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September 25

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Partner Training Guidelines

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Training with a ​workout buddy can be lots of fun. It can help improve your program adherence and the quality of your workouts. However, to get the most out of partner training, it's important that you choose the right workout buddy.

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It goes without saying that it helps if you get on with each other. He or she doesn't have to be your best mate though - that can even work against you. Training with your best friend can be counter-productive since there's a good chance you'll spend too much time talking and not enough training!

Where to find a gym buddy

Where do I find a workout ​buddy?

If you'd like to do some partner training but no one springs to mind, try posting on Facebook. You could even try putting an ad up at your local gym. Or post on your gym's social media pages. You might be surprised at the number of responses you get.

You could even ask some of the staff or instructors who work at your gym if they know someone that would be interested. The chances are they will.

A well matched training partner will help both of you

A ​workout buddy with the right fit

Whoever you train with, it's important that you have roughly similar levels of fitness. If your partner is too weak to pass you the bar during bench pressing, or can't jog alongside you during a treadmill session, you won't get much benefit.

It also helps if your ​workout buddy is similarly enthusiastic about training. You don't want to expend all your mental energy trying to motivate them to turn up for a workout. Aim to find someone who lives reasonably nearby so you can both use a mutually convenient gym.

Find a workout partner who has space in their schedule or diary to actually train with you

Ideally, he or she should also share a similar degree of commitment and time availability as you. Arranging to spend time in the gym shouldn't be a problem. If you're trying to train with someone whose schedule is equally busy, but clashes with your own, that's a problem. Having said that, remember that you don't need to train together all the time. You can combine your solo workouts with just one partner session per week and still get great results.

Always have a plan that fits you and your workout buddy

Finally, if you wander into the gym with your ​workout buddy and say "What do you fancy doing today then?" the chances are that one or both of you will come away disappointed. You need to sit down with your gym ​partner first and plan out what and how you're going to train. Ensure that this workout plan meets both of your requirements and goals.

If you struggle with this last point, perhaps consult with an experienced PT. They should be able to offer you some guidance as to what and how to plan your workouts. In one or two sessions, you can have a whole program written up that works for both of you.

​Guidelines for you and your workout buddy

  • ​Someone you can get along with but not necessarily your best friend
  • ​Try social media, gym noticeboard or the gym staff to find someone suitable
  • ​Similar fitness levels so you can spur each other on
  • ​Shared enthusiasm between you and your workout buddy
  • ​Schedules that align and allow for joint workouts
  • ​Always have a plan - one that works out for you both
  • ​Consider consulting with an experienced PT who can help guide you with all of the above.

About the author

Paul Stokes

Paul Stokes BSc (Hons) is a Certified Personal Trainer, Accredited Sports Nutritionist, qualified Exercise to Music Instructor, Precision Nutrition coach, Massage Therapist and teaches 8 of the Les Mills Group Exercise programs.

He currently works in the Oil & Gas industry as a Wellness Coach, imparting his vast knowledge and experience to improve the quality of life of several hundred offshore workers.

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