Get motivated with workout buddies!
What keeps you from the gym and working out? More than likely, it has something to do with lack of motivation, accountability, and/or the dread of boring workouts. You’re not alone. My thoughts have varied from, “It’s been a long week...I don’t feel like going to the gym” to “Seriously, I’m so bored of running on the treadmill” to “It’s not like I’m meeting a trainer so I don’t have to go right now, I can go whenever works for me.” No matter what the excuse, the next day I often feel regretful I didn’t go.
So how do we battle these issues? One way that I've found very successful is by having a workout buddy (or, in my case, buddies). As many times as we’ve heard it and as cliche as it sounds, it’s true. I’ve found that having a workout partner or group of workout friends not only elevates my motivation and accountability to my workouts, but also expands my knowledge of various exercises and brightens my overall attitude. All good things, right? Right.
If my personal experience doesn’t persuade you, maybe Women’s Health Magazine will. Earlier this year they reported on a study from the University of Pittsburgh that said women who exercised with a friend lost a third more weight than those who hit the gym solo. Again, good things.
So where do you start. I currently workout one to three days every week with a group of up to nine friends...but it didn’t start out that way. Here are a few simple steps to finding your workout buddy groove!
1. Find friends:
For this first step, I want to remind everyone of one of my favorite sayings - it doesn't hurt to ask. Start with someone easy that you talk to daily - your best friend, your partner, a sister or brother. If they aren’t the gym-going type, don’t take it as defeat. More than likely, your neighborhood is chock full of people who are looking for motivation just like you. So, again, it doesn't hurt to ask. Reach out to your neighbors, your friends, your coworkers, your Twitter followers, etc. Group classes at the gym are a great place to find these workout buddies. Think about it - if you're trying to find the motivation to get to a class every week, who better to keep you accountable than someone who goes too!
I found my workout friends mostly through an online workout community called Tone It Up run by two trainers out of California. Thousands of women subscribe to their workouts and more, and I found a ton of them right here in my neighborhood!
2. Find a time/place that works for your schedules:
This is sometimes a tough one. But, it's just like making time for working out solo...You need to do it and you CAN do it.
My group of friends has a standing workout date every Friday at 6:15am. We also try to meet on Wednesday mornings for the CXWORX class at 7am at Merritt Fort Ave. No, pre-dawn isn’t my favorite time of day. And yes, sometimes I really want to just hit the snooze button and just turn over. But I can't. Like I said, workout partners keep you accountable. If they can get up at this time, so can I. It's a cyclical mix of not wanting to let my friends down while at the same time wanting to inspire them to not want to let me down. In the end (minus a few absences for holidays and colds), we're all there bright and early and ready to go. Not to mention, when you’re up and about that early, you see some pretty amazing sunrises.
3. Make a plan:
As I mentioned, my little group of workout fanatics didn’t just happen overnight. Either did our productiveness. This is where creating a plan comes in handy. Because these are your friends/buddies, you’ll be naturally inclined to chat and catch up. While this is all part of the reason you’re motivated to get to these workout dates, you don’t want it to suck up the majority of the time you dedicated to working out.
Our group typically gets together for 30-45 minutes. Within this time, we plan for a light cardio warmup, a solid 25 minutes of exercises, and, of course, time to chat. We take turns creating the workout plans so we can experience a variation of moves ranging from free weights to yoga to kettlebells, etc. It’s important to update your workout so your body is continuously challenged.
Below is an example of one of our sessions:
1.5 mile jog
Bosu circuit: (Repeat 3x)
30 sec planks on Bosu
10 off-balance pushups on Bosu
10 squats with weights on flipped Bosu
30 sec crab walk around Bosu
Quick cardio break:
60 sec butt kicks
30 sec lunge jumps
Medicine ball circuit: (Repeat 3x)
10 squat-to-jump wall punches with medicine ball
30 sec mountain climbers on medicine ball
10 double arm and leg extension with medicine ball
10 slam downs with medicine ball
Quick cardio break:
30 sec back kick to front kick
60 sec grapevine/side shuffle
20 towel flies
Keep in mind, although we often create our own workouts, we also love to take advantage of the workouts provided for us in the form of group classes at the Merritt club locations. There are tons of different options at different times during the week. We usually try to make at least one with someone from the group.
4. KEEP GOING!
This is, I think, the most important thing to strive for. Remember a few things:
- You’re not the only one you’re letting down if you don’t make it
- You’re going to learn something new
- You’ll never regret a workout that’s getting you to a happier and healthier place
- You’re hanging out with friends!
All in all, it’s simple. If you’re trying to start working out, or to workout more, having someone to help you along the way is a good thing. They help you with motivation, accountability, and education. Plus, you’re building friendships! Again with the corny yet true point. I had no idea who these girls were 6 months ago. Now, I not only see them on a weekly basis to workout, but we also get together socially, we’ve supported each other for big events (like the Baltimore Marathon!), and more.
“You’ll never regret a workout.” <3
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