“What are friends for?” Sure, friends will happily house sit or bring food to your potluck, but pretty much anyone will do those things. Surely, friends are good for a lot of things, but what is the true measure of a friend? A friend is much more than someone to ask favors of or rely on to have your back. A true friend will push you when you need a “pick me up” and will be silently supportive when you need them. A true friend will sweat with you…
Buddy workouts are of tremendous benefit—obviously of the physical nature, but also for adherence purposes. Doing a workout with a friend has a profound effect on the entire exercise experience. Friends will keep you accountable—perhaps the most important aspect to exercise adherence. A buddy workout means that if either person “flakes” than it directly affects the other person. In other words, there is more pressure to show up and workout or you will definitely hear about it.
Okay, obviously friends are good for workout motivation, but what about your friend “Chatty Cathy?” Well, Cathy probably isn’t the best choice in a workout partner. It is best to be wise with your partner decision. In this case picking a best friend may not be the best choice. A good friend that is always there to have an incredible soul-defining conversation should probably be met for a cup of coffee, not a workout.
The most useful qualities to look for in a workout partner are those you might not find in a social setting. If there is a time to be slightly anti-social—workout is that time. Friends that are more introverted yet share your same fitness goals and aspirations are the ones that will be best for an optimal workout. Another consideration when picking a workout partner is conditioning level. It is good to pick a partner who can at least keep up, but at the same time doesn’t leave you in the dust. So, if you decide to workout with your friend who runs competitive marathons and subsequently will be competing in the Ironman this year—that may not be the best match. I mean, the choice is always yours, but personally I would pick someone who doesn’t put me to shame, especially, as a novice first starting out. With that said, it is always beneficial to workout with someone on the same conditioning level or a little bit above. Working out with someone on a competitive conditioning level will add instant and simple motivation.
Picking a workout partner doesn’t have to be an overly complicated decision. It’s nothing to put too much thought into, however you will likely know pretty quick whether your choice is compatible with your workout. Just remember if it’s not a match don’t be afraid to cut ties and invite them to coffee next time instead.