Are you on time? Do you encourage and motivate? Do you pay attention to form and movement?
Being a good workout partner is more than just showing up. Your partner is counting on you. Your presence and your eagerness to work out may be your partner’s only motivation that day. They won’t tell you, but that is often the way it is.
Sometimes you’ll get a phone call or text from your workout partner right before gym time. It’s always a soft sell on why he or she won’t be able to make it to the gym. The reason is a small thing that’s not really important anyway. Like being too busy or no clean socks or the sky is too blue or the lifting gloves are in the other car. You’re a good friend if you tell your workout partner to quit whining and get to the gym.
You can help each other by expecting accountability. Tell your workout partner your goals. As a good gym buddy, keep your friend accountable to his or hers. If you see them checking out a junk food restaurant on Facebook, you better be the first one to post something that calls them out.
Likewise, send them an attaboy or and attagirl when they post a picture where they look great. "That dress looks good; all those lunges are paying off" or "Bro, you need to start buying bigger shirts."
You know when you do well, but it means something more when someone else tells you. Acknowledge your partner’s fitness gains and she will start seeing yours. You may even celebrate an achievement with a round of burpees. (If you don’t know what a burpee is, see my January article on training teens.)
Be knowledgeable. Do you know enough about the exercises you’re doing to watch your partner’s form while he takes his turn doing the exercises? Get with a trainer and ask about proper movement techniques. Checking reputable sites on the Internet also can be useful. If you’re performing a squat and feel your back hurt, then you might be doing something wrong. Your partner should be there to see what you can’t.
Encourage your partner. "Good set" or "Perfect!" is all someone needs to hear to stay motivated. People need positive reinforcement, especially from a workout buddy. Making workouts a time of accomplishment takes a little practice. Over time, you will create an atmosphere where genuine encouragement abounds.
You can challenge your gym partner with the exercises I’ve chosen today. The band row is simple enough, but be sure each other’s form is really dialed in.
Clapping planks are a good test of endurance. See who can outlast the other in an endurance drill. Speed up the tempo or slow it down to challenge each other.
Chris Huth is a Las Vegas trainer. You can contact him at email@example.com. Before beginning any exercise program, consult your physician.