Workouts are usually better with a buddy. They hold you accountable, provide some healthy competition to help push you, and force you to hit the gym when you don't necessarily want to. If you're in the market for a workout buddy, Toronto fitness trainer Gabriel Patterson shares some tips to help you find the perfect one.
1. Where to look.
You may be wondering what the best way to find a workout buddy is. If you're not especially outgoing, this is going to require you to go outside your comfort zone a bit. You'll most likely start with your circle of friends, family, and acquaintances. Maybe you can find someone you work with who wants to go to the gym, or you have a friend or family member in the area with similar fitness goals. If you can't find someone in your circle, you may want to join a local gym if you haven't already, and look there. Taking group fitness classes is a great way to meet folks with similar goals, and you might be able to meet someone there who can be a good workout buddy for you.
2. Similar schedules.
This one's a no-brainer, but a workout buddy is someone you're theoretically going to be working out with, so you want your schedules to match up as much as possible. There will likely be some compromise between you both regarding scheduling each day, but if you work the graveyard shift, you probably don't want to get a buddy who works a regular 9-5.
3. Similar goals.
A workout buddy is only as good as someone who has similar goals can be. If you are training for a long-distance run, for instance, you might not want a workout buddy who is interested in setting a new personal record in the bench press. Your goals are too different for you to be able to follow a similar workout plan. However, if you have the same general goals of losing some body fat, improving cardiovascular health, or maybe increasing your physical strength, a workout buddy can provide some valuable assistance. You can motivate each other to hit the gym, you can bounce new workout ideas off each other, and you can encourage each other to improve and step outside your comfort zones.
4. Current levels of fitness.
There are two ways to look at this tip. First, finding someone at a similar stage of their fitness journey can give you the benefits of not being discouraged by partnering with someone who's in much better shape. If you're both capable of roughly the same amount and intensity of activity, you can help each other by pushing each other to improve. You may be discouraged by working out with someone who barely breaks a sweat while you're about to die, or on the flip side, it doesn't provide you much benefit to be continually doing a light workout with someone in worse shape.
Another way to look at this is as a personal trainer relationship. Someone with more experience and a better level of fitness may be able to provide you tips on form, workout plans, and exercises that you wouldn't get from someone with less experience. Likewise, you may find yourself able to improve your knowledge by coaching or mentoring someone with less experience.
You're ideally going to be spending a lot of time with this person, so you want to pay some attention to their personality. Whether this relationship is going to stay in the gym or whether you're looking for someone you can go out for low-carb drinks with, you don't want to go with someone whose personality clashes with yours. Make sure you mesh, so you don't have to have an awkward "break-up" conversation in a couple of months.
There are many factors involved in picking a good workout buddy; these are just some of the tips to make sure it's a win-win and a productive relationship for both parties. Gabriel Patterson says that the key is to personally like the individual and to make sure you have the same goals in mind. Workout buddies can be great for motivation and accountability, and they are sure to improve your physical fitness progress.
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