Fitness buddies can help you stay committed to a fitness routine while having fun. Here’s how you can form proactive partnerships to help your fitness journey.
You depend on your friends for motivation to see you through tough times in life. So why not rope in their support for fitness as well?
Sohela Khan, a 39 year old statistical assistant, banks on her fitness buddies to stay on a weight loss diet. She is part of a four member fitness buddy group on Whatsapp where they keep each other updated about their daily menu, cheat foods, and also motivate each other when the going gets tough.
“I also do an hour of brisk walking every day, five days a week. My husband is my walking buddy and we both enjoy our daily walks,” explains Sohela.
Vandana Vellore, a 41 year old teacher in Hyderabad, also feels that other like-minded people will help you stay the course in your fitness journey. Vandana is an enthusiastic runner and has completed several marathons, even coming in at second place for the Spirit of Wipro 10K and Hyderabad Triathalon 2013.
“I am a member of the Hyderabad Runners Club, a bunch of highly motivated fitness enthusiasts. I first met them when I ran my first 5K last year in the Airtel Hyderabad Marathon 2013, and they have been instrumental in keeping me running since then,” says Vandana.
Most people think about enlisting the support of others when they are unable to stick to their workout resolutions on their own or find that they’re not getting the desired results.
Piyali Thakur, a 32-year-old software professional, noticed that even though she had been a regular at the gym for six months, there were no visible changes in her weight. “I was totally demoralised and was looking for new ideas. I discussed this with my friends who were also struggling with weight problems, and we decided to try this new diet together,” says Piyali, who is a member of the same fitness group as Sohela.
“Following the same goal helps us stay on track. There is also this healthy competition among us which help us reach our target goals faster,” says Piyali.
A 2011 study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise found that perceived support from people who are close to you can positively influence your own exercise habits.There is a reason why fitness goals top the list of every New Year resolution. People tend to start with much enthusiasm, but slack offafter a couple of months. Committing yourself to a group with similar goals will drastically improve your chances of success, because of the support and motivation that you receive from group members.Each member plays the role of cheerleader, teammate, and coach.
Human beings are social animals after all. It is no wonder that we seek positive reinforcement and support from others, and thrive when we receive it. Self-discipline will get you going over the long haul, but external support from others can give you the much-needed push especially in moments of weakness when you feel like you’re simply not making enough progress and feel like quitting.
Raring to partner up? Excellent! But before you do that, bear in mind that not all fitness buddies are created equal.
Make sure that you have the same goals
“Find someone who has similar goals and is serious about following the schedules that you set together,” advises Sohela.
It may not help much if your goal is to reduce your weight from 95 kg to 80 kg, and your fitness partner wants to bulk up. The goals here are different, so will be the fitness routine and diet.
Check if that person is willing to stay the course
“Consistency and regularity are the key factors for any fitness routine. Many of us give up within a week or two; a healthy body is not going to come to you overnight,” reminds Vandana.
It will be incredibly frustrating if your fitness buddy drops off after couple of weeks or a month. Your ideal fitness buddy must keep going when the going gets tough.
They don’t need to be your best friend, but they should ideally be someone whom you like and don’t want to disappoint. When you feel a sense of responsibility and loyalty towards another person, you are more likely to follow through on whatever you promised.
Small group or duo?
Small groups are ideal for people who like to socialise while exercising. The membership of the small group may change over time, but they are likely to be more focused and serious in their approach.
The Hyderabad Runners Club that Vandana is a part of is an example of this.
“We party, socialize, organize running events and even travel out of the city to participate in events. Running with a bunch of like-minded people keeps me energetic and motivated,” says Vandana.
Those who are more introverted or are focused on specific goals may find a group of two more suitable. Romantic partners who share the same fitness goals may also pair up and become fitness buddies.
You may find fitness buddies from among your friends and colleagues or social media meetups. If you have a fitness coach or a personal trainer, ask them for suggestions. They may also be able to help you find someone whom you can pair up with.
The next time you start on a fitness routine, think about enlisting the support of a fitness buddy.
Pic credit: frodig (Used under a Creative Commons license)
Nisha Salim is a self-employed writer and a social media junkie.
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