The eternal struggle: To workout or not to workout today. If you leave your exercise to the end of the day, the motivation to go through with it can be tough. Even when you know exercising makes you feel great—or if you love your Pilates class—it can still be hard to do anything when you leave the office.
There’s one proven way to help you do it though: securing a solid workout buddy to keep you accountable. While an in-person partner to accompany you to the gym is best, even an accountability partner who gives you a call improves results. Statistics show that just knowing you have a check-in phone call coming every couple of weeks increases the amount of exercise people get by a whopping 78%.
So how do you find these miracle workers to get your motivation cooking? Let’s talk about it.
· Start Talking. The best way to test the waters for a potential gym buddy is simply to talk about your health and fitness routine at work. In the break room, mention how you just recently signed up at a new yoga studio or plan to start running 3 miles after work. Interested parties will pipe up with feedback and you can decide if they’re someone you’d want to invite to join you.
· Online Forums. Some of your best workout partners may not be in the office, but on your computer screen. There are websites devoted to helping you find exercise friends and they are begging to beused!
· Join a Group. Websites like Meetup.com have an endless variety of groups available and waiting for you to join. Many of them are fitness-related and even divided by age, fitness level, location, and more! You just have to be confident and make your way to your first event. Most people that attend are easy going and friendly, or they wouldn’t be on Meetup.com!
· Join a Team. A fun way to meet instant exercise buddies is to join a local softball, volleyball, kickball, or other team sports league. Discover the best team sports for adults and pick one that works for you. Lots of people join without knowing others and the pressure to be there to support the team is enough to make you get to the court instead of the couch after work.
· Explore Local Sports Shops. Many local running stores actually sponsor free group runs. It’s just a matter of finding out when they are and getting plugged in. Places like Lululemon offer free yoga classes on Sundays, and often new studios have complimentary offers. It’s not hard to convince a friend to at least try something with you—then get hooked together.
· Hire a Buddy. That may not be the ideal situation but hiring a personal trainer to meet you at the gym is the ultimate motivation. But don’t just hire anyone. Do your research and find someone who is compatible with your personality and you can be friends with. You’ll enjoy your workout much more.
· Direct Invite. Chances are you don’t want to workout with the same person every single day. Pick a few folks you think would be interested and ask them to try it out. Most people are looking for an excuse to stay in shape themselves and will welcome the opportunity to be inspired by you.
Of course, you may not have a workout partner every day, but having them on hand for regular exercise is a powerful motivator. And it’s not just getting to the gym, it’s how hard you work and how long you stay. Without some added pressure, you may be tempted to sweat minimally or cut your workout short. A friend will encourage you to get it done with gusto and stay as long as you really need push yourself. One study found that couples who work out together had a 43% drop out rate, while those who stuck together had only a 6.3% drop out rate. That number says it all!
Don’t let lack of motivation keep you from treating your body the way it deserves. Take a proactive step today to find others who can share your intent to exercise regularly.
Ericka Andersen is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and a freelance writer working in politics, policy and social media. In her spare time, she writes about fitness on her blog, The Sweet Life.