Faster than a competitive treadmill runner, bolder than a know-it-all personal trainer, kinder than a back-stabbing Mean Girl: Who are these people who are so wonderful that they sweat rainbow Gatorade and spit sunshine loogies? Why, it’s the Gym Buddies!
This rotating cast of characters begun at my first gym and continuing through to this very day are probably the single most reason I love exercising so much. Everybody needs a Workout Buddy of their very own. Not only are they good for kicking your butt in a workout (sometimes literally) or for an early a.m. phone call if you don’t show up but mine have done everything from tucking in a stray bra strap to letting me weep tragically on their shoulder for 2 hours during a “run.” They also lend me books, clip magazine articles for me, and bring me jelly beans, not to mention get indignant on my behalf, babysit my kids and – for the most part – laugh with me, not at me, when I embarrass myself in any one of the multitudinous ways that I am wont to do.
I do not tell them enough how grateful I am for their kindness, friendship and, when necessary, tough love. I was reminded of this egregious error today while reading Seabreeze’s post about her happy reunion with a long-lost Workout Buddy of her own. While there are certainly times when one needs a nice long solitary run to sort things out or a good heavy weight session with nothing but the sound of your own heavy breathing to interrupt your sets, there are times when most people seek out some kind of social aspect to their exercise. Group fit classes, running groups, neighborhood walking associations, group personal training sessions, boot camps – all fill the need to get your sweat on in the company of people who won’t mind it.
Benefits to Working Out With Others
Research has shown that people who work out with a buddy, not only stick to their exercise plans better but also work out longer and feel more positive about the experience afterward. So what is the magic of a Workout Buddy?
1. Courage. Gyms can be scary places. So can running trails. It’s so much easier to get out there for the first time and just try it if you’ve got someone by your side cheering you on. To be honest I’d still do most of the crazy stuff I do even if I were alone but I would feel a lot dumber doing my Karate Kata all by myself. Plus I’d end up talking to myself. Nobody wants that.
2. Variety. People like different stuff and seeing someone else try something may inspire you to shake up your workout. And we all know that the single best principle of exercise is change! I got all the Gym Buddies to try handstand pushups and they, in turn, have challenged me in their own ways to run 26.2 miles, to try kipping pullups, to eat white rice (and it was SO yummy Krista!).
3. Accountability. It’s easy to blow off your 6 a.m. training run if it’s just you and your sneakers but add in a hyper dog or a friend on your doorstep and you’ll be out the door, even if it is looking a bit like rain. I have learned to always let the Gym Buddies know if I’m going to miss a workout else I’ll be flooded with “Are you DEAD?!?” texts within the hour.
4. Fun. The Gym Buddies and I laugh a lot. We laughed when Lisseth got a power wheel stuck up her butt, when Candice couldn’t lift facing the mirror because she thought her knees were making angry faces at her, when Allison rolled her ankle but insisted on working out anyhow doing all her jumping jacks and squats one-legged, when Megan made innuendos about gym equipment, when Jennie helped me come up with 5 different slang terms for inappropriate sweat stains, and Sunny – well, we can’t even look at each other without giggling … I could go on but I’ll stop so that they’ll all still be talking to me tomorrow. And we won’t even get started about all the opportunities we get to laugh at me (pretty much the entire purpose of this blog).
I’m not giving away the Gym Buddies. I’m sorry. You will have to find your own. However, Franklin Antoian of iBodyfit would like to add a personal touch to one of your workouts with free online personal training. His company offers “custom online personal training workouts designed, monitored and updated by professional personal trainers. Your workouts change and
improve based on your results. Whats best, you can always talk with a real Trainer from iBodyFit.com (email, IM, text and even phone) whenever you have a fitness question!” All you need to do to enter the giveaway is leave me a comment telling me who your workout buddy is (feel free to use a celebrity of your choice if you currently don’t have a buddy) and why you love them! Winner will be announced Monday.
In addition, Whooga – maker of super comfy footwear – wants everyone to feel like a winner, or at least wants your tootsies to stay cozy and are offering all Great Fitness Experiment readers a $30 coupon to use in their online store! (Not 30% – but 30 DOLLARS). Just type in the code: THEGREATFI during checkout. Neither offer is restricted to the US.
PS> Admit it – you can’t stop watching the ball flip guy, can you???