health

Why finding a Fitness Buddy could change EVERYTHING.

fitness buddy
Nat at the gym

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.

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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.

2. Make sure they have similar goals

fitness buddy
In training.

The best kind of fitness buddy is one who has similar goals to you – they understand what you’re going through and what you’re aiming for, and they’ll not only support you through it but the two of you can also work together for whatever you’re hoping to achieve.

Earlier in the year, I signed up for the Blackmores Bridge Run with two of my girlfriends. Every week or so, we check up with each other to see how we’re getting along, or we head to the gym together to keep our fitness up. It’s a good way to stay motivated while also supporting each other.

3. Embrace the concept of the Friendly Foe

It doesn’t have to be all happy-fun sunshine and rainbows with your fitness buddy. My best fitness buddy – one of my closest girlfriends – can actually be kind of mean to me at times.

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She’ll tell me if she thinks I’m slacking off that day. She won’t hesitate to tell me to harden up a little if I’m whinging about having to throw a heavy exercise ball against a wall during a circuit class. If I haven’t been to the gym or exercised in awhile, she’s the first to remind me that we have a marathon coming up that we both need to be fit for.

But it always works out well. Together, we work hard to be better than the other person. Do more weighted squats. Run the length of the room that little bit faster. Shred some more calories during circuit class.

It’s nothing too serious or bitchy – just that ideal, friendly kind of competitiveness that makes me work that little bit harder. And most importantly, it keeps me accountable with my exercise. Because if I’m going to skip a workout or if I’m not getting as fit as I’m supposed to be – I know that this girlfriend will pull me up on it.

She’s my Friendly Foe. Except for when we go for froyo after our workouts – then she’s just plain Friendly.

fitness buddyThe PUMA Women’s Fitness range – exclusive to Rebel – is the perfect armour for Friendly Foes. Available in grape and black colour ways, and featuring dryCELL technology to draw sweat away, the range will keep you looking and feeling your best for competition. Have a look:

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Do you have a fitness buddy? 

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