I have a bit of a confession to make. I am the worst workout buddy in the world. If it was up to me, exercising would consist of solitary runs into the mountains, lifting weights in the evening when I get done with my work, and doing meditation, tai chi and other martial arts training in the morning. That whole competitive thing where two or more people push each other to greatness? Yeah, not really feeling that. I’m more likely to beat a hasty retreat, and avoid eye contact when I see a troop of enthusiastic health nuts draw near.
But intellectually I understand the value of working together in a group. I understand the benefit of new perspectives and people supporting each other, especially in pursuit of the common goal. So, I swallowed my pride and asked some of the silver haired veterans at the gym for some pointers. Here’s what they said:
Remember that you’re striving for a goal, so keep the chit-chat to a minimum while you’re working out. It’s fine to offer words of encouragement but quizzing someone about their son’s basketball try outs while their trying to bench press can become rather annoying.
Don’t flake out– If you say you’re going to be at the gym for a 7AM run around the track, don’t show up at 8:30 expecting everything to be okay. That’s just plain rude.
Push yourself just as much as you push them. If you don’t, you’ll come across as being a braggart and a know it all. Remember this is a team effort, right?
Listen and watch. Often it’s the other person who notices things are amiss before the person doing the exercise does. Keep you’re eyes, ears and even your nose open and you might just prevent an unnecessary injury.
Realize that tomorrow will come. One of the most common ways that I see a workout buddy arrangement fall apart is when one partner is pushing the other too hard. If he or she doesn’t get in five miles on the treadmill today don’t stress. That can become tomorrow’s goal.
Splurging is not evil. Remember to celebrate the little wins and victories that come when you exercise on a regular basis. Did you and your partner reach your target reps for the day? Treat yourself to a relaxing dip in the whirlpool or spa at the gym. You deserve it.
So the question becomes- am I likely to become the best workout buddy taking these pointers under consideration? Well… let’s just say I’m willing to try and make eye contact from time to time and leave it at that.
Laura Seeber is a geologist, environmental professional, writer, and outdoor and nature enthusiast. Born just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Laura has spent the majority of her life hiking through the forest, descending into caves, climbing over boulders and up cliffs, navigating river rapids, and writing and blogging about her adventures. She currently resides in Illinois and travels country in search of the next great outdoor activity or adventure.