Poll: Do You Exercise with a Fitness Buddy?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  84 comments   :  16,389 Views

Having support to reach your goals is really important. No man or woman is an island, and changing your lifelong habits on your own isn't just lonesome; it might even hinder your progress.

That's why a support network is so important. Being able to call a friend for a pep talk after a bad day, or simply share your goals with a co-worker can help you stick to your plan. There's something special about knowing that you're not alone, and that someone else understands what you're going through. Turning to your friends during a hard time can help you stay accountable. This holds true whether your goal is losing weight, eating healthier, or exercising regularly.

Recently I've been wondering: How many of you work out with a buddy?

While I have been active most of my life, I wasn't always a consistent exerciser. There were a few years in college when I was super stressed and depressed, several pounds heavier, and had a hard time getting out of bed, let alone getting myself to the gym. I was unmotivated and felt like I couldn't do it alone, so I called on my friends to find a fitness buddy. Unfortunately, even though various friends agreed to buddy up with me, it never worked out the way I had hoped it would. We'd meet up and exercise consistently for a few days, but since neither of us was very motivated to do it on our own, the second one person started making excuses, the other didn't object. After a couple weeks, I was back to square one: alone and seemingly powerless to work out on my own.

I haven't relied on a fitness buddy since those days, but I have managed to find my own motivation and willpower to make exercise a habit. Once I learned to enjoy exercise and stop treating it like a punishment for eating, I found activities that were fun. Soon, I didn't have to muster up all my willpower to get moving anymore. These days, I actually prefer exercising alone, aside from the companionship of my four-legged fitness buddy. (Research shows that dogs may be the best fitness buddies of all.) I enjoy taking fitness classes in small groups, and occasionally calling up a friend to go for a hike or run, but for the most part, I only count on myself when it comes to working out.

I don't think all exercise buddies are bad, but I think it depends on your workout personality—and how committed both parties are to exercising. If both of your lack the determination to do it no matter what, then chances are that buddying up might not help you reach your goals. If at least one person is already committed to exercise, he or she can probably help motivate you to stick with it, too. The lesson here is that even with a buddy, you still have to make the commitment. Your friend can't do it for you.

How about you: Do you exercise with a fitness buddy? Take this poll, then tell us below whether your experience with fitness buddies has been beneficial or bad.

Do you work out with a fitness buddy?

