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What to Know About a Gym Buddy

Reviewed by Mahammad Juber, MD on April 08, 2022

Working out can be a challenge. Staying motivated and sticking with your routine can be even harder. There are, however, many benefits of regular exercise, including: 

  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Better mental health
  • Better cognition
  • Reduced risk of diseases like cancer

If you’re interested in increasing your physical activity and working out more, you can look into finding a gym buddy. 

What Is a Swolemate?

A swolemate is a trendy term for a workout partner or gym buddy. It’s not just someone you see at the gym or a friend who goes to the gym. A swolemate is an accountability partner who helps keep you motivated and working toward a common goal. 

Having a swolemate can make working out more fun and keep you coming back to the gym. A gym buddy is someone who pushes you to reach your fitness goals and expects the same encouragement from you. A swolemate is there for you in the gym or on a run, and they’re also there to add a positive effect to your workout. 

How to Find A Workout Partner

Finding a gym partner doesn’t have to be complicated. When looking for one, look for someone with similar goals, schedules, and commitment. This person should make you feel better about yourself and your experience. A great gym buddy will inspire you to work out regularly. 

You can look for gym partners in your friends, co-workers, neighbors, or people at your gym. If you want to expand your search, you can join a social media workout app and connect with people online. Sharing your goals with them virtually can also help motivate you. 

If you’re used to working out alone, adding a gym buddy can help you change up your workouts. They might inspire you to work out harder or learn new things. 

Before finding a gym partner, you should do the following: 

  • Figure out your own fitness goals
  • Decide how much time you’re willing to commit
  • Talk to friends and family first
  • Try a session or two with a personal trainer
  • Ask your trainer about group training or recommended exercise partners

You can look for some of these qualities when searching for the perfect swolemate: 

Motivation. You’ll need a motivated partner. If you’re both lacking positivity and motivation, you’ll likely not end up at the gym. Find a gym buddy who gets you energized to hit the gym.

Similar fitness level. A workout partner who is starting at the same point as you will be easier to work with rather than trying to catch up to someone else. This is even more important if you’re starting running or cardio-based workouts. As a new runner, you won’t feel super motivated running alongside a seasoned marathon runner. 

Similar goals. Having a gym partner with the same goal in mind can help you push each other. However, having slightly different goals can give you interesting ideas and information to share. You’ll want to be roughly, but not exactly, on the same page as your partner.

Gym knowledge. When lifting in the gym, you’ll want someone with good spotter skills. Trusting your gym buddy will make you feel more comfortable when lifting heavier weights.

An honest, fun, yet serious partner. If you’re looking for someone to be your swolemate, you’ll want more than someone who wastes time in the gym. A good gym partner should be straightforward and honest with you. They should be comfortable telling you when you’re slacking and when you need to work harder, and vice versa.   

Similar schedules. Finding a gym buddy that operates on the same schedule as you is important. Whether you’re a morning person or prefer to work out after work, you’ll need someone who likes working out at the same time. This will make getting to the gym easier. 

Reliable. Getting in the rhythm with your swolemate will help you get into a routine. If your gym buddy isn’t showing up or getting to the gym on time, it can hold you back from working out. A committed workout partner will help you both reach your goals faster. 

Working Out with a Partner: Benefits

There are many benefits of working out with a partner. These include: 

  • Feeling more motivated 
  • Getting encouraged to work harder
  • Engaging in friendly competition 
  • Trying new workouts and activities
  • Exercising more consistently 

Accountability. Having someone waiting on you at the gym will motivate you to get there on time. It can also make skipping harder if you’re not feeling like working out. 

Fun. A gym buddy is a great incentive to get you into the gym, especially if you enjoy hanging out with them. Working hard and laughing hard makes the workout go by faster.

Variety. Coming up with your exercises can be repetitive. Learning new workouts from your gym buddy can help keep things fun and creative. This keeps you both from getting bored. 

Motivation. Having a gym buddy is like having a built-in motivator who helps you prepare for your workouts in advance. It can also help boost your performance while exercising. You’re more likely to commit to working out regularly, knowing someone else is expecting you. 

Friendly competition. Adding a competitive edge to your workouts can push you to boost your activities. If your swolemate is lifting 60 pounds and you’re lifting 50, you might be more motivated to get on their level.

Safer. Whether you’re lifting heavy weights in the gym or running outside when it’s dark out, having a partner can make working out safer. 

Celebration buddy. Achieving goals can feel pretty sweet when you set goals and work hard to reach them, but it’s even sweeter when you have a partner who’s worked just as hard as you toward the same purpose. 

One study has shown that working out with a partner can increase how long you exercise. Because your gym buddy is meant to motivate you, having them around can help you work harder and longer than you would on your own. 

In the same study, researchers found that the effectiveness of your workout could also be improved. This happens when you pick a gym buddy you perceive to be a better performer than you. When you feel like you could be holding your partnership back, you’re more likely to work harder. 

Exercises to Do with a Gym Buddy

You and your swolemate don’t need to be confined to the gym. There are all kinds of activities you can do with a partner. Some to keep in mind are: 

  • Walking
  • Running or jogging
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Pilates 
  • Tai chi in the park
  • Hiking
  • Biking around your neighborhood

Show Sources

SOURCES:

ACE: “Everything Is Better Together: Why You Want a Workout Partner.”

Annals of Behavioral Medicine: A Publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine: “Aerobic exercise is promoted when individual performance affects the group: a test of the Kohler motivation gain effect.”

Better Health Channel: “Exercise with a friend.”

CDC: “3 Reasons to Work Out With a Friend.”

City of Hope: “Wellness Wednesday Tip: Find a Workout Buddy.”

Fitness Advisory: “WHAT MAKES A GREAT GYM BUDDY.”

Intermountain Healthcare: “7 Reasons Why Exercise is Better with a Buddy.”

nifs: “5 Reasons to Get a Workout Buddy: Motivation & Accountability.”

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