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From the increased accountability to get in the gym, being pushed to work harder, making the process more enjoyable, and always having someone to receive advice or bounce ideas off.
If at all possible, find yourself a good workout partner. Your body will thank you later.
So, you know you want a buddy to workout with, but how do you find someone who fits the bill, and then how do you nurture the relationship to get the most out of it?
How to find a high-quality workout partner
There are benefits to having a workout partner at any level.
If they’re more advanced than you, they are a wealth of experience and knowledge. They’ve been there and done it before, they can offer support and know exactly what you’re going through.
Meanwhile someone at a level similar to your own will create a competitive environment where you can push each other on to achieve more. Keep it friendly of course, but competition is great for motivation.
Finally, mentoring someone newer than you also has benefit. Both in imbedding your knowledge and improving your thinking about training, as well as the sense of satisfaction you get from nurturing someone will make the gym more enjoyable.
You can find a workout partner in various places, depending on your situation in life. Maybe there is someone you already know, a friend or someone in the office, who is a regular gym goer?
If you’re more serious about training you might find online groups and forums the best place to meet like-minded people.
Finally, and perhaps most obvious is in the gym. Start nurturing relationships by striking up conversation (when people are resting, not mid-set!), offering to spot people, etc.
Don’t be the guy giving unsolicited advice, simply offer a helping hand, and get chatting. If people want advice, they will ask for it. Just be helpful, friendly, and look to make any relationship a win-win.
How to be a good workout partner
The first thing you want to be, to be a good workout partner, or good friend in general, is reliable. Always be there when you say you will be there, be on time, and ready to hit it hard. Nobody wants to babysit their flaky workout partner, wasting time waiting for them, etc.
Be on time, be prepared, and be ready for a good session every time you turn up.
Next up is to be positive. Always be encouraging. Always push your partner to believe in themselves, to believe that they’re capable of a little more weight or an extra rep.
Realistically, people are almost always capable of getting a little more out of themselves. The additional belief will make all of the difference. Push them to be their best self.
Nobody wants to workout with a negative Nancy who is complaining or doubting. Stay positive, and make an environment for growth.
Always be supportive and encouraging. Just like you would want people to be with you, you can always offer a little encouragement and support. A simple “you’ve got this” can be surprisingly useful to hear when you’re stepping underneath a heavy weight.
Knowing that your friend is there to spot you if need be, freeing your mind from worrying about failure, allowing you to focus instead of giving your all and making a good set.
Next up is to give everything you can. Obviously pushing yourself as hard as you can is beneficial for you, but it is also motivating for your buddy. Set an example, give it everything you have got, and never complain. This creates an environment of strength, that when nurtured over time becomes a strong culture of success.
Take the lead and work as hard as you can. Push yourself, stay positive and work hard. Whether you’re a newbie and your partner is advanced, or the other way around, it is going to benefit you both.
Hard work will endear you to someone, no matter how far ahead of you they might be right now. Conversely, if you’re ahead, you are showing them the way forward. That hard work pays off and brings the results they’re looking for.
Finally, be helpful. Spot people when they need a spot, help them push out an extra rep or two. Give some words of encouragement to help get people fired up and ready to go.
Load and unload weights, tidy up after yourself and generally just be respectful of the environment and other people. Everyone appreciates little things like this. Even if the gym is messy, you can set the example and tidy things up after you finish.
An orderly environment tends to stay orderly, while a messy environment tends to stay messy. Be the catalyst for change.
Invest your time and energy into a fulfilling partnership or group relationship at the gym and it will pay dividends back in your results, enjoyment of the process, and you might even make solid friends for life.
Going through struggle together tends to bond people together. Bench pressing isn’t exactly going to war together, but it’s probably the closest most of us will ever get to that level of relationship.
Put the effort in, and you will receive the rewards.