There are many advantages to working out with someone else – be that a friend, partner or family member – including accountability and boosting the fun factor. But if you’ve tried this before, you may have already discovered that sometimes it can be tricky if your thoughts on fitness don’t quite align or you get a tad too competitive. Here, a fitness expert and three sets of workout buddies share their advice for finding the ultimate ‘sweat soulmate’.
National Fitness Manager Sam Merza from Genesis Health + Fitness says the key to a successful match is making the right choices at the outset.
“A best friend may not necessarily be your best workout buddy. There may be certain people you resonate with for exercise, others for socialising, sports or work life. They do not always cross over so create your own Health and Fitness family.
“If you put some thought into it, you’ll already have a good idea of who in your circles you are likely to partner well with when it comes to fitness. You want to partner with someone who has a similar energy and enthusiasm level as you – as you don’t want to be stuck being the other person’s cheerleader all of the time – that needs to be a role that’s shared,” said Sam.
“A bit of competition is great, but if you have a friend that’s super competitive with you in other areas of life then you need to ask yourself if this level of competition will be something positive or negative for your workouts, depending on your personality and what motivates you.
“Consistency in exercise is key, so do have that friend that always cancels and is late? – probably best to avoid them as a workout match as well.
“Your best bet is to not get too excited initially and overcommit to a year’s worth of training with a potential workout partner. Do a bit of a trial run first and make sure it’s working for both of you. You may also benefit from having more than one fitness friend – your pilates pal, your cycle session companion etc.”
Here are Sam’s top 5 tips for finding the ultimate workout buddy:
Schedules need to align. If you work weekdays and your friend works nights and weekends, it will make finding a mutually convenient time almost impossible – and when things are hard, you’re less likely to continue. It’s best to align with someone who has similar work/life commitments to you and prioritises their health to the same degree as you
Similar fitness levels. It can be challenging to train in a pair if there is a big discrepancy in fitness levels, so ideally, choose someone who is at a similar stage to you (or a little ahead) on their fitness journey. If you do need to work around differences in fitness, it is possible – you just need to choose options where each person can work at their own pace without it impacting the other person, like a small group training session.
Similar preferences. A workout duo won’t last long if one person is addicted to adrenalin sports and the other prefers quiet indoor activities like yoga. If you have a friend with different exercise tastes, they can be great to occasionally help get you out of your comfort zone to try something new, but for regular ongoing exercise, they’re probably not the best fit.
Energy feeders. In life, there are those people who feed your energy and lift you up, while others tend to take away your energy and drag you down. Align with someone who fills your energy cup and motivates you at 5am on a chilly Monday morning.
Smile factor. Having a laugh and ensuring workouts are fun will keep you both coming back for more. A sense of humour should be high on your criteria list when choosing a workout mate.