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Finding the right partner helps to prioritize workouts

By WINA STURGEON | China Daily | Updated: 2018-07-11 09:02
To have a workout buddy exercising together helps people train harder and reap better results. [Photo provided to China Daily]

I used to be in terrific shape. Muscles formed curves on my arms, back and legs. I was self-disciplined, went to the gym regularly and rode my mountain bike along dirt trails, not just streets.

The secret to that success? I had a workout partner who liked the same sports as me, and loved to work out to stay in shape.

Those on an actual team often have more than one workout partner. In fact, having people to train with is a reason some athletes go out for a school team or a recreational league.

Fitness Magazine recently ran an article titled, "Five reasons to thank your workout buddy". One reason was: "You'll actually show up if you know someone is waiting for you at the gym," while another read: "You'll work harder if you train with someone else." Just as you have your own fitness knowledge, you'll get new workout knowledge from your companion. Meanwhile, because there's a subtle competition with a buddy, you will train harder, and burn more calories.

So, how do you find a workout buddy?

First of all, decide what you want from that person. Make a list: Do you want to be a better athlete in your favorite sport? Or do you just want to be physically fit, able to move with strength and flexibility? Think about the exercises you would like to do with your workout buddy. What would be your ideal percentages of resistance, aerobic and endurance conditioning?

You might think about posting what you're looking for on social media, but it probably won't result in a useful response from many "friends". By definition, a workout partner needs to live fairly close by, and if you plan on working out in a gym, that person must belong to the same gym. Most large-chain gyms will allow you to go to any of their branches if you pay a one-off fee.

Finding the right buddy is actually the hardest part. Mine posted her request on the bulletin board of a local dog park, so I knew she had a dog. Her notice included what kind of training she wanted to do, how many days a week and how many hours she wanted to spend on each session, and her age. It also listed her favorite sports and activities, and provided her phone number-but not her name. Any notice for a training buddy should include these details.

You can put up your "seeking training partner" notice anywhere there is a message board, whether it's a college or university or a local grocery store.

You and your partner's first meeting may be a little awkward. Things will go easier if you are willing to make some allowances to the other person's interests and desires. For example, they may want to work out early on a Saturday morning, while you prefer to sleep in on weekends. It's worth negotiating: Maybe the Saturday session could be done on alternate weekends.

Another important point is that each of you will probably have different skills. Just accept your differences and learn to work with each other. Over time, both of you will benefit-your partner will be able to lift more weights and you will become more aerobically fit. The core of your relationship is that you will always be there to help each other.

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