A workout buddy is a wonderful thing to have. If they’re just a smidge stronger or faster than you, they’ll inspire you to push yourself just a little bit more. But it’s hard to find someone who’s at the exact right level of fitness and whose company you enjoy. The better solution might be to find yourself an accountability buddy.
In this partnership, you and the other person don’t have to be matched on any physical metric. You just have to share the goal of working out consistently, and keep each other on track. We’ve discussed this concept before with regard to your finances and working from home. It’s the same idea with fitness.
It looks something like this: you and your friend—or a small group of friends—agree on your goals moving forward, and how you’ll met them. Then you check in with each other regularly to make sure you’re all sticking with what you planned.
This can be a simple check-in by text: “I did my morning workout, did you?” Or you and your friend can agree to do the same workout program. Maybe you set up a Zoom call and do your workouts at the same time. Or maybe you just both hit “play” on an exercise video at the same time and talk afterward about how it went. The important thing is that you’re accountable to somebody. The two of you can encourage each other, and you know that if you don’t do your part, you’ll be leaving them in the lurch.
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Find someone who is just as motivated as you, or a little more so
It doesn’t matter if they’re stronger or faster than you. You’ll be connecting on a level of motivation and consistency, so pick somebody who will push you to do your best. That friend who is just a little better at getting up in the morning, perhaps?
If you tend to talk yourself out of workouts, don’t pair up with somebody who will just encourage your laziness. On the other hand, if you sometimes go a little too hard, pick somebody who will remind you of the importance of rest days rather than someone who will egg you on.
Where to find an accountability buddy
You might already be thinking of someone in your life who you might like to pair up with. But if nobody comes to mind, there are a few places you can start looking.
First, check fitness communities on places like Reddit (r/xxfitness and r/weightroom, for example, or find a group that caters to your favorite sport or activity). Sometimes people post in those groups asking for buddies or asking to form a small accountability group. You can also just start posting in the daily threads about what you’re doing, and chances are you’ll start to make friends that way too.
Similarly, there are forums out there for every sport and pastime. Peloton allows people to find each other and form groups and friendships, for example. Search Facebook for your location and your favorite outdoor activity and you’ll find fellow trail runners or rock climbers or like-minded fans of whatever you love to do. Another option is to look for Discord servers where people discuss fitness or the specific sport you’re interested in.
You can also use other social media platforms, like Instagram, to start posting about what you do and checking in with friends. Half the point of having an accountability buddy is that you have to decide what it is you want to do, and state those intentions out loud. The buddy is just an audience for you to speak to; your intentions and your commitment are really coming from within you.