Whether it’s a friend, your next-door neighbour or your love interest, working out with someone else can offer a lot of benefits.
There’s nothing quite like finding that person who spurs you on to be better. It’s so easy to end up in our little routines, but finding a sweat soulmate can catapult you out of the everyday and re-invigorate your approach to health and fitness.
It can make you more accountable, inject a little friendly competition and boost the fun factor – with a few laughs along the way.
Here, three sweat soulmates and a PT share their tips for working out together, and making it work.
Fitness friends and neighbours: Deana & Trish
Deana and Trish are best friends who met as neighbours a few years ago. They started off walking around their neighbourhood together in the evenings when their kids went to bed and this eventually extended to joining the gym together. Exercise has become part of their friendship and is something they enjoy doing together (though they do balance it out with wine and cheese platters regularly!).
“Our tips would be to make sure your gym buddy is someone you can have a laugh with but also someone you are comfortable enough to be a bit firm with when they need a bit of extra motivation. Be prepared to be flexible and take turns to go together at times that suit each other and planning out your classes together for the whole week gives you both something to work towards and helps keep you accountable!” said Deana.
Mother/daughter workout buddies: Avalon & Robyn
Avalon and mum Robyn work out together four to six days per week at the gym – sometimes they do the same activity or class, and other times they separate and do their own thing. This balance is what makes it work, says Avalon.
“Mixing it up and working out together and separately creates a good balance and allows us to focus on our different preferences and priorities, but with that nice feeling of having the other person there for support and encouragement. Some mornings feel really hard in a mobility or strength session, but mum is right there next to me,” said Avalon.
Husband/wife duo: Angela & Craig
Angela and Craig have been married for 21 years and have been workout buddies for 10 of those. They train four to five times a week together, including at the gym and sharing walks and hikes. They believe working out together strengthens their relationship because it’s time spent together with a common goal.
“We’re very competitive with one another but it’s a very positive thing and has never tested our relationship because we want to see the other person succeed. Our advice to other couples thinking about working out together is to be consistent, be supportive of each other and most importantly, be able to have a laugh together,” said Angela.
National fitness manager Sam Merza from Genesis Health + Fitness says the key to a successful match is making the right choice up front.
“Although someone may be your best mate, this does not necessarily translate to a good workout match. Some people may be a great match as a workmate or socially, but these people won’t necessarily be your sweat soul mate.
“You should put some thought into it first and then perhaps test it out with something non-committal like a one-off trial class or similar – don’t sign up to a 12-month commitment together unless you’re confident it’s going to work well.
“Ultimately, you’re looking for someone reliable who energises you and makes you want to show up.”
Sam’s top 5 tips for finding the ultimate workout buddy:
- Similar stage of fitness. While not mandatory, it can be challenging to train in a pair if there is a big difference in your fitness levels. Ideally, choose someone who is at a similar stage to you (or a little ahead) on their fitness journey.
- Schedules on par. If you work mornings during the week and your friend works nights and weekends, it will make finding convenient workout times almost impossible. When it’s hard, it’s likely to fizzle out, so try to align with someone who has a similar timetable to you.
- Energy boosters. In life, there are those people who feed your energy and perk you up, while others tend to take away your energy and pull you down. Align with someone who fills your energy cup and motivates you at 6am on a chilly Sunday morning.
- Similar likes. A workout mate won’t last long if one person loves adrenalin sports and the other prefers meditation and yoga. If you have a friend with completely different exercise tastes, perhaps align with them occasionally to try something out of your comfort zone – but or regular ongoing exercise, they’re probably not the best fit.
- The smile scale. Having a laugh and ensuring workouts are fun will keep you both coming back for more. A sense of humour should be high on your check list when choosing a workout partner.
Sam Merza is the national fitness manager for Genesis Health + Fitness gyms. He is a qualified PT who has had more than 13 years in the fitness industry.
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