WORDS GEOFF EDWARDS
When it comes to losing weight and getting in shape, do you feel “alone” – that it all feels too hard by yourself and you are not having fun?
Having a Power Gym Sister or workout buddy to support you won't just make the process easier: buddies are great for giving encouragement and advice along your healthy lifestyle journey. The more you surround yourself with people who support your goals, the greater your chance of success will be. Your buddy can be part of that support system – someone who gives you a boost when you need it, and to whom you can lend a hand in return. Exercise partners provide a powerful combination of support, accountability, motivation and, in some cases, healthy competition. They can play the role of teammate, co-coach and cheerleader — all while working out.
I have provided some suggestions here for you, so why not give it a go as you have nothing to lose.
REVIEW YOUR EXERCISE PROGRAM
The first step to increase the effectiveness of your workout program is to check your current motivation level and to see if you are experiencing any of the following:
• boredom with your current exercise routine;
• low energy levels;
• lack of motivation or self sabotage;
• lack of clarity or focus on goals;
• missing exercise classes
Overall, if you have experienced any of these negative factors, it can easily build into a story in your mind that will prevent action and de-motivate you. You have the opportunity to take charge now and reverse that trend with new options for motivation with a workout buddy. The key to long-term (and even short-term) success lies in developing multiple sources of motivation that are both internal and external. Internal motivation comes from within and is a measure of your own drive. External motivation, on the other hand, is derived from external sources and this includes praise and support from others. The ultimate goal is to strengthen all areas of motivation to achieve success for you.
BENEFITS OF A WORK OUT BUDDY
Workout buddies play extremely important roles in any successful exercise program. To accomplish your exercise goals, you first need a concrete workout regime, a detailed nutrition plan and a steady exercise schedule. Once all these things are in place, you can search for the next valuable addition to your exercise program – a workout buddy. A good workout buddy provides support, helps you stay focused and excited on a daily or weekly basis and stays by your side through thick and thin until you've achieved your exercise goals. Having a workout buddy who asks you to be accountable for your workout schedule is a sure way for you to stay on track. They also provide knowledgeable insight into your strengths, weaknesses, habits and fears.
Research has shown that working out with a buddy increases motivation and, because we are highly social by nature, gives us someone to compare ourselves to and someone to stay accountable to. Workout buddies bring a lot to the table, including:
• Accountability. If you know that you’re scheduled to meet your workout buddy at the gym, you’re less likely to skip the workout.
• Motivation. Your workout buddy can really push you to get that extra last rep or when you are about to give up.
• New options. There are numerous strength moves you can do with your buddy, like crunches with a medicine ball, partner push-ups and leg tosses. These are fun and very effective.
• Companionship. Having a friend next to you to talk with while you slave away on the exercise machine can make the time fly by and often you talk about things other than exercise.
• Competition. By trying to keep up with your buddy, you will challenge yourself in ways that you cannot do alone.
• Outside perspectives. Your buddy can view you more objectively and remind you of your progress so far and keep your motivation levels high.
• Opportunities to celebrate success. Celebrating your progress alone isn't as much fun as it is with a buddy.
Having a workout buddy can mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to your exercise goals.
Overall, the most obvious places to find a workout buddy is your fitness centre, at home or in your local and online community. Some additional suggestions are provided below to assist you with finding a workout buddy:
• Family members can make good workout partners, but make sure they’re serious about their fitness commitments.
• Co-workers are another workout buddy resource. You can create standing pre- or post-work workout dates at a gym near your office.
• Approach someone at the gym. Maybe you’ve made a friend or two at the gym, and noticed that you’re on the same schedule.
Use the internet or other online applications. The rise of social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter means you can go to cyberspace for diet and fitness support. There are also apps such as http://fitnessbuddyapp.com/