Doing things on your own can be HARD. If you’re working out at home, either by choice or necessity, you’re doing it alone. Without a coach or friend to push you and cheer you on.
Having a workout partner can make you accountable, provide support, motivation and a bit of healthy competition. A workout partner can increase your chances of successfully reaching your goals. The problem with that is, right now, so many of us are working out by ourselves because of stay-at-home orders or gym closures. Or simply because we feel more comfortable in the current situation exercising in our living rooms.
But all is not lost. You can still get the benefits of a workout partner virtually. An exercise buddy can give you the kick in the butt you need to get off the couch when you’re feeling lazy. Or cheer you on when you finish a particularly hard training session. Or remind you of your goals when you’re slacking. A workout partner can do so much for you even if they’re not sweating right next to you.
Here are a few tips for finding the right virtual workout partner:
1. Start with your “why”. You need to know why you’re doing what you’re doing and be able to communicate that to your partner. The best way for workout buddies to help each other is to know what’s motivating them. It helps if your virtual partner has similar reasons or goals for exercise but it’s not essential. Since you won’t be working out together it does’t matter if you’re doing similar programs. Just that you’re willing to support each other and check in.
2. Find someone you can trust and that you know will support you. Be sure to choose someone that will provide the kind of support you need. If you need a cheerleader, choose your co-worker that is always excited and happy to pump you up. If you need a drill instructor, choose your brother that is no-nonsense and tells it like it is. If you want to keep your goals private, choose your friend that is discreet and will keep you on schedule without making a big deal about it.
3. Virtual workout appointments. If you had a workout partner but can’t see them in person right now, consider working out “together” over Zoom or FaceTime. You can plan a workout in advance so you both know what you’re doing and then meet up to push each other. Another option is to join live, on-demand classes together. This can also motivate you if you don’t have a partner to meet up with. The instructor and other participants can help keep you going even if you don’t know them in-person.
4. Find a community. There are plenty of social media groups for every kind of workout program. I belong to several running groups on Facebook and follow a couple of running related You Tube channels. Obviously this isn’t as personal as checking in with a friend but it can still be very motivating and when you’ve been part of the group for long enough, you get to know others in the group and can chat through comments. Some groups offer challenges you can join which is a great way to stay motivated and feel like a part of the group.
5. Location doesn’t matter anymore. If you’re checking in digitally or live-streaming a workout or class together then it doesn’t matter where your workout buddy is. You can connect with friends or family located anywhere in the world. Take this opportunity to “train” with friends that have similar goals but maybe live in another state or country.