It can be a hard thing to find someone who you feel comfortable exercising with. Right? I mean, this is someone you have to feel okay sweating next to, someone who doesn’t mind if you make weird noises. You should feel no judgment from this person. If you’re trying something new and you don’t quite get it right, this person should be in your corner. Not only that, but this is someone you should be comfortable chatting with, and, ideally, someone whom you actually enjoy spending time with. Working out with her should be something you look forward to it may even be the social/emotional aspect of the workout that gets you there.
But the perfect workout buddy should be more than just a friend. If you’re going to stay motivated and interested, if you’re going to improve and become more fit, your workout buddy should be . . . well, a lot of things.
1. She should be your equal. You two should be able to run at about the same pace, or be able to weightlift about as much as each other, or be equally talented with a racquet or a bat or whatever. If she’s not, it’s going to be discouraging for both of you.
2. She should have a similar schedule. She’s a morning glory while you’d rather wait until the kids are in bed before heading to the gym? Probably not a lasting relationship. Look for someone who is willing and able to meet you at your best time, which should also be her best time.
3. Your strengths and weaknesses complement each other. She’ll push you to go farther and faster than you thought you could, you’ll keep her from burning herself out. She’ll have technique she can teach you about, you’ll help her relax and enjoy the exercise.
4. You have similar goals. You’re aiming to train for a race or enter a competition, but she’s interested in just staying in shape? Maybe not the best partnership. Make sure you’re on the same page for what you want to get out of the workouts before you commit.
5. She shares your definition of “commitment.” You think “We’re meeting at 6:30″ means “We are meeting at 6:30,” but she thinks it means, “We’re meeting at 6:30 unless I decide not to at the last minute”? Better find someone else, someone who shares your belief about when it’s okay to bail on a workout or a goal.
6. She communicates clearly, honestly, and helpfully. You do the same for her. If you’re always biting your tongue about the way she gripes after every workout, or she’s afraid to tell you that the reason you’re not progressing is because you doubt yourself when you don’t need to, neither of you are going to be as good as you could be.
7. You let each other do your own thing. She’s not you. You’re not her. You understand that. You respect it. You enjoy it.