Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Find a Friend, Make a Friend, Convert a Friend

Do you know one of the best things that can REALLY make a difference in your health and your weight loss.

A friend.

A partner in crime. It's amazing how people are so social, they'll go to movies with friends, go to dinner with friends, go shopping with friends, go drinking with friends, and even go on vacation with friends but they'll go work out all on their lonesome. I'm not saying you can't workout on your own, I've done it for years, but in that beginning process when you're trying to change your habits, and get into that healthy routine you're going to hit some bumps, you're going to get bored, you're going to get frustrated, you're going to start looking for ways to go back to your old habits. You're going to try and watch 24, Lost, and American Idol instead of hitting the gym, I know it, I've seen it time and time again. You're working out consistently for a few weeks, you roll your ankle on a run, or tweek something in your shoulder or you just have ONE HELL OF A DAY at work, or even in your personal life and your ass hit's that couch, you hit that remote and BAM!!! You're brain is comfortably numb. No thinkin, just watchin explosions, riddles, crazy plot twist, one liners, and train wreck singing. Oh joyus day it feels so good. Yum! The problem is the next day, when you come on home, think about that injury from the day before or that tough day at work or home, and go "hmmmmm, I wonder whats on" Well buddy thats when a friend comes in handy.

When you get a workout partner you have someone can share a goal with, someone who's in the same boat, going towards the same objective, and the beauty is you is you become that much stronger. That's why serious mountain climbers always work in groups. They know their chances of succes are so much higher if they have someone they can lean on, someone who can support them and at times someone who can motivate them. Let me give you a in the gym example. Person A walks into the gym on their own with the intent of doing 20 minutes of cardio and 40 minutes of weights and resistance training. Now on their own they hop on the treadmill, elliptical, stairclimber, or recumbent bike, and search for something on tv while they set their mind on that 20 minute goal. Boom cardio done, they hop off and hit the weights, going through whatever routine they have setup for that day (usually the same thing over and over) and their out of the gym on the way home. Good for that guy or gal. If you can do that all on your lonesome day in and day out then you're in the top 5% of achievers. But lets take a look at what happens when you have a friend/workout buddy. You meet your workout buddy at the gym (that way if their late you have more time to stretch or maybe even start the whatever the first part of the workout a little early and get a few extra reps in/a few extra calories burnt). You guys decided to do 20 minutes of cardio to get the blood pumping, you hop on your treadmill, bike, elliptical, stair climber, and get to it. However now instead of looking for something on tv you've got someone right next to you in the same mode and in the same zone, and that's incredibly poweful. Without even realizing it you'll start pushing yourself harder and harder. Friendly competition will pop up. Even if you're friend is LIGHTYEARS ahead of you in running you'll push yourself a little harder to keep up, you'll be inspired by what their doing, you'll literally be sucked into their run (this happens to me every time I go running with someone). Instead of trying to find something to watch on tv as you grind through the 20 minutes you'll find find yourself getting energized and motivated by the "shared burden/task". We all have that "if he/she can do it, I can do it" somewhere inside of us, and this helps bring it to forefront where we can really utilize it for our success. Ok 20 minutes later, cardio is over, and GUARANTEED, you pushed harder, and ran further and faster with your training buddy than you would have on your own.

Now lets go hit the weights. Now with a training partner this REALLY helps. You've got someone to spot, and watch your form which means you can lift more weight safely, and get better, faster results. You also have a second mind and set of eyes looking for new additions to the workout so you don't fall into a rutt of doing the same thing every time your in the gym (a huge motivation killer along with taking you right into a improvement deadend as your body adapts to the workout and you start seeing weaker and weaker results for the same time and effort put in). Another great thing about working out with friends is the stress relief, in between sets you can talk about whats stressing you, whats making you happy, and what your goals are and why you're committed to getting them (something you can never do to often). Now those are all great reasons, but I'm sure you're thinking. I still have to get my sorry ass into the gym and that's where I screw up. Well with a workout buddy, why can't you workout out at their place or yours, or meet somewhere in the middle. Ok OK, maybe that's not what you were talking about. Maybe you're talking about that motivation to go workout before or after another long hard day in the proverbial "coal mines". Well when you set a time with your workout buddy to meet that adds something special to your workout out motivation. It adds another level of accountability. People often do things for others they won't do for themselves. We always find it much easier to lie to ourselves especially when it's a comfort lie, something that lowers our personal standards and gives us a "break/day off". Well with that workout buddy, you might come home from work tired, and dead set on catching up on Lost, but in the back of your mind you know you made that commitment, and you know you don't want let a friend down, especially one who's been helping you reach your goals. On top of that, you don't want to look them in the eye the next day or even the next week and try to give them that sorry excuse "I was just really tired that day, and I thought if I yadda yadda yadda it wouldn't make any difference" Well it does, because like everything exercise is a habit, and like everything the more consistent you are, the faster and more considerable your results/rewards. However lets look at the opposite side. Lets say you're tired, you drag yourself to the gym/park/whatever and your workout buddy doesn't show. Well what happens then. Well you're already there, so you start you warmup waiting, for him, maybe you get a text and gripe a little, hit your cardio, probably muttering something under your breath about your workout buddy. Go hit the weights with a few more mutters and maybe because of your disappointment you only get in a 80% workout over your usual partner charged workout. Well you know what, THAT'S BETTER THAN NOTHING, and with obesity such a huge problem in this country that's INCREDIBLE!!! Why? Because with the accountability/guilt of having a workout buddy you made it to the gym on a day you wouldn't usually, you worked out and improved yourself as only you can. You did something to change your life for the better. However working on your own, you would have come home from work, given yourself a excuse as to why you don't need to workout today, hit the couch/lazy boy, and let yourself backtrack into your old habits, and believe me. All it takes is a few of those days to TOTALLY DESTROY ALL YOUR HARD WORK!!! A few "I'm to tired" days in one one month and next month you'll be two exhausted to even THINK about working out, but on the other hand you will be caught up with lost, American idol, and 24.

So in short

Get a workout buddy/training partner. Add some accountability, encouragement and motivation to what you want and you'll get it a lot faster.

Where can you find a workout buddy, well... EVERYWHERE, your current friends, and if their to lazy, look around work, maybe approach that guy or girl you ALWAYS see at the gym the same time you're there and see if they're looking to jazz up their workout and get some help and motivation. If that doesn't work use the internet. If you can find clothes, cd's, and a new place to live online why not a workout partner. Put a post on Facebook, Myspace, or craiglist. You can even checkout it's like Myspace for workout buddies. You just list what you like to do, from aerobics, boxing, cycling, dancing, bodybuilding, Olympic lifting, to step classes, and then just enter in your zip code and you're off.

So get out there and make some friends and realize the number one thing standing in your way is YOU!!! and times like that is when you need someone else.

Train Smart
Train Hard
Train Regularly
Make No Excuses

Yours in health,

Dave Carter

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