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    If I workout at work, I do workout with a co-worker. We walk twice a day and then sometimes head over to the gym to do either a long cardio session on the elliptical or treadmill. We also rotate days that we do weights. When I work out at the gym at home I usually workout on my own, sometimes with my daughter who plays basketball. But it is so hard to try to keep up with a 15 year old. That is my goal for 2011 is to out "crunch" her. - 11/27/2010   5:23:50 PM
    I take a short walk every day with a friend/co-worker at work, but I also work out when I get home from work. The walk with my friend is a combo of friend time and stress relief, but the real workout, the one I depend on, is the one at home that is self-motivated and self-maintained. Sometimes another friend will invite me to exercise together in the evening, and I always take up that offer. I bear the responsibility for my daily exercise, and when it works out to combine friendship and workouts, that's awesome. This attitude keeps me consistent and it encourages friends to get on the healthy path without my depending on them for motivation that must come from inside. Everyone has to decide for him/herself in order to be consistent with healthy lifestyle decisions. As a side effect, it's also very rewarding to see yourself having a positive influence on others. - 11/23/2010   3:55:45 PM
  • 82
    I like to do weight training and running alone. But once a week I play soccer and I have taekwondo class twice a week. Those activities have built-in workout buddies!
    Occassionally my husband will run with me. But I find that working out alone makes me feel stronger and builds my willpower. That way, if I can't make it to class or the game is cancelled, I don't talk myself out of working out... I just use it as "me time". =) - 11/18/2010   11:42:48 AM
  • 81
    I take classes with pals and have a workout pal for weight training. Keeps me honest! - 11/18/2010   10:10:52 AM
  • 80
    Would love to have a walking buddy, but living in the country, there just isn't anyone. I also worry about walking alone out here...asked hubby, but he isn't interested, so improvise by walking in our pasture which gives a good work out since it has hills to climb. - 11/17/2010   12:43:28 PM
  • 79
    Nope. Can't count on other people and can't find anyone to match my intensity. I'm kinda competitive and I want someone who I feel will push me and I them. I don't want to socialize until after I'm done. - 11/17/2010   12:42:23 PM
  • 78
    I am part of a dance troupe. While most of my exercises are solo but the motivation to be able to do more is what makes me keep it up. My troupe always notices when my skills improve. - 11/16/2010   1:36:24 PM
  • 77
    Just began trying to workout- more like motivating long distance with a Spark friend. - 11/16/2010   10:37:47 AM
  • 76
    Only time I like to work with someone is when I find someone to play tennis. - 11/16/2010   6:10:27 AM
    When I go each day for 5 k walk I love to have my buddy a great friend that we just chat all the way around. I also do Zumba which you can have so much fun with when you laugh along with others. Yes definitely a buddy person here, love the company! - 11/16/2010   2:53:21 AM
  • NAYNAY69
    I work out with my husband and it has made all the difference in the world to have him comitted with me. My buddies at work and even my own daughter just never worked out. I spent too much time waiting on them and a lot of time it was wasted time and wasted days when plans fell through. With my husband comitted with me we get off work and change and head straight for the gym each day. I love our routine and enjoy the new activity we get to do together! It really gives me something to look forward to. - 11/15/2010   9:27:38 PM
  • 73
    Yes, I rely heavily on my fitness buddy. I have partnered up with my sister (Thoms1). We have been able to give each other encouragement and strength. We have been on our fitness journey for 2 yrs and 4 months. Each of us has lost about 166 lbs. - 11/15/2010   7:33:27 PM
    No. I like my solitude on walks and in classes I just want to focus on form not being social. - 11/15/2010   7:12:16 PM
  • 71
    I've had fitness buddies in the past, but for one reason or another it's never worked out long term. For me, I find that I need to be able to work out when and how I want to, or else working out doesn't happen. Now, with food, most of my friends are good buddies. If we go out, we don't feel pressure to conform to the other person's eating habits. We can make good choices for ourselves. - 11/15/2010   5:24:40 PM
  • 70
    I wouldn't have time to work out with someone else. I've gone to the gym with my 20 yod often, but we do our own routines. - 11/15/2010   1:11:41 AM
  • 69
    I do a mix of exercise on my own and with a buddy. I try to go to the gym with my husband a couple of times a week, and we'll do part of our workouts together. I also go to the gym in the morning frequently, and those are solo trips. - 11/14/2010   7:43:24 PM
  • 68
    My 'workout buddies' are four-footed and furry. Their tails wag when it's time to do our aerobics. Can't think of a more compelling reason to don the shoes than that. (And they don't whine if my schedule changes...as long as we go). - 11/14/2010   4:01:20 PM
  • 67
    Like CHELSEAANNE8, I workout at Curves & have lots of "Buddies" I see there. When I worked in a school library, a friend & I would walk after school (and sometimes on our lunch break, but we only got 20 minutes). - 11/14/2010   2:39:40 PM
    My exercise "buddy" is my attendance at CURVES. I clicked an ad from SparkPeople for one free week and loved it! Going at the same time every time, I am now meeting other women and it is great. I feel encouraged and really enjoy it.
    Chelsea in FL
    Leader of "Sparking with multiple sclerosis" - 11/14/2010   10:10:19 AM
  • EVLOBOS310
    I would love to have a workout buddy, but I have few friends nearby. I live 25 minutes away from work and even further from the gym that we get free memberships to through our insurance. Fitness should be easy for me, but the distance/time it takes makes it hard. My friends live in town, so they have it a little easier. - 11/14/2010   8:42:24 AM
  • 64
    I am out while it is still dark riding my bike...no one wants to do that!! Otherwise I never know an exact time I am going to do something and an exact time makes me feel hemmed in - 11/14/2010   6:50:22 AM
  • 63
    Over the past year I have joined a local cycling club and have had such a WONDEFUL time hitting the open road with a bunch of cycling buddies! One particular friend inspired me to join her in preparing for and completing my first Century ride this past September!

