outside after dark. It’s a good measure of extra protection but avoid becoming complacent. Stay vigilant about your surroundings at all times so you can watch out for each other.
- Engage in other activities together. You might want to get together with your exercise buddy for other activities. It can help you understand each other better, that way you’ll know how to support each other anytime your energy levels start to wane. It can also help protect you from getting bored with the same old routines.
- Make backup plans for when your buddy is unavailable. No matter how committed you are, family obligations and injuries will sometimes intervene. You can stick to your program if you have a contingency plan for those times when you’re on your own. Try out an exercise video by yourself and you can share it the next time you get together.
An exercise buddy is a powerful strategy for making your workouts fun and productive. Keep each other motivated and you’ll both get to enjoy some awesome results.