A great option for staying motivated to workout is finding a workout partner. This will not only add a social aspect to your workouts, making them that much more enjoyable, but will also make you accountable to someone else. When you know your partner will be there waiting for you, provided you do value that person as a workout partner, you’ll think twice about skipping out on them.
In order for this pairing to be optimal, there are some important factors to consider when choosing who you join up with. Here are the major ones to keep in mind.
Do You Want A Partner Or A Mentor?
The first thing you must decide is whether you are looking for a workout partner or a workout mentor. A workout partner is someone who is going to be more along the same lines as you with their training -- someone who you can share similar triumphs with and work together toward your goals.
A mentor, on the other hand, is someone who has surpassed where you are and is there to offer advice and guide you along the way. Finding a mentor is typically harder (if you’re looking for someone to workout with on a daily basis) since they do have their own goals.
The advantages to having a mentor are that they can help pinpoint things you may be doing wrong and offer helpful tips for you to overcome them so you get better progress. Keep in mind that everyone’s body will respond slightly differently. Doing every single thing your mentor says may not be the smartest move, but rather taking into account what advice they offer you and figuring out how it can possibly apply to your own body will be wise.
Similar Time Schedules
Having similar time schedules as your workout partner is another incredibly important factor. While you may want to workout with your best friend, if they are only able to workout first thing in the morning and you prefer afternoon workouts, it’s clearly obvious why this pairing will not work. Ideally, you both will prefer to train at the same time and will be available for regular training sessions at whatever time you do choose.
Selecting a workout partner who ‘might’ be able to make it when you want to train isn’t going to hold well for the long run. Expect a few interruptions to the regular workout schedule as things do come up in life that alter our plans, but for the most part, you and your workout partner should make a firm commitment to train at a certain time on certain days of the week.
While your goals don’t need to be exactly the same (one may want to increase their bench press 10 pounds while the other wants to build 5 pounds of muscle mass for example), the goals should call for similar types of workouts. If they don’t, you’re more like gym partners than workout partners. You may go to the gym together, but you’re not going to be working out together.
That may be fine – having a gym partner will still at least get you into the gym, but it won’t provide the same intensity of motivation as a partner who is there to help push you through your workout.
Your Motivational Tendencies
The purpose of having a workout partner is largely for motivational reasons, so with this, it’s beneficial if you both have similar motivational tendencies. Some people tend to have a ‘push’ motivational tendency, where they respond best to strict force and demands (think drill sergeant-like trainer), while others tend to respond best to a more comforting supportive style (think encouragement-like trainer).
If your partner is going to be shouting out at you trying to push you to work harder and you don’t respond well to this type of encouragement, problems are likely to arise. Knowing and understanding what motivates you the best while you’re working out will enable you to choose a partner who best fits within your needs.
Similar Work Habits
Look at your workout habits. Are you are very hard worker in the gym who doesn’t like to spend a lot of downtime talking? Or, are you someone who prefers to get your workout in, but also use your gym-time as a chance to socialize?
Finding a partner who has a similar work ethic will be vital to a successful pairing. Typically people who hold a ‘I’m there to workout’ mindset will not appreciate a gym partner who tries to chit chat while they’re trying to get down to work. Likewise, if you want a workout partner who develops into a very close friend, you’re not going to respond well to a person who doesn’t really put forth any effort to maintain conversation with you.
By keeping all of these factors in mind, you will ensure that you and your workout partner get better results together, not drive each other away.