I have always been an active person. I ran track and played volleyball in high school, then I did rock climbing and attended Zumba classes in college. After graduating, I started working in a full-time job and gaining weight. Suddenly, I realized that I was not exercising nearly as much as I had in the past.
“It’s OK,” I told myself, “just get back into working out and things will be fine!” That thought began a failed series of YouTube workout videos, online running plans, gym memberships, and other fitness attempts. I even tried running with my husband. Each time, I ended up sitting on my couch with my dog thinking, “Man, I should be exercising right now.”
I mentioned my many exercise failures to my dad, and he suggested that we work out together. He was trying to get back into shape as well and thought some additional support would help. So, we did some internet searching and discovered a plan that promised to take us from our current state to running a 5K. In September of 2017, we embarked on our running plan and set our sights on a 5K in April of 2018. We met three times a week to run, and did our own strength exercises on two other days of the week. Despite setbacks along the way, like a surprise appendectomy for me, we made it to April ready to run. We successfully ran an entire 5K together. We are now looking forward to the upcoming fall Turkey Trot and working on a new plan with the goal of improving on our previous time.
Based on my experiences, here are some helpful lessons to help you stick with a plan of your own.
Having a workout buddy is great! But why did it work with my dad and not my husband? For me, it came down to fitness level and schedule. My dad and I work similar schedules and were starting out at similar fitness levels. My husband works different hours and is more fit, which made it difficult for us to find good times and appropriate workouts that would work for both of us.
When trying to find the right workout buddy, you should discuss goals, favorite ways to exercise, and schedules. Ideally, you want to find someone who has similar goals, enjoys the same type of exercise, is similarly fit, and is available at the same time. So, if you have a coworker who, like you, is looking to attend regular Zumba classes after work, then you may have found a workout buddy! Research tells us that having a workout buddy (something they refer to as social support) makes you less likely to skip workouts and more likely to stick with your exercise plan and meet your goals!
So, if you are looking to start a new exercise plan or need motivation to stick with your current one, see if you can find a good workout buddy! You may just meet your goals and have some fun along the way!