The Ideal Workout Friend
Just over a third of all gym goers attend the gym with a friend who will workout with them at the same time. It's a very useful way of motivating you and sometimes the idea of a sort of 'team effort' can tackle the difficult mental battles in going to exercise on a daily basis. How then is it best to utilise this factor to your advantage?
First of all this is not an article telling you to take advantage of your friend, but it is an article showing you what the best attitude is to use this motivational help you have at your disposal. The workout friend is great as long as there are a few boxes to tick in order for this to work out in the long run. A few things might sound harsh but hey, that's life and this is fitness.
Let's start with what the best workout friend is. This person would be best if they were at a similar fitness standard as you. The reason is that whilst in previous articles TDL FITNESS has told you to only compare your performance with yourself of a week ago we are all human. We all like to see a benchmark of how we are doing compared with someone else. The closer your workout friend is to your own standard the more able you are to actually see if you are improving or not. This is a big motivational factor if you prefer working out with a friend.
Your workout friend must also have a lot of motivation to exercise too. Far too many times there are stories of workout friends being a sort of millstone around the necks of others and whilst it sounds harsh it is true. People can get discouraged if their friend lets them down or wants to finish early. These sorts of people are difficult workout friends and unless they are willing to change their attitude (which is generally difficult if you plan on going down this path) then to be honest they ain't worth it. Going to the gym 5 times a week is difficult enough as it is without someone weighing you down. Perhaps the act of letting your workout friend go will inspire them to change their ways and actually become the most motivated person out there. Who knows?
Your workout friend should be the punctual sort. They should be able to arrive at the gym at around the same time as you. Annoyed that your friend is late to workout and you want to start? This is a very often overlooked factor when working out with a friend. The small frustration with a late workout friend can be the difference between the most effective workout you have ever had and one you really could have missed at the end of the day. Get there on time, treat it like a work occasion. If your workout friend, or indeed if you are late then sort yourself out. This again sounds harsh but motivation is a tricky business. It doesn't stick around forever especially the great motivation one needs to workout.
At the gym there are other things to factor in when picking the best workout friend (we assume you have loads of them of course). Your workout friend shouldn't be stuck to you like a barnacle or visa versa. Don't think of the gym as a social occasion. By all means workout in close vicinity but conversations are for the outside of the gym. Rest times should be a time to catch your breath and to let the muscles recover, not to check your phone or to talk for 5-10 minutes. As long as your workout isn't affected in this way by your workout friend or visa versa then it is actually effective to have a workout friend. To find out more about how to keep your rest time effective check out our articles about efficient workouts and rest times on our website.
Having a workout friend can be a great thing but you must face up to some home truths about whether your workout friend is actually useful or is making it harder. Put your head in front of your heart on this one.