By NATALIA HAWK
I am a firm believer in the benefits of a fitness buddy.
The right fitness buddy will be there to hold your hand when you first attempt to jog a full lap of an oval. They’ll be there to cheer you on when you can finally manage twenty push-ups – ON YOUR TOES. And they’ll be there to tell you that you totally deserve a serve of chocolate mousse at dinner after all the effort you put into spin class that night.
And there’s science behind the idea of the fitness buddy, too. A recent UK study of 1000 women, conducted by a leading health company, uncovered some pretty solid evidence to support the idea of dragging someone else along to the gym with you.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Puma. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
Apparently 64% of those who work out with a friend will push themselves harder and achieve better, faster results. Additionally: they will train for 6 minutes longer on average, head to the gym more often, and burn more calories. Women who trained together burned an average of 236, as opposed to women who went it alone, who only burned 195.
But finding the right fitness buddy is a process. Don’t be fooled into thinking that someone will make a great fitness buddy just because the two of you get along well. I once tried working out with one of my best friends – I adore her and we could spend all day, every day together – but when left at the gym together, we quickly got bored and lazy and gave up to go and eat waffles instead. Not such a great move.
So. Here are my three tips for finding the perfect fitness buddy:
1. Pick someone at a similar level of fitness
It almost goes without saying, but: if you haven’t ever even used a weights machine, don’t go to the gym with someone whose arms muscles are bigger than the size of your head. If you don’t even know what “Crossfit” is, try to avoid the kind of people who replace several of their daily meals with protein shakes. It won’t end nicely for anyone. Someone will inevitably get bored, someone else will get embarrassed, someone will get frustrated, and you’ll end up exercising separately anyway – which is not really the point of having a fitness buddy in the first place.
You don’t have to be on the exact same level as your fitness buddy, but it’s best to find someone who is at least similar to you, and who generally does the same kind of fitness – so that you can both happily do 30 minutes on the treadmill together, or a class at the gym, or just a slow jog around your local park.