5 Ways to Work Out With a Friend or Date
Sometimes working out feels like a chore or a bore and we just aren’t doing it as often as we like.
If you’re in a slump or want to try something new, working out with a friend or date can be a great way to exercise and concentrate on something other than just your reps, time and how much you’re sweating.
Reasons to Workout With a Buddy
The buddy system comes with a bunch of benefits.
Setting a workout date with a friend or more-than-a-friend helps ensure you’ll actually exercise at that time and not flake out.
Even when you’re not working out, you and your exercise buddy can help each other perform better. Stanford University found that receiving a check-in phone call to ask about your progress every two weeks increased the amount of exercise participants did by 78% on average.
Research shows that having a partner (even a virtual one) can help you workout harder or longer.
Having someone next to you at a workout can push you to keep going, especially if you have an encouraging friend or date who likes to cheer you on. Friendly competition can also help.
With a partner workout, you don’t have to choose between hanging out with that friend you’ve been wanting to see, going on a date or working out. You can do both and feed your soul and body at the same time. Multi-tasking for the win!
“Research shows that simply doing new things together as a couple ignites the same circuit as does falling in love. By flooding the brain's reward system with dopamine and norepinephrine, mixing up date night can help those butterflies hang around a bit longer.”
Finding a Workout Date or Buddy
Think about what you want and what you’d like to get out of a workout with a buddy or date, as well as how you could be a good workout partner.
You might be looking for someone who can act like a cheerleader on a long run when the course gets hilly. Or you might be looking for someone who can meet you at the gym at 6 a.m. so you won’t hit snooze when the alarm goes off. Or you might want someone who knows his or her way around the weight room and can show you a thing or two. Any of those options, and plenty more, is fine, but you won’t find what you’re looking for if you don’t know what you want.
Since you and your friend or date can’t read each other’s minds and may have different athletic abilities or activities you like, talk beforehand about:
- What activities you each like or excel in
- Any physical limitations/injuries that may make certain activities more difficult
- Your goal for the workout—are you looking more for fun or for a hardcore challenge?
Find a workout you both like or perhaps trade off choosing workouts.
Workouts to Try With a Partner
We’ve already shared how time in nature is good for you, so get moving outside with a buddy. You can talk and catch up as you move (or not as much if you want a harder workout) and enjoy the great outdoors. Or go for a walk in a neighborhood near you where you can both keep a good pace. If all else fails, hit the gym and hop on a couple treadmills.
Take a class
Been wanting to go to yoga, Zumba, or spin more but it hasn’t happened? Or maybe you want to try that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class or CrossFit gym but have been too intimidated. Many gyms have free trial periods so see if you can try it out with a friend. You’ll get to share the experience with someone and have extra encouragement and someone to empathize with you if that new gym or workout kicks your butts.
Put together a playlist with some of both of your favorite songs and dance freely in your living room or an open space. Amp up the fun by adding a theme like 80s or 90s music and dressing accordingly.
Or take a dance class with your friend or date and enjoy working on your moves.
Go old school
Go to a dollar store or somewhere you can get some cheap recreational items and live it up like the days when you were younger and likely exercised naturally for hours.
- Get a couple cheap hula hoops and get to moving those hips. Set a time limit or see who can hula hoop the longest.
- Get a couple jump ropes and see who can jump the longest or jump for the length of a song.
- Get a simple piece of chalk and draw a hopscotch or two—remember those?!—on pavement and hop through it fast 5-10 times.
- Make your own workout circuit by doing all three of these things in a row several times and have fun!
Create Your Own Workout
Check out these 29 kick-ass partner exercises from Greatist and choose several to try with your partner. Try new ones every workout session or try the same ones for a couple workouts to see how you each improve.
(Thumbnail Photo: nd3000/iStock)
Jessica Hamlin is an LA-born and bred journalist and editor who started taking pictures of food back when everyone used film cameras. A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s health coach training program, she’s passionate about wellness and enjoys making and discovering delicious and healthy food. Her work has appeared in Clean Plates, NPR affiliate KPCC, AOL, and Eater LA.