When it comes to working out, I’ve always been more of a, for lack of a better term, loner. I like to get in, do my thing, and get out. In other words, I rather be efficient with my workouts and save the chit chat for another time. I’m also naturally more of a morning exerciser and if my mom is anyone to go by, I’m not the chirpiest person to be around first thing in the day ;).
At the risk of unintentionally sounding selfish, solo workouts also make it easier for me to stick to my training schedule. As there’s no one else’s agenda to cater to, I can solely focus on my own goals and stick to my own pace.
That all being said, I did exercise a few times with my friends in Singapore. Truth be told, those workouts definitely changed my opinion about workout buddies. Along with the social aspect, there are so many other benefits of having one:
- Support: A fitness partner makes it less intimidating to try a new sport, class or gym. The only reason I decided to try out another yoga class was because my friend raved about the instructor and was planning to go herself.
- Source of motivation: As much as I love working out, my motivation slowly dwindles as the day progresses. After spending the whole day on Haji Lane in the heat, nothing sounded better than a nap. Hearing how pumped my friends were about going for run when the weather cooled down was enough motivation for me to get my trainers on.
- Accountability: Just as you wouldn’t cancel a lunch out with a friend, the same goes for an exercise date. Knowing that you’re going to let someone else down if you cancel a pre-planned workout will probably convince you to stick to the plan.
- Extra push: Whether it’s running a bit faster than you’re used to in order to keep up, trying a new workout which you wouldn’t alone, or ignoring those moments of weakness when the temptation to call it quits hits, workout buddies can be all it takes to push you out of your comfort zones. Plus a little bit of friendly competition goes a long way!
- Synergy: This is really cheesy but so true- when 2 people are serious about achieving a common goal together, the energy, passion and experience is automatically amplified.
The runs which I did with my friends were the perfect balance of working out solo and with someone else. We ran together, yet didn’t say a word: as soon as we were ready to set off, we plugged in our iPods and our only form of communication was in the form of hand gestures to indicate which direction we were continuing on. The 3 of us had a mutual understanding about our individual fitness levels: whether one wanted to stop and walk or the other one wanted to speed up, there was no obligation to follow suit.
As difficult as finding the ‘perfect’ workout buddy is, I think it’s important to keep one thing in mind: Find someone who shares your goals and ultimately brings out the best in you…and be sure to return the favor right back :).
Do you prefer working out alone or buddying up?