Workout Partners

June 17th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

A great workout partner can be really tough to find.  You want someone who you enjoy spending time with, who can work out on the same schedule as you, who is in roughly the same fitness level, someone who has roughly the same goals for their exercise as you have for your exercise, and someone who is special enough that you don’t care what they think of you as you huff and puff by their side.  For me, I also require a workout partner to be someone who understands that sometimes I need to stop for a bit and eat some glucose.

Like I said, it’s a tall order and a tough combination to find.

I’ve had two really great workout partners, yet they could not be more different from each other in the way they exercise and they ways they have helped me exercise.

In high school, one of my best friends and I decided we should join the gym.  We joined the Y, went through the orientation on the weight machines, and went together a few times a week. 

We’d be on the treadmills next to each other and catch up on school that day, or whatever came to mind.  She would look over at me huffing and puffing, shake her head and say “why do you think running is important?!” and I’d look over at her walking along and clutching the display for dear life to stay on her treadmill (that she had set at the maximum incline) and shake my head and say “why did you set the incline so high you can’t stay on without holding on?!”

But we’d go together or meet there and know there was a friend at the gym who was on our side.  All the time.  If one of us got sick, the other one would still go, but it wasn’t the same.  Our workouts couldn’t have been more different, but we were still workout partners.

Belonging to the Y with her made me less self conscious when I went and helped me go more often.  I tried out a class or two, knowing she was there and would be supporting me even if she wasn’t in the class.  Sometimes the support involved laughing at what she saw the instructor had us do, but it was still support. 

It’s important to have support in all areas of your life, and exercise is no exception.

The other workout partner is someone I run with.  She’s naturally a much faster runner than me—she’s one of those people who looks like she glides when she runs.  I think it’s amazing to watch.  I often can’t believe she’s willing to run with me, but I see that she gets something from running with me, too.  I think she depends on me for my dependability—I’m always happy to discuss skipping a run, but I rarely actually skip it.  She knows I’ll be there even if she doesn’t make it that day.  I think sometimes that knowledge gets her out there with me.

I also don’t badger or think differently of her at all whether she is there or not—she’s my friend and my workout partner.  No judgments, no criticisms, just sweat and appreciation of what we each bring to the workout.

We ran together today and apparently had an unspoken pact that thankfully we only disclosed to each other after we were done:  neither of us wanted to disappoint the other.  (It is a trait we share– the thought of her disappointing me is frankly impossible yet she’s still concerned that she might just disappoint me somehow.)  When we got to a hill that we would have each walked were we running alone, we each thought the other one wanted to run it, so we both ran up that hill and kept going. 

I had sent her the route I planned last night, and today she made me stick to it when there were several times during the run I offered new plans that would cut the run short.  It was great today, but I know that if either one of us needed to walk for a bit, the other one would probably have walked too—or not—and it wouldn’t have changed a thing.

A workout partner can offer you a lot of support and understanding and simultaneously push you farther than you’d push yourself.  They are very hard to find, but keep an eye out—someone might just be looking for you, too!

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