For a long time, I've loved working out. A sweat sesh a day wasn't a chore - it was my favorite part of the day. My "me" time.
I had goals, I made progress, I learned a ton. I challenged myself to go faster, to run longer, to get stronger. But recently I've been discouraged to find that my trips to the gym left me feeling uninspired, frustrated and just plain bored.
Leaving the gym used to make me feel like I had just kicked ass and was ready to go out and conquer my day. Even if life and NYC were making me feel a bit small and beat down - in the gym I was on top of the world. But these days, I feel like I'm in a rut that not even dumbbells and burpees can lift me out of.
Throughout this rut I've gone back and forth between "just push through, it will get better, just go, you won't regret it" and "my bed sounds like a better plan than another disappointing and un-enjoyable workout."
If you've ever found yourself floundering on the fitness-front, I have a game-changer for you and I'm calling it the WEIGHT DATE.
Don't worry - this has nothing to do with setting weigh-in dates or a weight loss challenge.
It has everything to do with finding a badass lady friend to be your motivator if you're struggling to motivate yourself.
There's certainly something to be said for solo time at the gym - you can get in the zone, focus on the exercises that you want to, go your own speed, and get that quality "me" time that we all need.
But nothing has shaken up my fitness routine and put the fun back in my gym-time in the past few months like the workouts I've done with a friend. Here's why.
If your weight date is going to be at the gym at 7:00 a.m. - she's counting on your to be there too. Knowing that you're letting someone else down if you hit the snooze button is a major incentive to get out of bed in the morning.
And if your workout is scheduled at the end of the work day - that can be even harder to show up for. But it's better when, again, you know there's someone waiting for you.
2. That Extra Oomph
My biggest problem recently was that I left the gym feeling like I just hadn't pushed myself. I hadn't put in a big enough effort and as a result, I felt completely unsatisfied. Sure I had gotten myself to the gym, but I took shortcuts and that really bothered me.
I wasn't doing a good job embracing discomfort, and that's something that you have to do at the gym. It's not supposed to be easy.
If you're like me, a little bit of competition goes a long way. While my weight date and I are certainly not competing, we are pushing each other and that has been HUGE for me.
"Let's do 12 reps!"
"Well, I usually do 10 but I guess I'll try 12!"
"If she can do :45 of mountain climbers, I guess I'll try to do :45 too instead of my usual :30!"
Competition is the wrong work - we're working together to push ourselves further.
That being said, being comfortable and communicating with your workout buddy is key. Many times I've had to say, "there's no way I can do that exercise with the same weight as you, I need to drop down 10 pounds." Heck, I'll even do things unweighted while my weight date busts it out with 25 pounds.
But you'll be much more likely to give that extra oomph, to try those extra reps, to go up those 5 extra pounds, when your weight date gives you that motivation.
3. Changin' It Up
Another main reason I was bored at the gym was I had stopped trying new things. I was totally stuck in my boring old comfort zone.
Finding a workout partner automatically gives you double the options when you're in the gym because I guarantee you that you'll each have a different arsenal of torture techniques. Er, exercises.
I've been able to step outside my comfort zone and try a ton of knew things thanks to partner workouts. At first, my immediate response was, "No I definitely can't do that - I'll just stick with the version that I'm used to."
It made all the difference in the world to be told, "No, just try." Eventually, I did and BOOM - so many new favorite exercises!
4. Whole New Kinda Circuit
I love doing circuit workouts where I rotate through a number of different exercises. But the breaks I take between each exercise and each set have been starting to get seriously long.
With a partner, the intensity of your circuits can go up a whole notch. While one partner does one exercise, the other does something else. Then - switch.
So instead of exercise, rest, exercise, rest it becomes exercise, exercise, exercise, exercise.
It's wonderful in an "I think I'm going to throw up" kind of way.
5. Built In Cheerleader
Having someone to give you little cheers of motivation along the way helps a TON. Just hearing, "You've got this" or "One more round" can do a lot to keep you going and to keep you giving it your all.
It's also great to have someone to look over on minute #5 of planking and to exchange that look of, "OMG I'M DYING BUT WE TOTALLY GOT THIS."
Plus, there's nothing like sharing a victorious high five after a killer workout.
Something my weight date and I have just naturally started doing is adding little challenges in throughout our workouts.
Today, for example, we agreed to do a 3 minute warm-up rotating through jumping jacks, high knees and butt kicks. As our final 30 seconds expired I called an audible - finish with 10 burpees!
My weight date could now leave the gym with 10 more burpees under her belt than she would have had she been working out alone.
Later on, she threw down the gauntlet on me as we finished our last round of 10 sumo squat jumps and 10 squat/side kicks. "20 this round!" she exclaimed as I silently cursed her.
But did I do them? Yep. Was I glad for the challenge? You better believe it.
7. Exchange of Ideas
Throughout the week, my weight date and I tag each other in cool exercises we see on social media, text about our solo runs and workouts, and just generally keep fitness on the brain.
It makes me excited to know that the next time we work out together we'll have new ideas so that the workout is always far from boring.
This exchange of ideas also keeps each gym-sesh moving quickly. Instead of finishing an exercise and standing there for 3 minutes while I figure out what I want to do next - when there are two brains involved, it's a lot easier to throw out an idea and get down to business.