Is Your Workout Partner the Ying to Your Yang?

omar.jpg

“Health is wealth”.

Many people who have adopted a healthy lifestyle have experienced challenges at some points throughout their journey.

Those hurdles can present themselves in various forms such as injuries, lack of motivation, sickness, and so on… Haven’t we all been there?

Truth be told, there are days were we lack the proper motivation to exercise. At those moments in time, an alternative to ensure success in this journey of health is to have a great workout partner. In fact, a workout buddy can be a key factor of success in helping you achieve your fitness goals.

Now with the alarming rates of diseases that are directly linked to poor diet and lack of exercise, there is no question that a workout partner presents so many advantages toward achieving success.

Social Time

Exercise should never be a chore; instead it should be a fun and enjoyable moment. Working out with a friend can be that time to catch up, share laughs, encourage and motivate each other. It is possible to have a serious workout without being serious. In fact, the more fun your workouts are, the more you’re going to look forward to and be committed to them over the long-term. In addition, research has shown that when you maintain rich, meaningful relationships you can actually improve cognition and overall mental health. Thus, although the emphasis should be put on fitness, the laughter can greatly help decrease stress and boost immunity.

 

Motivation

It is easier to fall out of your exercise routine when you are solely in charge of your workout. For example, it can quickly become a snowball effect where you might decide to skip one day, then two days and before you know it, you are no longer exercising on a regular basis. For most people, having someone to hold them accountable can make a huge difference. With a workout buddy, you will keep each other accountable which in return will boost your commitment to your fitness goals and your confidence in order to achieve them.

 

Safety

A buddy system can come in handy when lifting weights as he/she can spot you to ensure safety. For example, when bench pressing or performing some squats with heavy weights, it is always a good idea to have a spotter that has your back. Plus, for those who like the outdoors, having a partner can only be beneficial in terms of safety. It’s a good idea to have a buddy when running alone at night, hiking in the woods, or participating in any other outdoor activity.

 

Friendly Competition

According to a study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, when individuals exercised with a partner, they exercised significantly longer. As a result, their performance on aerobic activities across multiple sessions has greatly improved.

Most of us have some kind of competitive edge that will motivate us to dig a little deeper. For example, when paired with someone while exercising, if they perform 15 reps, we will naturally want to follow in their footsteps by also doing 15 reps even if we do 10 reps usually.

Another study I’ve read had some remarkable findings on this: individuals perform better when they are matched up with a workout buddy who is fitter than they are. The study suggested that to maximize motivation, your workout buddy should be about 40% better than you are – a challenging, yet achievable goal for you to meet. When you pair up with a partner who is fitter than you it produces an effect known as the Köhler Effect, or in other words: not wanting to be the weakest link.

The take away of this is that just as a workout partner motivates you; they can also push you in achieving much more.

 

Variety

When it comes to exercising, your workout partner and you should have different skill sets and knowledge. Both parties will benefits from each other in terms of new workouts and various ways of being physically active. In fact, bringing variety to the mix will help you avoid routine and confuse the muscles (in a good way).

You should encourage each other to try new things as it can only contribute to your fitness success.

 

 Ego Check 

As you start to get results and start to reach your goals, at times, the ego will tend to inflate. It is important to have a workout partner that will recognize your progress and celebrate with you but also keep you grounded in wanting to achieve more.

 

Healthy Eating Habits

Having a great workout partner means that you both share common fitness goals. Since being healthy is a priority for both of you, it goes without saying that you will support each other in making healthier food choices. This is a great opportunity to, for example, share healthy recipes or share some knowledge about nutrition.

A study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, researchers found that hanging out with healthy friends may be the best way to remain healthy. Based on the 3,610 Australian women studied, researchers found that healthy eating and exercise were strongly influenced by social norm.

 

To conclude, the above are just simple advantages of having a great workout partner. A partner will then propel you faster in achieving your fitness goals. For instance, a workout partner will push you to take that additional step and to run that extra mile based on their encouragement and persistence. Just for those reasons alone, you need to hang out with individuals who are serious about improving their health, ensuring those milestones are reached.

It is important to make sure that your prospective partner is as compatible to you as possible. Potential things to consider are; likability, good attitude, compatible schedule, shared goals, fitness role model, etc.

- O. Adam

@binadams