5 tips for successful partner fitness training

Having a workout buddy can do wonders to improve motivation and accountability. No doubt about that. There’s nothing like knowing that somebody is waiting for you at the gym to ‘encourage’ you to get off the couch and into your exercise clothes.

Other benefits of  partner fitness training?

  • it’s an efficient way to combine workout time with social time
  • you’ll never have to search the gym for a spotter
  • having a common goal can strengthen personal relationships
  • hiring a personal trainer is often less expensive when there are two of you

But not all fitness partnerships work out.

When fitness partnerships dissolve, it’s typically due to differences between partners in commitment, ability and temperament.

Want to increase the odds of having a successful partner fitness training experience? Follow these 5 tips!

  1. ensure that both partners are equally committed. It sounds simple, but all too often, workout buddies differ in their inherent level of commitment. It’s no fun being stood up at the gym (or anywhere else, for that matter). If your partner is late for your workouts, is negative about exercising, or frequently cancels at the last minute, it might be time to re-evaluate the relationship.
  2. common fitness goals work best. If your primary fitness goal is weight loss and your fitness partner is hoping to shave minutes off their marathon time, the workouts that each of you need to do to achieve your respective goals are strikingly different.
  3. aim for similar fitness levels and abilities. When partners have very different fitness levels, the fitter individual almost always feels under-challenged, and sometimes, becomes resentful of being held back. These dynamics can spill over into your outside-the-gym relationship.
  4. save the coffee chatter until after the workout. While the social aspect of having a workout buddy can make exercise more enjoyable, don’t undermine the effects of your workout by talking the entire time. Warmup and stretching times are great for chit-chat; the rest of the time you should be working 🙂
  5. take turns being the trainer. If you and your fitness parter are equally committed to training, share a common fitness goal and have similar fitness levels and abilities, chances are you’re also equally knowledgable (or equally not-so-knowledgable) about exercise. Take turns mapping out your workout sessions, ensuring that you both remain equally engaged in the training relationship (and avoiding the teacher-student mentality)

P.S. Need to find a fitness friend? Group fitness classes are a great way to meet like-minded people; you may just find a fitness partner there!

Do you have a workout buddy?

How has partner fitness training benefited you?




  1. I agree with every.single.point.
    Ive trained with my now-husband for close to 19 years.
    when we dont train together (and there have been huuuge stretches of months) I train solo 🙂
    MIz recently posted…SOCIAL MEDIA EXHAUSTION.My Profile

    • You are very lucky. I can’t imagine training with my hubby. He likes to do things HIS way (and tends to forget that people actually PAY me for my advice…)

  2. Really great tips Tamara! Biggie is to have those similar goals so the workouts can be geared that way AND YES it does not always work out. I have only trained with a partner when I was training for my bodybuilding contests. Other than that, always a lone work out person which I prefer since I do things so differently & always changing to meet what is right for me. 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…Gratitude Monday, Cooler Weather & LifeMy Profile

    • You’re like me Jody. I’m either teaching/participating in a very large group, or going it alone in the weight room! (I don’t like to be interrupted when I’m working out either…)

  3. I want a workout buddy so bad! I have some friends at CrossFit who do the same classes as I do occasionally, but I want someone who is as committed as I am and that is hard to find. Not too many people are crazy about 5am classes lol
    Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer recently posted…Weekly Workout RecapMy Profile

    • How about a ‘wanted ad’? Maybe on the bulletin board at your box. You never know who else might be looking for just the same thing!

  4. I WISH I had a workout buddy! My problem is nobody wants to meet me at 5:15 a.m. for my morning workouts 🙂
    Erica {EricaDHouse.com} recently posted…Out with the oldMy Profile

  5. I agree completely!!! I had a running/fitness buddy but unfortunately moved away from her!! I’ve found a running group which I love…they have made me so much stronger and faster!! I would still love a person to do weights with!

    • Does anybody in your running group want to start lifting with you Nancy? You could tell them how much it will improve their race time…

  6. i love working with a partner because i never skip the gym/run because I don’t want to let them down. .You can always learn from the other person too! Plus it makes time go by way faster!

  7. I prefer to workout alone, which may be why I like DVDs and workalong vids. I have learned to like runnning with my husband, and we do occasionally workout together… but I would RATHER do it alone.

    In the past I have joined classes and gyms with girlfriends and for a short commitment of a few weeks I think it is okay for me.

    I think you have made some really good points here.
    Elle recently posted…Apple Cinnamon Omelet – A Twist on a ClassicMy Profile

  8. I have a walking buddy – my sis. We are very compatible for this activity. As to training, I actually like to work alone, probably because I spend so much of my gym time with many people. Oh, one more thing about working w/ a partner – if one has a sense of humor and the other doesn’t – might not work out.
    AlexandraFunFit recently posted…Don’t Be a Pretender: Protein Satiates AppetiteMy Profile

    • Ha! Are you speaking from experience (oh humour-full one)?
      Maybe you and I could try lifting weights together next winter. I promise to laugh at your jokes just as long as you don’t chat too much between sets!

  9. Great tips! I’ve loved working out with friend off and on over the years. It’s a great way to push yourself a little harder – and you can always do more with a spotter!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Work It Out – Drop SetsMy Profile


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