For many of my clients, one of the biggest challenges of staying fit is finding the time. Between work, kids, family and responsibilities fitness can often take a back seat. The reason isn’t necessarily that we don’t want to exercise or that we don’t feel that fitness is important, it’s more because other aspects of our lives are more pressing – or at least they may seem like they are because they’re considered “active” or “pressing”.
Work, laundry, dinners and other day-to-day requirements are foremost. Kids are always vying for attention and our daily lives tend to be an adventure in prioritizing. But when it comes to fitness the problem is a lack of urgency.
One of the best ways to address this is through a workout partner – someone who will not only make exercise a social event and perhaps pull you away from the ordinary, but more importantly it will boost fitness on your daily priority list.
Why does this work? There are several reasons:
Note that last point! Underline it. Motivation is huge when it comes to exercise. Just like those other daily responsibilities, having someone else involved in your exercise routines subconsciously boosts fitness on your priority list. You don’t want to let the other person down and when you do entertain the thought of skipping a workout you suddenly have someone who will text you and tell you to get moving.
What to Look for in a Workout Partner
When picking a workout partner, try to pick someone who’s motivated and wants this as much as you do. Don’t pick someone who you need to drag with you every time or someone who will just as likely go out for drinks and skip a fitness session.
Fitness goals are important. Your workout partner needs to want to do the same things or you’ll be setting yourself up for failure from the start. Pick between cardio, weights, walking or running. Make sure your partner is on par with your existing fitness level too. If you’re looking to run 5 K but your workout partner gets winded after a brisk walk, then chances are your goals won’t align.
Make sure you both have similar lifestyles. It mas seem like a good idea to pick the single friend with a part-time job who’s extremely motivated. But if your lifestyles don’t align then the good-hearted motivations will quickly become annoying. The best workout partners are ones where sacrifices are made from both ends. That way you not only work well together but develop a respect for each other’s level of commitment.
Finally, ensure that your schedules are in-sync. This one’s fairly obvious because if you can’t find the time to go out together then the workout idea will quickly dwindle and that’s the last thing you want to happen.
How to Find a Fitness Partner
Friends or Family
Start with a friend, family or spouse. Keep in mind the points we discussed and do a mental inventory of the people you know.
Coworkers make great fitness partners. You typically finish your day at the same time and if your schedules permit then an after-work session a few times a week could be wonderful. If you have a large pool of people to choose from you can use this as a way of building a larger social circle or hanging with someone you don’t typically have time to talk to. Work friends also carry an emotional benefit where you can vent or debrief about daily work issues.
Boot camps are an idea way of finding a workout partner when you don’t have a wide social circle or have limited choices. Boot camps are small fitness classes of around 6 people and a personal trainer. You motivate yourself in class, but things don’t have to end there. Make new connections and bring those outside of class.
If all else fails, do a shout-out online. Ask your social fiends for some fitness help. You may be surprised who answers. Most everyone has fitness goals in mind but sometimes people just need that little push to get started. Ask around and you’re bound to find someone who will take you up on the challenge.
Finally, keep in mind that you’re not limited to a single workout partner. You can have two or three. Someone for weekends and someone else for a weekday. Whatever works as long as you get moving and get healthy!