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Want a great workout buddy? Get 5 tips for a match made in gym heaven.

workout buddies

How can you make the most out of any sweat session? Find a workout buddy. Someone to work out with can motivate you to get to the gym and work harder once you’re there. But first, choose wisely. Not every friend is a fit as your gym soulmate. These tips will steer you in the right direction.

Tip #1: Opposites DON’T attract.

Just had a baby and training for your first-ever 5K? A childless, seasoned marathon runner — even if they are super nice — might just not “get” what you’re going through. We’re not saying you can’t make it work, but it’s much easier to get in sync — and stay motivated — if you and your workout buddy have a similar fitness level and goal.  

Tip #2: Look for a little healthy competition.

Studies suggest that you work harder when you’re in competition with a workout buddy, not just supported by one. That doesn’t mean some kind of ferocious, reality TV knockdown is necessary — just a drive to do a tiny bit better than she does. And she should feel the same. That will help you push each other instead of cutting one another too much slack.   

Tip #3. Beware of commitment-phobes.  

Before you even step foot in the gym together, set a realistic schedule. Commit to it and to each other. Talk about what happens if a work or family conflict comes up, then give buddy time a try. Red flag that your workout buddy is not “the one” if she’s cancelling often or changing your gym meetup time too much. Once or twice? OK, we all have stuff come up. But all the time? You may need to find someone who can be more consistent and reliable.

Tip #4. You should enjoy their company … but not so much you forget to work out.   

Sure, it’s important to have a buddy who makes you laugh and feel comfortable. But when you find yourself lounging on the mats and talking about work hassles, relationship issues, or kid stories, ask yourself if you’re getting a real workout or if you’re just having social time in your gym clothes.

Tip #5. Look for a willingness to try new things. 

That goes for you, too! Your body (and mind) love it when you change things up. That might mean swapping the treadmill for some weight training, giving different machines a try, or adding some ab exercises to your routine. It’s helpful if you have a workout buddy who’s open to jumping into the unfamiliar along with you. Being newbies together can give you the confidence to be adventurous.

And remember, just be yourself. There are plenty of workout buddies in the … gym.

Talking to a potential workout buddy doesn’t have to feel like a job interview. If you’re tempted to ask for a “workout resume,” you may be getting a little intense. But do check in about goals, schedules, and the general vibe with each other. Then get excited, get motivated, and get moving! Speaking of motivation, get help finding more of it here.