Relax Mom, I’m talking about exercise.
Think about all the great duos in history. Do you think Lloyd Christmas could have made it all the way to Aspen without Harry Dunne? Do you think Derek Zoolander could have stopped Mugatu and created the Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too without Hansel? Hell no. How about growing up with your friends playing Contra on old school Nintendo. Without the code (yeah I know you can recite it from memory right now, good for you), that game was freaking impossible if you’re flying solo. Tag team it though, and those aliens don’t stand a chance. Exercising is no different! It’s better when you do it with a friend.
So you’ve made the decision to get in shape. Sure you’ll feel all motivated and excited for the first week because things are going great…and then it rains one day, so you don’t work out, then you have a rough day at work and you take the next day off…pretty soon you’re right back where you started. However, if you have a good friend who is going through the same thing you are, you can get through the rough patches together and make your lives better. Let’s talk about 5 reasons why you’ll be more successful getting in shape when you do it with your friend:
1) Accountability – When you decide to slack off and you’re the only person that’s affected by it, you let it slide. However, if you’re part of a team and you let everybody down, the guilt kicks in. Damn you guilt! When you work out and exercise with a friend, you won’t be able to skip workouts so easily. When you have a crappy day and don’t feel like going to the gym, your buddy can drag you there. When he’s having a bad day, you can drag him there. You’ll feel much better after the workout anyways! One of the most important things about exercising is sticking to a consistent schedule; work out with a friend, and you’re 76.5% more likely to stick to it (yes I just made that up, but it’s probably true).
2) Motivation – Think back to grade school, when you had to run the mile…you made it 3/4ths of the way around the soccer field and gave up. There was no motivation to go, nobody yelling positive words of encouragement – just Ned the bully making fun of your sweatpants. When you’re out running to get in shape and you have another mile to go, it’s pretty easy to just give up and call it a day because you’re tired. Rule #76 – No Excuses. Play like a champion! When you’re running with a friend or trying to crank out an extra five push ups, his/her words of encouragement will push you farther than you think you could go.
3) Spotting – I’ll never forget my first day in the gym. Other than looking like a jackass, I loaded up too much weight onto a bar and tried to do some bench presses. Definitely dropped it right onto my chest, and then one weight slipped off one side, which IMMEDIATELY put the bar way out of balance and the weight on the other side fell off too. Like a scene out of a movie, everybody stopped what they were doing to stare at me. Epic fail.
To avoid situations like this, work out with somebody else who can spot you while lifting. If you’re trying to gain more muscle mass, you make the most gains during those last one or two repetitions which are extremely dangerous when done by yourself. However, if you have somebody helping you along and motivating you (I see you #2) you’re more likely to get through the workout and get more out of your exercises. Also, with a friend spotting you, they can tell you when you’re doing an exercise improperly. Start good habits and good form on each exercise from the beginning, and you’re way less likely to get hurt from lifting improperly.
4) Share Information – Fitness is one of those great things where you’re always learning something new. Two minds are better than one, so think of how many more things you can learn with two people! You’ll be sharing information, workout tips, even good recipes (or phone numbers to good take-out places if you’re useless in the kitchen). Buying workout equipment/apparel? Might be cheaper to buy two and save on shipping. Buying a gym membership? Find out how much the gym will pay you for referring a friend and split the savings. Want to get a personal trainer? Ask what the rates are for two people at once instead of just one. Save money, get smarter, be more efficient. What’s not to like?
5) More FUN – Working out can get boring! Running can get dull. Sticking with your routine every day can get repetitive. And nobody wants to hear about how much you can bench or how many pull ups you did yesterday, especially if they don’t exercise. However, if you have a workout buddy, you can g-chat each other all day long about what’s the new plan at the gym and they’ll listen, because they’re on the same page as you. When you pair up at the gym, you’ll have somebody to talk to, crack jokes with, and somebody to listen to how crappy your day was (just don’t over do it). Besides, with your friend there you can have healthy debates like, what’s better, “the Shield” or “the Wire,” what the hell is “drinkability,” and if the girl on the treadmill is hot or not.
There you have it. Now, it comes down to what friend you want to pick. Pick whoever you want, as long as they’ll make you a better person in the gym. If you can find a friend who has already worked out before, even better…he can show you the ropes.
Whatever you do, don’t pick the smelly kid because you’ll pass out when he’s bent over trying to spot you while you’re doing bench presses.