December 29, 2014 Healthy Living

Buddy Benefits: How a Workout Partner Can Help You Stay Motivated

Are you having trouble finding motivation to exercise on a regular basis? Sometimes, the answer is to make it more fun and social by working out with a friend.


Have you ever started the day promising yourself that you’d get in a great workout – but life got in the way instead? If the answer is yes, you’re in good company. It happens to even the most well-intentioned of us. If you have a friend to exercise with, though, you might be less likely to cancel than if it’s just you, especially if you know that your workout buddy is counting on you.

Moreover, when you have to coordinate your schedule with a friend’s, you’re ensuring that exercise time is worked into your calendar. Conversely, if you plan to work out on your own, you might not have a definite time frame in mind – maybe you’ll squeeze it in between other obligations or when it’s convenient. Either way, when it’s not a scheduled part of your day or if no one’s counting on you to show up, exercise can be all too easy to forgo in favor of other things.

Pushing past your comfort zone

Some friends are competitive with one another while others aren’t. Regardless, you might find that if your friend can do 30 minutes on the treadmill, then you can do 30 rather than 20, too. Or, if you’re out walking or running, you don’t want to be the slowpoke holding your friend back from his or her desired pace! Men’s Fitness offers this tip: When choosing a workout buddy, your stamina and athletic abilities should be in the same ballpark. If you both start out at around the same level, you’ll push each other to go farther and faster.

Choosing a workout buddy

You want to be sure that your workout buddy is the right fit for your exercise style and commitment. Even if someone is your best friend, he or she may not be the ideal person for motivating you to exercise. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Skill level: Your partner in fitness might not be perfectly matched to your capabilities, and that’s fine. But, ensuring that your buddy is approximately at your skill level and stamina will help make certain that the workouts are beneficial for both of you.
  1. Goals: If your aim is to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, or simply to establish a regular exercise routine, it helps if your workout buddy has similar objectives. If you can motivate each other through friendly competition or incentives, either can go a long way toward achieving your goals.
  1. Scheduling: Your friend’s schedule should be similar enough to yours that working out at a set time will be convenient for you both. If one of you is an early morning person and the other prefers to work out at night, it might not be an optimal match. Try to pick a routine and stick to it – after you’ve been working out on the same days and times for a few weeks, it will hopefully become a habit that you’re much less likely to break.

Have fun!

One of the best parts about exercising with someone you enjoy spending time with is exactly that – spending time together! We all have busy lives, and it can be hard to set aside even an hour or two to spend with a friend. But, if your workout time doubles as social time, it’s a guilt-free way to play catch-up. Enjoy each other and get the benefit of not only friendship, but also a healthy body!


Photo by Paul J. Everett / CC BY

Suzanne Huwe
About the Author

Suzanne is senior editor for the corporate communications department at CDPHP. Prior, she worked as a national campaign coordinator at the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, DC, and as a copy editor and special sections editor at The Tampa Tribune. Suzanne earned a bachelor’s in economics from SUNY Fredonia and a master’s in multimedia journalism from American University. When she’s not fine-tuning others’ writing and her own, Suzanne enjoys running, traveling, scuba diving, and hanging out with her dogs and husband.

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