By Meghan Rabbitt
Being anonymous at the gym is a bonus for some people. But working out with a friend can be more fun. And more fun means more workouts. Here’s how your pal can give your fitness a lift.
Aside from making your workouts more fun, paling around the gym with a friend can improve your fitness, says Tony Stafford, a 24 Hour Fitness trainer and group exercise instructor in Boulder, Colorado. Use 24 Hour Fitness Bring a Friend Free days to see for yourself how you can take your workout up a notch by having a partner to challenge and entertain you.
Maintain your mojo
You’ve heard it before, and for good reason: Hitting the gym with a friend means you’re more likely to stick to your workouts—and less likely to get lured by last-minute happy hour plans. Plus, watching a workout buddy drop pounds—particularly when your scale’s not budging—can help you find the motivation to take it up a notch during your sweat sessions. “A little friendly competition can really help you push each other,” says Stafford. Another idea: Score on a couple treadmills right next to each other and do speed intervals at the same time. “Odds are you’ll both want to quit at some point, but you won’t if your friend is still going.”
Target tough-to-hit muscles
Do lower abdominal exercises always seem to elude you? Lay on the floor with your head between your friend’s legs, hands grasping her ankles. Keeping your legs straight, lift your feet so they’re at a 90-degree angle to the floor, then have your pal push your feet back toward the ground. Repeat, controlling the speed at which your legs come back down toward the ground, until your lower abs are fatigued. Bonus: Buddying up means your partner is right there to give you cues on your form.
Save money on personal training
Can’t afford to hire a personal trainer now that you’re on a tighter budget? Sharing the time—and cost—with a pal can make it feasible. Some guidelines: Pair up with a pal who’s at about your same fitness level and shares similar goals, suggests Stafford. “If one of you wants to build muscle and the other wants to lose weight, it’s not going to work as well as if both of you want to drop 15 pounds.” Also essential is making sure your workout buddy isn’t going to derail your good intentions. “You don’t want workout with someone who’s going to say, ‘Let’s go to the movies instead of the gym.’ You want someone who’s as goal-oriented as you are so you can catch each other on your off days and take turns motivating each other.”