By: Lacey Thacker
It’s entirely possible you are one of the gym-goers for whom motivation is never a problem—you never get bored, you never skip, and you wouldn’t dream of cutting your cardio short. If so, this article is still for you.
I am not one of those people. I need something to get me from my comfy bed, out the door, into my car, and to the gym. Lucky for me, my best friend is fine with being used—as a gym buddy.
There are a couple of different ways to approach the gym buddy relationship. In one, your buddy is simply an accountability partner. You each agree to show up at the gym at a certain time, say hello, maybe chat for a minute, and then go about your separate workouts. This is a good option for those who need a little help getting there, but once at the gym, get in a good groove. There will always be certain days you want to go to the gym, put on some headphones, and zone out. For those days, the accountability will be helpful, but you can still go off and do your own thing.
You may wonder why it works so well—can you imagine making a date with someone at 5am, arriving to the agreed upon destination, and your partner not being there? What level of annoyed, frustrated, angry, or sleepy-cranky would you be at their inconsiderate no-show?
Exactly. And that’s why having an accountability partner is beneficial.
There are some people for whom getting to the gym isn’t enough—we want someone to chat with while we workout, to entertain us, if you will. For folks like myself, having that best friend to do cardio with, trade sets with, and chat with—all in a manner utilizing proper gym etiquette—is irreplaceable. I love visiting with friends, and if I’m working out with a friend, it serves to kill two birds with one stone. If you’ve got serious goals at the gym, beyond maintenance, the gym buddy can serve a third role: motivator.
The role of motivator is separate from the role of friend or accountability partner. You and your partner motivator will spot each other on weights, and may race each other on cardio, but you are also there to push each other. It’s a special relationship, because you must each know when the other thinks they’ve hit their limit, but has really just hit a mental barrier. When you’re ready to quit at eight reps, but your partner pushes you to ten, you can achieve your goals much more quickly. Similarly, you must also each learn to realize when you’ve truly hit your physical limit for the day.
If getting to the gym, making time with friends, or motivating yourself to push harder is something you struggle with regularly, considering asking your friends if they would like to work with you on getting to the gym regularly. You might be surprised at who says yes.