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Workout Partner Pros and Cons

Updated on February 6, 2013
Is having a workout partner really a good idea?
Is having a workout partner really a good idea? | Source

Having a workout buddy sounds like an awesome idea - someone to force your lazy self out of bed, someone to make those droll exercise sessions less boring, someone to make you feel less like the ultimate loser (Yes! She can’t do a real pushup either?!). But is having a workout partner really all that it’s cracked up to be?

Here are some pros and cons for you to consider:

Pro: A workout partner can help to motivate you and keep you accountable. Sometimes we need someone to give us a good push to get us where we want to go. Workout buddies can hold each other accountable by working out regularly together and encouraging each other to keep going. When one feels lazy, the other may feel pumped and able to push their partner along. Working out in pairs is also fun, making exercise more inviting. Good company will make your workout time go by faster than ever, and laughing is great for the abs.

Con: If your workout buddy is a slacker, he/she may drag you down. Both partners need to be individually committed in order for a workout pairing to work. Otherwise, you may find yourselves convincing each other to sit down for a glass of wine or a beer more often than you will work out (some may consider this a pro). Equally troublesome, if one or both partners are continually cancelling, this will throw you off your game. Occasional emergencies will occur, when one of you needs to reschedule, but your commitment level should be such that if your partner needs to cancel, you will get your workout in solo. If a partner is constantly slacking off during a workout, more interested in talking than getting their heart pumping, this can also be detrimental to your fitness success.

Add a little healthy competition to your workout with a partner.
Add a little healthy competition to your workout with a partner. | Source

Great fitness options for partners:

  • Ballroom Dancing
  • Bicycling
  • Couples/Partner Yoga
  • HIIT Training
  • Kayaking
  • Kickboxing
  • Martial Arts
  • Rock Climbing
  • Running/Jogging/Walking
  • Tag Team Marathon Training
  • Tennis
  • Weight Lifting

Pro: A little healthy competition can help you improve. Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? Having a partner to challenge you in your workouts (whether out loud or in presence) will push you to improve. He can do 50 situps? You push for 55. She can run 3 miles? You push for 3.1. And a bet with frozen yogurt to the winner never hurt either.

Con: Differing abilities may cause discouragement or frustration. If partners are at significantly different starting fitness levels, the strengths of one may cause the other to lose heart. Watching someone excel as you fall behind can be discouraging and demoralizing. Similarly, the stronger partner may become frustrated in being held back by the weaker. Either situation may cause the partnership to fail.

Pro: Many forms of fitness lend themselves to teams. Acting as a duo can open an entirely new realm of possibilities into your workout. There are many forms of exercise that benefit from or require having two partners. Tennis, sparring, kayaking, rock climbing, couples yoga, tag team marathons, and ballroom dancing are all great for two. Without a partner, you may miss out on some thrilling adventures.

Con: If you and your partner don’t share the same interests, you may both end up disappointed. Trying out fitness ventures as a team only works if partners share the same interests. If one partner thrives on adrenaline filled action and the other prefers yoga and dance, they may have a difficult time coming up with a joint exercise regime that both enjoy. If compromise keeps both members from doing what they truly love, the pairing may not be for the best.

Two can be safer than one.
Two can be safer than one. | Source

Pro: There is safety in numbers. Your mom introduced the buddy system to you as a kid for a reason – a partner can help keep you safe. Your buddy may spot you in weight lifting or yoga, belay you in rock climbing, or pull you out of the lake when your raft takes a dive. Running, hiking, and bicycling are all safer in pairs than alone (especially for females).

Con: Sometimes a solo workout is good for the soul. At times, it’s best to get away alone and clear your mind to the sound of nothing but your shoes on the pavement. Working out can be therapeutic, and while this is true even working in pairs, there is something to be said for a good, unaccompanied workout now and then.

In conclusion, having a workout partner can benefit both parties involved if done right. However, discussing expectations with your partner and determining how you will work through bumps along the way can give your partnership the best chance of success. Have patience with both yourself and your partner as you grow in strength individually and as a team. Ensure that both parties are fully committed to working out with focus and consistency. Don’t take offence if one of you needs a solo session now and then. And if you find the partnership is doing more harm than good for your fitness, rather than letting it come between you and your partner, simply accept that you make better friends outside the gym than in it.

Have a clear set of expectations in place to make your partnership a success.
Have a clear set of expectations in place to make your partnership a success. | Source

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