There are people who prefer to work out alone. Can you spot them? It’s easy actually; because some of them give you clear signals that they can’t be bothered by anyone when they’re in their zone. And often, they do this by wearing a simple piece of gear — earphones. It’s just their preference and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Then there are others who you rarely see alone. In fact, catching them alone prompts you to ask “where is your training partner?”
The concept of a training partner, a gym buddy, or whatever you want to call it, is a natural practice amongst active people. Its main purpose is support. So, having one can work wonders for you especially if you’re trying to push yourself further.
But of course, there’s a caveat. You need to carefully choose your training partner because there are those who can drag you down, favouring useless chats and selfies over actual workouts. Now might be a good time to put those earphones on to keep them at bay. If you want to have a training partner, choose one with the same or slightly higher level of fitness as you. You want to keep up and do not want to be a burden if your partner’s too advanced. Likewise, if you’re advanced, a beginner will slow your progress. Sure, you can always compromise, but for how long? To be more efficient with your time and effort, remember to find a partner within your range.
What do training partners do for you exactly? A lot. For one, they make sure you show up at all for your exercise. You know you have lazy days but a stern “where the heck are you?” from your partner can get you on your feet in an instant. Then you arrive at the gym totally unprepared, but hey, not to worry, your partner has got your back. He’s already thought of and lined up a few exercises for a surprise circuit session you both can do together. This buddy system has to be mutually beneficial so you don’t leave your partner hanging by just standing in the corner while he goes for his personal best bench-pressing two 40kg dumbbells. You ‘spot’ him. While he’s lying down on the bench, you stay overhead and gently give his elbows the slightest push so he can finish his reps.
This dynamic between partners not only promotes accountability, it helps you accomplish each other’s goals by pushing each other’s limits. I can’t count the times I’ve had to run faster and therefore improved lung capacity just to keep up with a partner’s pace. Or the times I was coerced into putting more plates on the barbell bench press and therefore improved my strength because my partner challenged me, and vice versa. Sometimes a certain exercise or a progressive weight loading intimidates you and it’s good to know you have a partner to support and push you. You feed off each other’s motivations and strengths.
You improve the quality of any workout when somebody’s with you making sure you deliver. And in return, aren’t you glad you’re an integral part of someone’s improvement? Find your training partner right now and discover another way to success in fitness.