Buddy Up for a Better Workout

It’s Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you should skip your regular workout. In fact, working out with a partner today, and most days, will help you stay accountable to your weight loss goals and keep you focused on taking your fitness to the next level. Furthermore, studies show that people who work out with another person or in a group have more success at losing weight than those who don’t. Here are some tips for maximizing your partner workouts:

  • Count on you, count on me. As you exercise, enlist your workout buddy to help you count through your reps and focus on your breathing, exhaling on exertion and inhaling on the recovery. After each set, switch spots and do the same for your partner.

     

  • Make it a date. Schedule a weekly — or better yet, twice weekly — 20-minute interval walking session outdoors with your buddy when the weather permits. When you walk in intervals, you alternate short bursts of fast walking with periods of slower strides to catch your breath. Start off easy and work up to walking as fast as you can during each interval (and always include the recovery periods). You may not be able to chat easily once you work up to a superfast pace and increase the number of intervals you can do in 20 minutes, but you’ll enjoy your buddy’s company, and the fresh air as well.

     

  • Try something new. Too intimidated to sign up for an exercise class like Pilates or Zumba that you’ve never tried? Take along a friend! If you don’t have a gym membership, purchase a workout DVD that you can do together at one of your homes.

     

  • Have weekly check-ins. At the end of one of your weekly get-togethers, have a weigh-in and acknowledge your successes on and off the scale. Whether you’ve lost 3 pounds, worked out for an extra 5 minutes a day, enrolled in a new group fitness class, or increased the number of reps for your strength training exercises, recognize each other’s achievements.

     

  • Through thick and thin. If one of you lost weight but the other had a bad week, share words of encouragement and be a good listener if your buddy needs to discuss setbacks. Remind your partner that slow and steady wins the race, and brainstorm some ways that the two of you can work more exercise into the following week.

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