Working Out with a Friend: 4 Important Steps for Success

Experts share advice for choosing and working with a gym buddy

Even NASM trainers Brandon Cheeks and Samantha Smith of Balanced Fitness & Health in San Diego, Calif. agree: finding the motivation to work out usually isn’t easy.

However, their top tip for overcoming this all-too-common obstacle is simple: work out with a friend. They say that using the buddy system will help provide you with a more compelling reason to get to the gym and as a result, keep you committed to a workout routine in the long run.

Plus, you’ll have more fun.

Below, Cheeks and Smith offer what they call the “4 Cs of losing weight with a buddy;” important factors that you and your fitness partner should focus on in order to ensure success.

1. Commitment: Cheeks and Smith explained that it’s much harder to “flake” on a workout when it means flaking on a friend, so make sure to choose a buddy that you know you can count on. “If you know your friend is relying on you to be there, it’s one more important reason to hit the gym,” they said.

2. Companionship:  Of course, make sure that you choose a gym buddy that you enjoy spending time with. “It’s natural for one to crave the presence of others, especially when experiencing something not so pleasant such as working out,” Cheeks and Smith explained. “Workout friends can share in the blood, sweat and tears while catching up on each other’s lives—making the routine less painful.”

3. Competition: Don’t forget to infuse your workouts with a healthy dose of competition. “When being watched, you’re less likely to slack off,” Cheeks and Smith said. “Of course it’s more fun seeing who can do more crunches—pushing you just a little further and harder.”

4. Caution: Fitness friends always have each other’s backs, so in addition to simply serving as a companion don’t forget to offer your workout buddy a helping hand. “There’s always safety in numbers,” Cheeks and Smith said. “Whether it be having a friend to spot for you while doing weights or going on an evening run, having a buddy with you will put your mind at ease.”