Working out. It’s something I fell into originally as an extension from playing on organized sports. On the field we started with stretches followed by a run, and perhaps sprints, before we began drill and stick work. Off the field – in between practices, scrimmages, and games – we also hit the gym, my first exposure to a gym workout. We mainly lifted weights to build muscle strength, to make us stronger, faster and more resilient on the field.

The team comradely was fun. I enjoyed working out with the team. It made the time fly by and the tough routines more bearable! We’d laugh, cheer and edge each other on.

My team days are behind me now. Today, most of my sports are individual: tris, running, golf, swimming, skiing, etc. For these sports, I now have to be my own coach, my own cheerleader, and my own motivator to get in the gym and hit it.

About 15 or so years ago, while I was living in Connecticut, I was asked by a fellow co-worker if I’d be interested in running during lunch. I said yes and my first workout buddy was born. We ran just about every weekday – no matter what the weather condition was and no matter what kind of day either of us was having. She ran slower than me but further. I ran faster but shorter. So we became a great blend as we taught each other our best workout traits. Our companionship also made the runs more fun.

There are a lot of advantages to having a workout buddy. The number one reason is motivation. If the weather looks dreary, you feel lethargic or you’re just not in the mood, believe me, your workout buddy will make certain you’re at the gym, sticking to the schedule, or at the agreed destination for your planned workout. No ifs, ands, or buts. No excuses. End of story.

Well, not yet. I need to add some more benefits, such as sociability and safety on top of support. It’s safer to workout with someone. You have an automatic spotter during weight training in the gym and someone who can help immediately if you are injured inside or out. Having a running buddy is also safer than running alone, especially when the daylight is dim or the area is secluded or sketchy.

A workout buddy may inspire you to join a different gym, try a new class, or learn a new sport or activity. Your partner can point out any errors in your form and make certain you are getting the most out of your workouts. Together you get to do routines that require a partner or complete the same as individuals. You can participate in running and cycling events or be part of a tri team together. A good fitness buddy will also push you to work harder and inspire that all goals are reachable. The two of you can additionally diet together, keeping a food journal and sharing tips, recipes and newly-discovered secrets.

Yes, having a friend or relative to workout with on a regular, consistent basis can do wonders to your routine and help to keep you on target to achieving your fitness goals. A workout partner will help to motivate you more and push you past any barriers or dreaded plateaus. Strength is always in unity, especially when it comes to staying fit.

Be Fit. Be Strong. Be Well.