In a world where we need motivation & willpower to accomplish goals, meet deadlines and manage our lives without giving up, I would say having social support is important because it offers the motivation, ignites some willpower within you and for some reason creates a purpose to keep going when they want to give up.
Now, I am a lone wolf when it comes to working out at the gym and always have been; it doesn't bother me and I enjoy being on my own during my workouts -- but with this means I have to be my own motivation, be my own reason and have to embark on a journey that is hard because I don't have someone cheering me on in my corner, or someone to keep me accountable-- but it has made me stronger and has given me a bigger meaning to my health/wellness. However, some people prefer and need the social support when trekking on their fitness adventure (especially those who are new at the gym) because it can be intimidating and when someone isn't sure of themselves, they grow impatient and give up.
This post is going to list some things to look for if you are looking at adding a best friend to your workouts -- or need to find a class/group of people to workout with. Keep in mind, everyone has their own needs; so the list is generic but it will give you an idea on how to choose someone.
- Find someone on a similar journey as yourself (weight loss, gaining muscle, endurance athlete, etc) you want to bond with someone who matches what goal you have in mind for yourself -- it will be easier to connect with the persons
- Find someone who is wanting to give it their all -- you might not be someone who is good with being consistent so find someone who will be and who won't give up half way
- Look for someone who is empathetic, understanding, a good listener and builds you and vice versa. You don't want a negative Nancy partner or someone who thinks they are better or a know it all -- everyone should be trying to better themselves -- LAST thing you need is someone holding you back from your true potential because they are negative.
- Look for someone who has a similar schedule as yourself, the point is to have them be your workout partner -- they need to be held accountable and so do you, so if your schedules don't align then it will create issues and make it harder to keep each other accountable.
- Find someone with a membership to your gym or get a membership to their gym OR better yet, find a common area to workout where both are pleased with the environment. The experience should be comfortable and offer a sense of productivity, if you cant decide where to exercise, then how can you get started?
- Find someone close to your fitness level, not because you can't stay up with the best of them BUT because ensures that you won't feel insecure around someone who YOU perceive better than you, you won't feel intimidated and the workouts can be done together & nobody should feel hindered. this seems to be a problem when people find workout partners because too many times it turns into a competition of who is stronger, faster, etc instead of just boosting each other and being on the same level.
- Look for someone who you have something in common with besides fitness/health, so conversation isn't awkward -- fitness can be fun and one way to make it fun with your friend is to talk about life, hobbies, etc, and continue to build upon that bond in a deeper way -- so that it becomes more than a gym partner but someone who helps make you better and vice versa.
I hope this list was helpful, feel free to add your own tips/advice in the comments.