How going to the gym with a friend can help motivate you...

It doesn’t matter how motivated you might be at the beginning of any new health and fitness journey, once the shock – good and bad – of the new wears off, it can be difficult to remain focused and committed to your goals. Additionally, life can get in the way; family commitments, new jobs, and especially new interests can take your mental energy, if not your physical. Before you realise it, an entire month of your gym membership has passed without you showing your face, even to use the sauna and spa... whoops!

Your gym might send you the occasional “we’ve missed you” or “let’s get back on track” email, but if they’re still getting your monthly membership fee, they’re not particularly concerned whether you return or not.

What you need is some healthy competition; and there’s no competition like a good friend. Although finding a healthy weight and improving your overall health and fitness shouldn’t be a race – and should only ever be undertaken at a pace that’s safe for you – there’s nothing like an actual physical angel (or devil!) whispering in your ear to keep you on track in the form of an exercise buddy. If you’re a champion at negative self-sabotage, either by not going to the gym, or not keeping to a healthy eating programme, your friends can keep you on track, even if it’s just commiseration at yet another salad on a cold day – you could always try swapping healthy recipes too.

You don’t even need to have the same goals to be suitable workout companions; all you need is a common commitment to getting, and keeping, fit. Exercising together can keep the boredom at bay. For example, one of you might be looking to increase their pace on the treadmill, the other to add another 5kg to a weight workout in any given month; if you keep each other motivated, even if that means physically dragging each other to the gym, you will achieve that. Especially if there’s an element of perfectly healthy envy at each other’s commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Chatting while you work out will not only make the time, but the distance pass much more quickly!

With a busy lifestyle, it’s hard to keep up with friends, so undertaking a gym regime together is good for your social life as well as your physical health. Before you undertake any new exercise plan, however, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor first, and to see a private orthopaedic specialist in Chelsea if there are physical issues you need to work around, or if you are in danger of overtaxing joints that may already be carrying deterioration due to arthritis or other concerns.

There’s considerable strength in numbers, so let you and your exercise companion help each other reach your goals. If you don’t already have a friend who wants to tag along, see if your gym will let you set up a buddy system to help everyone stay on track.

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