You have probably heard several times that one of the best ways to motivate yourself to workout and to reach success at the gym and in losing weight is to find a workout partner. Somebody who can hold you accountable to getting your butt out of bed and out the door every day, somebody who won’t let you bail on after work gym sessions because you had a hard day, and somebody who will push you harder than you would push yourself.
But you’re asking a lot, and it’s important to have the right person for the job or else you’ll both get discouraged and walk away from your gym buddy relationship.
Here’s what you need to consider when it comes to picking a partner:
- What time do you like to workout? Timing your workout is huge! If one of you is a morning workout person, and the other prefers the evening, being partners may not work out that well. Whether you alternate day-to-day, one of you agrees to switch, or you meet somewhere in between, time of day is a huge factor in your success. For many people it’s not so much that they aren’t available to work out in the evening or morning, as much as it is just that their performance, state of mind and attitude is better at one time or the other. Figure out when your best time is, and try to find someone who is the same!
- How long are you going to workout? There’s nothing worse than showing up at the gym with plans for a quick, high intensity 30 minute treadmill session, only to find out your partner is doing a casual 2 hour gym session involving strength training, a cardio session and then finishing with a group yoga class. While working out for different amounts of time is totally acceptable, be comfortable with the amount of time you are committing and don’t let your partner’s gym schedule get in the way of your success.
- What hours do you work? Having different jobs and working different hours can be a very difficult act to balance when it comes to finding a workout partner. It’s great if you both work 9-5 and can go before or after work, but if one of you has a schedule that changes, finishes late or starts early, it can be much more difficult and you’ll waste a lot of time trying to coordinate schedules. Do your best to come up with a time that works for both of you, even if it can only happen a few days a week.
- What are your individual goals? You will each likely have the same overall goal – get healthier, lose weight, get fit etc. – but if one of you has a goal to lose 10 pounds in 2 months, and the other over the next 6 months, obviously you may be having to change your gym routine to reflect this. It is important for you both to have your own goals that you are working towards, but also important to find out where they meet so that you can be a motivator for the other one, not just a competitor or someone who ends up discouraging the other.
- How often do you want to workout? It sucks to have a partner that only wants to go to the gym twice per week when you want to go every day. It defeats the point of having someone to motivate you, because most of the days you are going, your partner isn’t and it seems like a good excuse for you to not go as well. While it’s okay to have a bit of difference in the number of workout days, try to keep it within one or two days difference so that you can both motivate each other to go and not be inclined to skip days!
- What’s your attitude towards the relationship? In other words, is this a long-term thing, or just a fling? If one of you sees this as a short term relationship, where you want to reach quick results, drop the pounds and then stop hitting the gym, it can be a hard hit when the other one expects this to be a lifestyle change and sees you both as “gym for life” friends. Discuss these factors and perspectives before starting to work together, so that you can at least both be on the same page, even if it means one of you knows you will end up eventually having to find a new gym buddy!