Why Going to the Gym with Your Friend is Hurting Your Progress (and How to Fix It)

April 16, 2018

On any given list of top ten ways to increase motivation to exercise, you can usually find the familiar, "Schedule a time to meet a friend for a workout," tactic. 





Meeting a friend for a run, choosing a time to go to the gym together, or hitting a spin class during your lunch hour are all examples of this.


But is that social time worth it if it is actually sabotaging your success?


Read on and see if any of these sound familiar...

Three reasons why working out with a friend is hurting your progress:


1.) You both aren't sure who is picking what exercises to do, neither of you wants to take the reins and seem bossy, so you waste a BUNCH of time awkwardly figuring out what do next while searching Instagram for a random hogpog of exercises or workouts to throw together and end up doing a bunch of Russian twists with a medicine ball.


2.) You want to carry on a conversation, or feel obligated to, and therefore work out at far too low of an intensity.


3.) You are at different fitness levels so you either WAY crank it up to match your friend, thus risking injury, or drop down to her level so that she doesn't feel bad.



I have taken part in all three scenarios and I have witnessed each as well, particularly #1.


It seems like you are getting your workout crossed off your list, but is it effective? Probably not.



The good news is, I've also had amazing workouts with friends and it IS possible.


When you can find that sweet spot where an incredible workout AND catching up/bonding with a friend can combine, there is no better two-for-one, especially for busy moms who are trying to keep up with their friendships while making time for their fitness.


My type-A, multi-tasking, checklist-loving soul loves these moments.


So, how do you exercise with a friend while moving closer toward your goals?


Three ways to workout effectively with a friend:


1.) Have a plan.  Whether you take turns coming up with the workout of the day or you follow a program written for you, do NOT wing it! Know what exercises you'll do, right down the sets and reps so you don't wander around figuring it out.


2.) Talk about when you're going to talk. Before going for a run with a friend, I always ask if she wants to listen to music separately while we run or if we should play some aloud. That way, it is communicated you will save the catching up for during the warm-up and cool-down when the work isn't as intense. If you are lifting weights, when you go to do your set, state that you'll continue talking during the rest time. It's a casual way to do it to be mid-sentence but then say, "Hang on, I'll tell you after this set," etc. and then chat during your rest. Same goes for during your friend's sets.


3.) Workout with friends who are at your own workout level or choose an activity where you can work at your own paces. For example, if you are super fit but your best friend isn't, suggest meeting for a spin class where your pace and resistance are your own choice and you can work at your own level. Or if you know that your friend isn't as in shape as you are, take it as an active rest day and enjoy a lighter pace. For example, enjoying a long, brisk walk together.


Living a fit and healthy lifestyle should enhance your life, and if doing it with a buddy makes it more enjoyable, try these tips!


Let me know if you do and how they work for you!



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