    While I enjoy cycling on my own as well, I have to say cycling with others is a terrific way to connect with folks who "get it" when I talk about the kind of "high" I get from cycling!

    Don, Co-Leader of All Health Professionals, Laid Off but Staying Strong and Binghamton Area Losers SparkTeam - 11/14/2010   12:26:52 AM
  • 62
    Like alot of you, I prefer to do my cardio on my own. I crank up the iPhone tunes and can speed up or slow down as I need to. I love the time by myself and use it to sort out my own thoughts, plan ahead or just breath the fresh fall air! - 11/13/2010   10:39:02 PM
  • 61
    I like my own company I put on my mp3 and go for it. At the end I am on such a high from my music I like and the exercise - 11/13/2010   10:08:34 PM
  • SUSANGO123
    Nope, never had a fitness buddy. Once in a blue moon I have a friend go. But, I prefer to go on my own. Working out is about me and its my time and, nobody else's. - 11/13/2010   9:48:33 PM
    No, my workouts consist of riding my stationary bike and walking when I am able too. - 11/13/2010   8:04:49 PM
  • 58
    It can be difficult finding a partner with messing walking speeds, schedules, & general compatiblility. My dogs are ALWAYS in the mood for a walk, don't care if I'm talkative or not, don't mind if I stop to rest or not, and don't object to my music choices. I don't mind the idea of a human work-out buddy, but my 4 legged ones are certainly easier to deal for me! And they're definitely motivating--won't take "not in the mood" for an answer! - 11/13/2010   7:24:20 PM
  • 57
    I answered no but I used to. There have been a number of times a friend joined me on my workouts and I am open to that happening again. Biking with my younger brother this summer showed me the benefit of getting competetive.
    My three dogs are constant walking partners. I love working out on my own with ipod. - 11/13/2010   7:08:11 PM
  • 56
    I selected yes but the better answer for me is sometimes...there are certain fitness activities that I enjoy doing on my own and others with buddies. - 11/13/2010   5:16:59 PM
  • 55
    I would like a workout buddy, or at least a walking buddy, but so far that hasn't worked out for me so I mostly work out alone. I do have friends I sometimes walk with or play tennis or soccer with, but nothing consistent. - 11/13/2010   5:00:15 PM
  • 54
    love the silence - 11/13/2010   4:47:02 PM
  • 53
  • 52
    I hve a few friends that do the classes at the gym at the same time I do, but I don't rely on them to be there everyday I am. But we still encourage each other when we meet up. I enjoy the companionship, but definitely don't rely on it. - 11/13/2010   2:52:34 PM
  • 51
    My experience has been largely that people are quick to say they will work out with you, but they don't follow through. I've tried several times to get a buddy to work out with, but most of the time I just get disappointed. - 11/13/2010   2:43:32 PM
  • 50
    I prefer to work out on my own, that way I go at my own pace, a time of day that is good for me and I have no obligations to any one else. Same goes for shopping. I'm a lone shopper. :-) - 11/13/2010   12:48:14 PM
  • 49
    My fitness buddy is my husband. He is so AWESOME and so supportive! We always have some kind of friendly competition going and it certainly contributes positively to my day! My own personal cheering section and he makes sure I am consistent. I've got a REAL winner! - 11/13/2010   12:43:41 PM
  • 48
    We exercise at the pool, there are a lot of ladies there. I do go with two close friends, but other than the passing comment, we stay in our own area, and work out. I do notice a lot of women just come there and talk, my you could go for coffee and talk. It would be much cheaper. - 11/13/2010   12:15:39 PM
  • 47
    I'm not a fan. I have before, but I never get in a good workout because I'm too busy chatting! - 11/13/2010   11:50:29 AM
  • 46
    My husband & I work out at different times (he's an early bird for workouts & I go after work late in the afternoon) but we support each other in our efforts. Also we share another workout buddy, our Cairn terrier Scout who needs at least 3 good walks a day :) I'm also starting to make some casual head-nod friends at the gym....... - 11/13/2010   11:49:02 AM
  • 45
    My husband and a mutual friend workout together semi-regularly, and my husband and I work out together too. Sometimes we work out alone due to our schedules not coinciding, but it's always more fun when we can all work out together. - 11/13/2010   11:40:30 AM
    I don't have a fitness buddy. It wouldn't fit in with the way I workout. - 11/13/2010   10:21:44 AM
  • 43
    Billie and I exercised together at the fitness center 3 days a week. Our fun conversations made the time fly by. She went into the hospital on Oct 28th for surgery and died on Oct 30th. Her sudden and unexpected death has been really hard for everyone at the fitness center. The first day back was so lonely. I went out that night and purchased a CD player so that I could listen to audiobooks while exercising. Someday I may have another exercise buddy but until then, I will keep going with a good book and good memories of Billie. - 11/13/2010   9:59:08 AM
  • 42
    I run with my husband once or twice a week. He's a great running partner because while he did cross-country for 7 years when he was in school and has all the knowledge about form and endurance that I need, I'm the one with all the motivation. We keep each other going.

