When Mona Khan wants to give up on her work out, her friend chimes in with “sweating for the wedding!”
Biology senior Khan is on a mission to get fit for her wedding in December. She said having a workout buddy has given her the motivation and accountability she’s needed to work out three times a week for 30 minutes after class.
Students may ask a best friend, classmate or significant other to be a work out buddy, however it’s important for these workout partners to do research and workout safely while developing this relationship.
The right work out buddy
Khan said many of her friends are willing to go out to eat but she said not every friend is as willing to make the commitment to be a gym buddy. Students have to find someone who will push their limits, she said.
It has to be someone that will hold you accountable, said Lexius Anderson, Maverick Activities Center personal trainer. The civil engineering junior said a good work out partner won’t “let you off the hook” easily.
“Having people with goofy personalities like myself definitely helps,” Anderson said. “We don’t want to call anyone dry or plain, but a workout buddy should have enough energy to keep the other going.”
It also helps to have similar goals, Anderson said. It’s not necessarily a deal breaker if workout buddies are seeking different results, as they can modify the workouts, but it’s important to acknowledge. Someone who is looking to gain muscle and someone looking to lose weight would have to follow very different workout routines.
Research and getting started
Pairs with minimal workout experience can attend group exercise classes at the MAC, Anderson said. There they can learn the basics like push-ups, sit-ups and squats. Once they learn the technique, they can mimic what they learned in class with each other, she said.
MAC personal trainer Michael Sears said the machines at the gym are a great way for partners getting started at the gym. The Kinesiology sophomore said machines isolate muscle groups, and the ones at the MAC have a template on each machine that shows the student what to do. The workout buddy can look at the template and make sure the partner is doing the exercise correctly.
Both Anderson and Sears agreed that students should do research outside. Khan said that her and her buddy looked to Instagram and Pinterest to get workout ideas.
Khan said they found a full-body workout routine that splits different body groups into different days.
The most valuable part of having a workout buddy is having someone critique form, Sears said.
“You’re getting one of the most important things about personal training, and that’s the safety cues,” he said. “Your safety cues and your form are paramount to fitness.”
Ideally, workout buddies will run together, one will critique the other’s first set of an exercise, they switch on the second set and they perform the third set together.
“Even if you’re struggling, your body listens to you,” he said. “So if you say pick it up, your body will pick it up. Your body doesn’t care how you pick it up.“
To have that person there to point out that the other person is shaking, should take a break or is doing something incorrectly is important.
Make it fun
To make a work out more fun, Anderson recommends for the workout buddies to collaborate on a playlist.
“When your favorite music comes on you tend to go a little harder in those exercises,” she said.
She also said having a workout buddy means more than just working out together. It means celebrating and rewarding a successful workout with “cheat dinners ” and Netflix binges too.