As pool parties are amping up, so too are people’s body insecurities. I haven’t seen one pool invite without someone commenting on how no one can judge how they look in a swimsuit or how they’d hoped to be in better shape by this point or how they will just come but not swim. I, too, find myself in this same boat. Despite working out somewhat consistently, one big thing was missing this year. This year, I tried to go it alone.
With so many other things on my plate, I just couldn’t commit to a regular workout schedule or routine. So I ran alone early in the mornings before the rest of the family needed me, did yoga in my living room, and squeezed in 10 minute spurts throughout the day whenever possible. This just wasn’t enough to get me where I want to be this summer, physically OR mentally. In reality, I’ve made some of my best friends through fitness. From high school teammates, to college workout buddies, to casual tennis or walking meetups, I tend to bond through the sweat! The few times I did workout with a friend this year, I realized how much I was truly missing in other ways as well.
Some key benefits to working out with a buddy are:
You Show Up. When you make a date to meet someone at the gym, on the tennis court, or to run together, you are much less likely to bail. It’s so easy to tell yourself you will workout later, but when you have a set time to be somewhere and you know your buddy is counting on you, you get there and you get it in.
You Work Harder. Last year, I trained for an Olympic distance triathlon completely solo. I was committed, consistent, and driven. However, it wasn’t until I joined a training group the following year that I realized how “lazy” I was being. Sure, I ran 6-7 miles, but I was much quicker to start walking, go slower, or cut them short when no one else was around to help me push myself. The biking part was so much better with friends. Together we’d go on busy roads, extremely challenging hilly routes, and longer distances that I’d never dream of tackling solo. I’ve found the same to be true for almost any workout. I put in a lot more effort (and reap greater reward) when there are other people around, giving me that extra push not to give up and to try a bit harder.
Finding Fit Friends. Don’t have a local workout partner? No problem! Just head to one of the group fitness classes at your gym and you will be surrounded by an entire group of fitness buddies! I recently joined Gold’s Gym and decided to try a class I’d never done before. It was a weight lifting class — an area I’ve shied away from in recent years. I was completely out of my comfort zone, but the minute I stepped into the class, two other women were quick to help me find all of the necessary equipment and one even recommended how much weight to try between each segment of class. Since my schedule is so sporadic right now, I probably won’t go to any one class consistently (which definitely helps to build new fit friendships), but just knowing that they offer a great variety of classes throughout the day means I know I can show up and be surrounded by supportive, hard-working buddies and squeeze in a great workout.
Accountability. Accountability partners are an amazing way to help keep you in check. In the past, I’ve had accountability partners that lived several states away. We would message one another what we did that day, throw out a supportive comment, and check in again the next day. Sometimes receiving my buddy’s message was all of the motivation I needed to lace up my running shoes and go a little further that day. It also had the side benefit of rekindling an old friendship and helped us keep in better touch with one another!
Try Something New. When you have a friend by your side, it’s much easier to try new things. Perhaps your workout buddy really loves Zumba, but you have two left feet. Or maybe you love to lift weights, but need a spotter. Trying out new workouts is a great way to get out of a rut and work new muscles. Grab a friend and try a new class or sport together. You never know what you may love!