    Most days however, I exercise by myself. I like it this way. I loved taking Forza classes (I still miss them, but I moved far away from the studio that held the classes), but I actually preferred doing it with my "forza friends" over doing it when my "real life" friends were around. Don't know how to explain that one! - 11/13/2010   8:06:46 AM
  • 41
    Sometimes it is fun to work out with a buddy but I find I get more accomplished if I exercise on my own. That way I don't have to consider someone else's schedule or time restraints. I can just be in my zone and do my thing. I do love to take fitness classes though, because I can work out with a roomful of people. - 11/13/2010   7:30:56 AM
  • 40
    It was a little hard to answer the poll because I do exercise with a buddy some of the time and by myself a lot of the time. I find both of these ways to be important to me. - 11/13/2010   5:00:51 AM
  • 39
    I don't have a person that I work out with side by side, but I have a friend who has the same schedule as me and if we don't see each other at the gym then we give each other a hard time. We both prefer to go at it alone because our fitness goals are different at this time, but we keep one another accountable for making it to the gym to sweat it out. - 11/13/2010   12:31:54 AM
  • 38
    I workout with my husband. Sometimes, our schedules don't mesh, and I don't let that stop me from working out solo. I like spending time with him and getting exercise at the same time, though. - 11/12/2010   11:06:09 PM
  • 37
    I got my mother in law to join and she's started working out with me. My sis-in-law used to, but she wasn't driven enough, or didn't like me enough, to keep coming with me. There's a couple people in my classes at the gym i've made acquaintences with and it's nice to see their smiling faces. :) Sometimes, I'm just on my own, but it doesn't effect my workout at all. - 11/12/2010   10:32:12 PM
  • PRINCESS1682
    I workout with my two neighbors....it helps keep me accountable and not wanting to slack off. - 11/12/2010   9:18:32 PM
  • 35
    Nope, I exercise whenever I have time during the day, no time to call someone, no way to know just "when" I'd have time. I use an exercise bike at least 3 hrs. a day, not all at once, and when I walk, it could be at any time of day. Just not practical to call someone, and wait around for them. - 11/12/2010   9:07:54 PM

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