Accountabilabuddy. Fitfriends. Swollmates. There are many different terms for a workout partner, but they all mean the same thing: a friend (or group of friends) that help hold you accountable to your exercise routine.
Finding a workout buddy has many positive benefits. Your workout buddy can spot you while lifting weights or may motivate you to show up for that 6 a.m. class instead of hitting snooze. They are also someone to grab juice or coffee with after an amazing workout.
According to the CDC, working out with a buddy makes you more likely to be motivated, adventurous and consistent. They recommend finding someone with a similar schedule and goals, and the same level of commitment.
Finding a workout buddy
If you’re trying to find the workout version of Monica to your Rachel, follow our tips below to find a workout buddy:
- Talk to friends, or friends-of-friends
- Introduce yourself to people at the gym
- Sign up for a group fitness class
- Volunteer for a race or walk-a-thon
- Join a local sports team
- Download an app
- Start a fitness challenge
Does working out with a friend push you harder?
There’s no doubt a night out with friends can boost happiness, increase your confidence and leave you with that all-around well-loved feeling but can it translate to the gym? Research shows it can. In one study that looked at group fitness classes, people who exercised together felt more uplifted and energized after the class was complete.
Another study found that 95 percent of people who tackled a weight-loss program with friends completed the program, while only 76 percent finished who went at it alone. Plus, the friend group was also 42 percent more likely to maintain that weight loss once the program was finished. Accountability goes a long way, especially if you might not feel motivated to hit up the gym after a long day at work. Even more, a third study looked at bikers and discovered participants who pedaled next to more fit people pushed themselves harder than those who biked next to people who were less fit than them.
Moral of the story? If you’re prone to hitting the cancel button on your nightly kickboxing or Pilates session, enlist the motivation of a friend and position yourself next to the go-getter in class (yes, it might mean the front row!). Soon enough, you’ll be pushing your way toward the front. Besides, there’s more room there to show what you’ve got.
Ever have one of those days where you’d rather not deal with people anymore? Yes, it happens to all of us, and it’s completely fine to take your workout solo that day if you just need to catch a minute by yourself. In fact, research can back you up. One study concluded that people who exercised alone felt less stressed by the end of their workout, and those relaxed feelings increased when the workout moved outside.
In addition to relieving your worries, a separate study suggests creating your own playlist can make a sweat sesh seem easier. So, while the weather is still workout-friendly, craft your perfect string of Spotify beats and lace up for an outdoor run. You’ll soon be ready to deal with those people again tomorrow. And if you’re not? Well, yet another research group looked at class goers who exercised in mirrored rooms and discovered untrained women often felt more self-conscious and uncomfortable.
If this is your case, consider taking your routine outside, working one-on-one with a trainer or exercising during an open gym time. Becoming your own competition could be all that it takes to fit in a good sweat, and let’s just say those group-goers are purely impressed.
How to find a workout buddy
Research only adds to the debate of sweating with your squad or going completely solo. When it comes down to it, the answer is all in your attitude. If you need a boost of energy and want to feel challenged, join a group fitness class or ask a friend to tag along. Working out with others has shown to result in a more uplifting experience and leave people feeling energized. #werkitgurl
Talk to friends and friend-of-friends
A great way to find a workout buddy is to look among your pre-existing friends. If you have a friend who’s also looking to get active, reach out to them and plan a morning walk or jog, instead of meeting for happy hour. Transition some of your already planned meet ups into fitness based activities.
But if you don’t have friends that want to get active, see if they can introduce you to someone who does. It’s likely that people outside of your circle are interested in fitness, but you just need to find them.
Sign up for a group fitness class
Group fitness classes are a great way to make new workout friends. You already know that you both love the class, so it’s likely you might have more things in common! Group classes also have a pre-existing feeling of camaraderie, so try introducing yourself to someone at the station next to you before class starts. Don’t forget to cheer each other on!
Volunteer for a race or walk-a-thon
The previous option on this list does involve interrupting someone’s workout, so if that is intimidating, try this instead. Volunteering at a race is a great way to find fellow fitness lovers! Many people sign up to volunteer because it lets them race for free (make sure to connect with race organizers if you’re interested in trying this, not all races allow this!), so ask if they want to meet up for a run sometime.
Races are also often put on by local running groups, so check for the organizers and make sure to ask when and where the group meets up.
Join a local sports team
Sports teams take the camaraderie of a group fitness class and amp it up a notch. You’re all working toward the same goal and teamwork is literally required if you want the team to perform well. Most cities and towns have recreational sport leagues for adults, so visit your local chamber of commerce’s website to find out.
Download a fitness app
In our social media focused world it’s totally acceptable to use an app to make new friends. Try downloading Bumble BFF and search for other fitness-minded friends. If that isn’t an option, look into posting on your social media profiles. You’d be surprised how many acquaintances you have that are looking to find a fitness buddy as well.
Start a fitness challenge
Most fitness apps or programs have some sort of friend or community element. See if your program has a Facebook group you can join, then post and introduce yourself. Make it clear that you’re looking to meet new people and see if anyone is in your area.