Choose Your Workout Buddy

When it comes to working out, there are usually two types of people: those who prefer to work out with a partner, and those who prefer to go it alone.

Having a workout buddy has a variety of advantages. The choice of who you should share this time with depends on a few different factors. Be sure to consider these factors, as it is important. If you don’t choose your workout buddy smartly, you could find your gym visits suffering as your buddy will become more of a distraction than anything else.

Here are some key points to keep in mind when you choose your workout buddy.

The spotter

If you are someone who is constantly pushing the envelope, trying to go for your one-rep max or just simply progressively ensuring you are overloading your muscles with each session (which you should be doing to progress), a spotter is essential.

A spotter will be there for you if you start to falter during a lift, and could potentially save you from a very serious injury. Simply knowing that this person is there for you also offers a bit of a psychological advantage because most guys, when they know they will be “backed” by a couple extra hands, can actually lift more than they thought they could.

Don’t overestimate how much help you will actually be getting, either. When it comes to getting you out of a tight situation, a very gentle upward pull (using the bench press for example) will be more than enough to give you that little extra to hoist the weight back up to the top of the lift. So, if confidence and safety are your goal here, choose your workout buddy accordingly and find a good spotter.

The mentor

The next type of workout buddy that can offer a number of benefits is the “mentor.” If you are new to weight lifting and are looking for something to really ramp up your motivational levels, this is the partner for you.

If you’re on the side looking for a mentor, keep in mind that not everyone will be looking for this type of workout buddy relationship. Some guys really prefer to workout with someone who is on par with their current fitness level, as they personally find this more motivating to them since they can push each other, pound for pound. Others find that this type of setup works great because, for them, passing on their knowledge and serving as an “idol” encourages them to be all that they can be.

Just be sure that when you choose someone to be your mentor, you are choosing someone who knows what they are doing and isn’t naturally just overly muscular. While usually a muscle-bound body is the result of smart training and hard work, there are a few genetically lucky individuals who just had the right parents and may not entirely know what they are even doing in the gym — you don’t want to pick up on their bad habits. Choose your gym buddy wisely if you’re looking for a mentor, and make sure they are offering the right support and guidance for your specific training.

The socializer

Next, there is the complete other side of the workout buddy scale, applying to those who workout more for the social aspects they get out of it than anything else. When you choose your workout buddy it’s absolutely critical that you choose someone who also thinks this way — you don’t want to distract a more serious gym-goer.

The worst type of workout-buddy relationship to get into is where one of you really wants to get in an intense workout, while the other would rather spend more time hanging around, conversing with the odd set thrown in-between conversations. This mindset is slightly less common, as it’s unusual for a guy to head to the gym without a bodybuilding goal in mind, but make no mistake about it — every gym usually has at least a few of these talkative, chatty guys. So, it’s best for the talkers to pair up with each other; that way they won’t be able to distract the more serious gym rats.

The female workout buddy

For some men, working out with a female can be a terrific motivator for more than the obvious reasons. First, just being around a female can help to increase your testosterone levels, which then translates to you likely having a better workout session. Secondly, if it’s your girlfriend or wife you are working out with, this is a terrific activity for you both to do together that will help to strengthen the relationship, in and out of the bedroom.

Far too often couples get into the habit of doing more sedentary activities, coupled with more eating than usual, which results in weight gain. This, in turn, tends to lead to problems regarding attraction. So by choosing fitness as a common hobby, you are addressing the problem before it starts. On the other hand, some men prefer a male workout buddy since they tend to be shy around females, and will thus be distracted. The important thing is realizing what works best for you.

The professional

Finally, the last type of workout buddy that you might want to consider is an actual personal trainer.

If you’re new to weight lifting or are looking to take your fitness to new levels, this could be the best choice for you. Not only will you receive similar benefits that you would receive from a mentor (motivational and learning), but it’s also pretty much a guarantee that this person is putting their full effort into ensuring you improve at the gym — if they aren’t, they’ll lose their job.

When you look for a personal trainer as a workout buddy, first consider their certification. Check and make sure it’s backed by a respectable organization — you don’t want to be dishing out good money to someone who doesn’t really have a good grasp of exercise physiology and workout principles. Even better is if you can also find someone who has some type of nutritional training as well, because your workouts are really only half the equation, regardless of what your goal might be.

Then the second thing to think about when hiring a trainer for a partner is their availability. Depending on your needs, if you want to have them with you for each session you’re at the gym, you need to ensure they have enough room to accommodate you.

buddy up at the gym

So, whether your goal is to get cut, bulk up by adding pounds of new muscle to your frame or increase your speed and power, consider which workout training partner is going to be your best option.

Remember too that you don’t necessarily have to have just one partner — you can have a few. This is a good option because as life gets busy, there are times when you’ll need to miss your workout. If you are the type who really relies on that additional support of another person to get yourself into the gym, having another partner can work highly to your advantage and keep you motivated no matter what the situation.