Finding a (Training) Soulmate aka your accountability coach

We don’t really need an excuse to see our friends more often, but I’m about to give you FIVE reasons so that you can. Having a training partner is not only great for your body, but it helps with your mental capacity as well. Training alone is not that fun, but when you have someone there it can really improve your mood and make your workout intensity double compared to going at it alone!
There is something potent in the mentality about ‘strength in numbers’ and while I’m ok to train on my own, I much prefer having someone to train with. Below are the top five benefits of having a training buddy:


#1: Helps You Achieve Your Fitness Goals
Research shows that having an accountability partner makes you answerable to the goals you set yourself. A recent study from Stanford University has shown that simply receiving a phone call every fortnight can increase the amount of exercise you do by up to 78%! This study was done with someone the participant didn’t know, so imagine the numbers if it was a friend or colleague that you were accountable to. Get dialing.


#2: Healthy Competition Motivates you and Increases the Intensity of the Workout
We all have a sliding scale of ‘healthy competition’ within us. For some, that means beating your colleague to the bus stop (even at the age of 43) and for others that can involve something as simple as being the first to grab an alcoholic beverage on a Friday afternoon in the office. Whatever your level of competition, for training it can significantly help motivate you and boost the intensity of your workout. A study by the Society of Behavioral Medicine looked at the effects of training with a partner on a cardio workout. They discovered doing aerobic work with a partner DOES improve your results. We all know that the last five minutes of a workout are the hardest, but with a training partner, racing to the finish line can just be that much better.


#3: It Makes the Workout More Fun
Being on a treadmill isn’t fun alone. But linked to #2, having someone with you can make it seem fun. You can have races (working on intervals and intensity), run uphill (changing dynamics) or be throwing medicine balls around, all in the name of a workout. You can be more creative or try new things when there are others around, and creativity is the antidote to a boring workout. Coming up with a workout together, or writing one up to drill each other with can take the monotony out of ‘Leg Day’.


#4: Increases your Commitment to Training
Prioritising is hard. Juggling a job, partners, pets, cooking, cleaning and sleeping is no easy feat in a 24 hour period. All of these things can often mean that exercising gets the flick when prioritising what ‘needs’ to be done. Having a training partner forces exercise up the scale of importance because you both have to schedule it in and give it precedence. It can make the difference between getting stuck at work on things that could’ve been done during the day and actually turning up to workout.


#5: There’s Many Different Types of ‘Training Partners’ to Suit You
You may not want to just be locked into one person, or you may have your mind ticking already as to who your soulmate is for your workout. There are different types that you can try to find what suits you. The ‘buddy system’ works best for those who tend to be more introverted and a bit intimidated by the idea of working out (especially in a gym). Or you may be better off looking for ‘the group effect’ for those who want to mingle social time and exercise. Finally there is the ‘couple collaborative’ where you exercise with your significant other to increase quality time and boost support for each other.


Now if you have a training partner – fantastic. Make sure you go and thank them and share this article with them so they continue to be! If you don’t, go and find one. It can be as easy as striking up a conversation at your local gym or on a run in the park or when you’re walking the dog. Finding someone with similar goals and fitness levels is important so that you can mutually benefit from the relationship.

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