Finding the perfect gym buddy isn’t always easy — especially if you’re used to working out solo... or not really working out.
Like Goldilocks, the key is finding one that’s “just right” — not too pushy, but also not the type of person who will leave you hanging for that 6 a.m. trip to the gym. When searching for your ideal workout partner, here are a couple of things to consider.
First, Establish Your Fitness Goals
Before seeking out a gym buddy, it’s crucial that you understand your own fitness goals and workout preferences. A good gym buddy will, ideally, enjoy the same workouts you do while helping you reach your goals, no matter what they are.
At the end of the day, you can’t expect your workout partner to help you reach your goals if you don’t know what they are yourself! Are you just trying to be more active? Are you trying to relax or lose weight?
That's not to say you have to have the exact same goal as your partner. Maybe you want to bulk up but your buddy is training for a marathon. You can still motivate each other to wake up early and go to the gym together. You'll just hit the weight room while she pounds it out on the treadmill.
What to Look for in a Gym Buddy
There are a lot of important qualities that go into a good workout partner. These include (but are certainly not limited to) the following:
Accountability: Above all, they should be able to hold you accountable. Not only will you more likely to show up if someone is depending on you to be there, but you’re more likely to stick with it for the long haul, too.
Fitness Level: For many people, it’s important to have an accountability buddy with a similar fitness level. Think about it — it might be a little intimidating to be The Rock’s accountability buddy if you're just starting out on your gym journey. When you're both on the same page, it's easier to help each other through tough times, since you're likely to know first-hand what they're struggling with.
Lifestyle Constraints: If you’re an early bird looking to convert a night owl into doing early morning rowing classes, chances are that arrangement won’t last very long. Look for someone with a similar work and sleep schedule as yourself for best results. It’s far easier to incorporate fitness into established routines than start from scratch.
So for example, if your prospective gym buddy is a parent, look for studios or gyms that offer childcare if they aren’t able to find a babysitter. If you’re working out early in the morning or early in the evening, use your workout as fuel to grab coffee or dinner with your buddy afterward.
Workout Preferences: It's also helpful if you and your gym buddy enjoy the same workouts. For example, if you want to become a master yogi and your prospective gym buddy is a die-hard Crossfitter, that might not work out. (Though you can certainly still cheer each other on from the sidelines!) Similarly, if you only have time for a quick, 30-minute gym sesh while your partner prefers more leisurely 90-minute bouts, it might not be the best match.
Where to Look for Your New Fitness Friend
Now that you’ve figured out what to look for in a gym buddy, the next question is where to find this magical unicorn. It may seem daunting at first, but your perfect match might be closer than you think.
First, take a good look at your daily routine and the places you frequent the most. For most people, that means home and work, and maybe church, a book club or a mom's day out group.Think of these places as your recruitment zones.
Take a look at your social circle: Are there relationships you’d like to strengthen or people you’d like to spend more time with? Fitness could be the key to having more consistent, quality time with a family member, friend, coworkers or significant other.
However, you know how some people say you shouldn’t live with your best friend or work with your spouse? Working out could fall under that same umbrella. So really think through whether both of you are on the same page and what effect working out together will have on your relationship. If you're both fired up and ready to go? Go for it!
Alternatively, your perfect gym buddy may be someone you don’t know too well quite yet. Is there someone new in your office you haven’t really had a chance to talk to? Invite them to a workout! Coworkers make some of the best workout partners, and it’s a great way to spend time together outside the pressures of the work.
The same could go for the person that sits next to you at your weekly book club or the person next to you at yoga class. If you’re comfortable, strike up a conversation. Finding a gym buddy is just as much of an opportunity to make new friends as it is to strengthen established relationships.
At the end of the day, a good gym buddy should lift you up when you’re feeling down and help you see being healthy as a priority, rather than a chore. Like anyone else in your life, they should serve as positive force of well wishes and wellbeing. Choose wisely!
About the Author
Anna Hochberger is the content marketing strategist for Peerfit, the market leader in connecting employers and carriers with innovative fitness experiences. With a background ranging from established non-profits to young startups, Anna brings a holistic approach to content marketing focused on building relationships, telling stories and encouraging inclusion and diversity. She enjoys early morning yoga classes and running on the beach in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.