Last week we stressed just how important INTENSITY is in your workouts. Of course you don’t need to be going out there and killing yourself every day, more in that 2-3 of your weekly workouts need to get you working HARD. This is especially true if you only have limited time to get those workouts in…you need to squeeze every second out of those precious minutes. Besides, upping the intensity in your workouts gets your body burning more energy which translates into more calories burned. Additionally, when you do workouts like intervals and plyometrics it’s been shown that your metabolism is elevated much higher for the hours even after you have finished…talk about a win-win! But motivating yourself to push it can be difficult, especially if you’re just having one of those ‘ugh’ days. That’s where having a workout partner can help.
Working out with a buddy has many rewards: 1) If you set up your workout appointments ahead of time you’re more likely to stick to them. It’s harder to blow off another person than if you were just skipping a date with the gym and only you. 2) A buddy can bring out that healthy competitive drive that otherwise may be left hibernating if it were just yourself on a rather ‘blah’ day. 3) You can get out there and meet new people…you can choose to workout with friends you’ve already got, but often times people end up branching out and forming new relationships too! In fact, some find it better to have their ‘gym’ friends stay just that…when you guys get together to workout you both know it’s time to sweat, not social hour. Of course some talking can take place, but if you’re going hard you should be tired and the talking should be more along the lines of a few words of encouragement, not over the latest office gossip.
How do you find your perfect workout buddy? Well, you may feel a bit uncomfortable approaching a stranger and saying, “Hey, how you doin’? Wanna workout with me?” (Flashback to a similarly corny pick-up line at a bar.) But just as making friends in the real world isn’t all that forced, finding your gym soul mate doesn’t have to be either. If you’re already taking a class, look for someone who shares your same focus and determination and strike up a conversation afterwards. (Note: If you really want to get fit, looking for someone in a little bit better shape than you are can help; you’ll be encouraged to keep up with them and soon you will be able to. You DON’T want to hook up with the person always in the back of the class giving it half the effort…otherwise you could be tempted to slack off with them.) If you need a spotter for a particular exercise, go out on a limb and ask a friendly face; you could then feel it out and see if after the ice breaker you two could be a nice match. Finally, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enlist already good friends to workout with you…it’s just that you want to make sure you both are on the same page as far as goals go. You don’t want to put a strain on an existing relationship if it turns out the other person isn’t all too serious about getting in their best shape. So, while you may or may not have already found your soul mate in love (if they actually do exist…hehe) your gym mate may be just around the treadmill! Keep up the intensity, Amanda and Caitlin