The drop in temperature isn’t the only thing changing this time of year. With the fall season comes back to school, back to work and football. For many high schools and universities, sport seasons are coming back in full swing. Yes, soccer and baseball may be coming to a close but that means the fall and winter sport seasons are going to draw many indoors to watch or participate. Many athletes, both young and old are now getting back to training and practices in preparation for March when championship banners are on the line. This means early morning workouts and evening practices to get into peak competitive form for when everything is on the line.
When writing this article I really wanted to emphasize the demand sport has on an athlete’s life, especially one in school or with a full time job. On that same note, I wanted to be able to relate the demand of working full time to that of the general person hoping to get back or stay in shape. In simple terms, it’s hard. I’ve mentioned this multiple times in previous articles and I will continue to do so. I will also keep emphasizing the importance of perseverance, determination and hard work. They balance each other out and what results is character. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. If happiness were easy, we would all be smiling too. The truth is that many people are not willing or are too scared to put in the work. Excuses plague society to the point where even the most simple of tasks get procrastinated or forgotten. It gets exceptionally easier to blow off the gym when no one is there to hold you accountable for doing so. This is an issue I feel can be solved rather easily, and here’s why:
Even the most self-driven people have days where the last thing they want to do is go train or workout. For an athlete, it could be the extreme fatigue lingering from the previous days or just the mental exhaustion of having to do it again. For the average person, it could be somewhat similar however I have found the number one reason for clients is lack of time. The truth is, we prioritize our time. I mentioned this previously, but if something is important to you, you find the time to do it. If working out was as important as something meaningful to you, you would find the time to do it. So what if you found someone who wants to get into shape with you?
I have found training partners to be an invaluable asset. The first reason is accountability. You are more likely to show up to the gym if you know that your friend is on their way to meet you. If you skip out, you feel like you let them down. The second reason is the support. During those days where it’s the last thing you want to do, your training partner can be there to pick you up and keep you going. You feed off each other to better your workouts. After so many weeks you start to notice improvements and you have a set routine that is now second nature. The third reason is the relaxed competition. Similar to how they build you up, you now want to show them what you got! You push harder on the last rep, you run a little faster to catch them and you flex a little more when they tease you. Research demonstrates increased performance when challenged by another individual during similar test exercises. This led to better results and a better workout. In other words, training partners make training an intense enjoyment.
Many people find it fun to workout with their significant other for many of the same reasons. It’s accountability, fun and many would even say a bonding experience. Couples that train together, stay together. It’s very common nowadays and has earned the name “Power Couple”. Now, I have also seen cases where couples at the gym tend to not work out as well as others. One partner may not be as into it as the other, maybe they felt forced to go, or perhaps thought it would be a great chance to catch up on the latest television craze. It is important to discuss the goals you both have if you decide to workout together. It will not only solidify a common reaching point but also make it that much harder to say no to a scheduled session. Just like other areas of a relationship, communication is key.
Another issue that may cause concern is actually the exact opposite of intensity. Both partners do less lifting in favor of more talking. There is nothing wrong in chatting during rest breaks or having some fun, but too much time doing nothing kills any momentum in your workout. Your body gets cold, your adrenaline goes down and soon you find any reason to call it a day early. What’s more is that you may even be distracting other patrons who are trying to actually workout. Don’t be that couple that sits there texting in the squat rack while some other user waits frustrated for you to leave.
Whether you are going with your spouse or with your best friend, having a partner to train and workout with you has proven to be best for performance. If you consider yourself a self starter or lone wolf, I would still recommend looking for a training partner. Try choosing someone with similar aspirations and a level of intensity that matches yours. It could really improve the results you’re after but if nothing else it holds you accountable. If misery loves company, having your buddy beside you on leg day may just make it bearable.