When starting on a fitness journey, we’re often told to get a workout buddy. We’re told that a workout buddy will help us stay committed, will get us through the difficult days and most importantly — will hold us accountable.
But what happens when your gym buddy is just as lazy to go to the gym as you are — for the fourth day in a row. Is that someone who’s helping or hindering your cause?
What we’re getting at here is that not all gym partners are made equal. Some will make you stronger and others will slow your progress. *Siri, please play Karyn White: I’d Rather Be Alone*
We asked Human Movement Specialist and founder of Healthy Living Consulting, Ronald Abvajee, to offer his insights on the signs to look out for that could indicate that your workout partner is not good for your fitness goals.
A partner who’s never on time is a partner to consider letting go. “We know that traffic and all kinds of other things can hamper punctuality, but if it becomes a persistent issue that has been addressed but continues to happen, then it might be time to cut ties,” Abvajee advises. He adds that time wasted = results unachieved.
2/ Do you even like each other?
It’s possible to like someone in one space and not like them in another. This can sometimes happen with your gym partner. You guys might get along everywhere else, except for the gym, and if this is the case, a lot of time will be wasted arguing.
“Your gym partner is like your fifth most intimate relationship. So make sure to find someone who you actually like,” Abvajee says. “You don’t want to spend 10-minutes every single day arguing about whether to start with cardio or benchpresses.”
3/ Social butterfly
If your gym partner can’t pick up a dumbbell or get on to the treadmill without you having to take a boomerang of her – every single time – they are not helping you progress in your journey.
“If your gym partner is constantly on their social media or generally socialising around the gym throughout most of your sessions together, they are wasting your time,” Abvajee warns. At this point, you are working out alone, and also sacrificing a lot of time snapping pics – it would be in your best interest to cut that gym-lationship off.
A gym partner is meant to challenge you so that you can break through thresholds – but they are not supposed to compete with you.
“Because gym partners often have similar goals, one might start to become overly competitive in a way that hinders the progress of both parties,” Abvajee explains. “A little competition is healthy, but when it starts to jeopardise your workouts, it’s time to cut ties.”
5/ Too chilled
If you don’t want to end up running the same distance on the treadmill for the next 10 years, then you should make sure that you don’t have an overly complacent gym partner.
While you don’t want someone who’s too competitive, the opposite end of that scale is not good either. It’s about finding someone who can meet you in the middle.
6/ Different fitness goals
If you and your gym partner have different fitness goals and it’s literally a chalk and cheese situation, then your partnership won’t work as efficiently as you’d like, so you should probably part ways. There’s a but… “If you need someone to support you with strength training, but their goal is fitness and toning and yours is muscle-building, they can still support you with a bit of strength-training. It just means that they’ll spend more time on cardio while you do something else, but you can find a way to get your routines in sync.”
7/ Different fitness and strength levels
When you and your partner are at different levels of strength and fitness, it can become quite frustrating for both of you. As the weaker one, you’ll constantly feel like you’re being pushed too hard and too far. And as the stronger one, you’ll constantly feel that you can’t grow because you have to keep up with the slow-poke you chose. But Abvajee doesn’t recommend a full-on break up here…
“My advice is to put your gym partnership on pause while you build up your fitness and strength so that when you guys are at similar levels of strength and fitness, you can come together again.”