How to choose the right workout buddyLike so many others, you’ve set your health and fitness goals but now you’re lacking the motivation to see them through. You know that if you work out with a friend you’ll be much more likely to actually get to the gym, as well as notch it up a gear to move close to your goals, but who are you going to train with?
Michelle P. Maidenberg, PhD, MPH, clinical director of Westchester Group Works in N.Y. has said that finding the right workout partner – someone you care about and click with – can dramatically increase your chances of success: “A buddy can motivate you to do one more set, continue when you feel like you have just had enough and want to give up, or when you are feeling hopeless.” The exercise habits of people you know even have a positive influence on your own exercise habits. After all, training with your best friend isn’t going to work if you work days and she works nights is it?
If you’re wondering who to book your next gym date in with, then check out our top four tips for picking the right workout partner.
1. Have similar goalsIf your goal is to run a marathon and your training buddy’s goal is to tone up then it’s likely that you’ll be training at either ends of the gym when you get together – which isn’t really what you want from a workout partner!
If your training partner has the same goals as you, not only will you be exercising together, it’s likely that you’ll be motivating each other through the exercises too because you’re completing them for the same reason.
2. Have similar ability levelsSocial comparison theory predicts that we gravitate towards the behaviour of those around us and in an exercise situation this relates to the abilities of those we train with.
You don’t want to feel defeated by your exercise partner each time you train together and your partner doesn’t want to feel that way about you either – that would be a huge motivation zapper!
Finding a workout buddy of equal abilities will help you compete with each other to progress towards your goals and improve your fitness levels, strength, speed and benchmarks together.
3. Have similar commitment levelsYou and your workout partner need to be on the same page when it comes to how often and how hard you are going to train together. If you have the same expectations, you can work together to achieve them, coaxing each other along and picking each other up if needs be too.
4. Be in it for the long haulMake sure your exercise buddy is also in it for the long haul and dedicated to reaching their goals. If you have set your goals and are working towards both short term and long term targets, you need a training partner who will be there with you until the end (reaching their goals too).
Remember, training with a workout buddy can have a massive effect on your results, your motivation to train and your likelihood to continue your exercise sessions.
A recent study by the Society of Behavioural Medicine has shown that motivation to work harder is increased during partner training and individual training results reached their highest levels when training with a buddy.