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I have to admit that I’m a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to working out. I’m an introvert by nature so I gravitate towards solo physical activities such as running, yoga and putting on a fitness DVD in the basement. I enjoy the down time even though I work from home. It allows me to shut myself off from the stresses of the day and do something good for myself without having to talk to others. It’s a bit like an active meditation for me, I put in my time, work hard and when I’m done the endorphins are rushing through me and I feel much better prepared to tackle whatever I have going on during the day.

That being said, I’ve also come to really enjoy working out with others. I’ve participated in a few fitness classes, ran with good friends and it feels oddly fulfilling to practice yoga beside a buddy.

Working out with a buddy can provide several positive aspects to your healthy lifestyle. They provide:

  • Accountability – Knowing that someone else is waiting for you at 6am makes it a lot easier to roll out of bed!
  • Motivation – When you have someone else with the same goals as you have you know there’s someone there to help give you the kick-in-the-butt you need to make better decisions. Whether you’re just not in the mood to work out or you really want to eat the ENTIRE pizza, you have a friend  you can call to talk through it and pump you back up.
  • Better quality workouts – When I work out with others I find that I push myself more than I would if I were working out on my own. I’m not very competitive but I do want to keep up with those around me and I also use them as inspiration to make me go harder! I pick out the most fit and ripped person in class and do my best to either keep pace with them or close enough to stretch me out of my comfort zone.
  • Stronger relationships – It’s one thing to tell your friends that you can run 26km but when you run that with them you build a stronger foundation for which your friendships to grow. I don’t get to run with my best friend often but when we do, we always leave the run feeling better and more connected to each other. Even if there were times that we were completely silent with each other, snippy with each other, needing a pick-me-up or a quick boost of motivation, there’s something to be said about performing a difficult activity with another individual that creates a strong bond of friendship.

Now, there are some precautions about having a workout buddy. Specifically, if you get used to working out with a friend, you may find yourself giving in to excuses as to why you shouldn’t work out if they, for some reason, actually can’t join you. You do need to make sure that you are just as motivated to work out on your own as you would with a friend. It’s wonderful to have the extra accountability but to rely on them for accountability and motivation can be a serious drawback. I don’t know how many people in my life have blamed the fact that they had gotten out of their daily workout routine because their buddy suddenly became preoccupied with life issues. Think of your workout buddy just as added support and not FULL support. Put down some ground rules with your buddy that if one of you does have to cancel out on a workout (for a GOOD reason such as an emergency with the kids), that you will report to them later with how your solo workout went and encourage them, if possible, to work out later in the day.

Having a workout buddy is a great way to step up the quality of your workouts and make your healthier lifestyle more fun! If you don’t have someone who wants to work out with you, try joining a class! What’s better than working out with one friend? Working out with LOTS of friends!

Happy sweating!

Photo Credit: FitSugar

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