“You never go to the gym and say “today.. I feel down a little bit.. I don’t know what it is all about”
No. The training partner was always responsible to challenge you at all times. Kind of in a fun way but it was so you don’t slack off, so you don’t give yourself a break” – Arnold Schwarzenegger.
A training partner is one of the most essential parts of a person’s fitness journey, especially the first few steps. They’re the ones responsible for building the atmosphere to get you motivated and to challenge you for the workout ahead. If you were feeling down it was their job to tell you to forget about what’s bothering you and worry about what’s in front of you. They keep you safe both physically and emotionally but most importantly they keep you coming back for more. You’re also expected to do all of the above when they’re in need of a little help as well! It’s this unspoken, yet somewhat slightly spoken of, agreement that two people sign up for when they go to the gym together.
You may not think you really need a training partner for exercise, and yes, on those days where you’re feeling good and energized… you definitely don’t. But it’s on those days where you feel down where you do need someone to keep you on track and to keep you chasing your goals. Easily the most essential quality of a good training partner is their ability to keep you coming back to the gym, even if it means dragging you there. For someone first starting to exercise and take their health more seriously, giving up often seems like the much easier option compared to spending hours a week challenging your body. That’s where your training partner comes in, because deep down you both know that this is what you committed to however long ago it was.
it’s also important you and your partner have similar goals and visions to where you want your fitness journey to take you. You’d never see someone training to build muscle with someone who wants to practice yoga. They’re just different and eventually, like two trains tied together trying to go in opposite directions, your progress will be hindered by that relationship.
There have been many times where I could see my training partner being dragged down by whatever was happening in their life at that time. Money problems, family problems or relationships problems. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as you notice what’s going on and get to work on helping them put it behind them. Chances are they’re going to be spending a lot more time on their phone, staring at the floor or just being a much lower energy version of their regular self. It’s kind of like when you take a first aid course. You’re preparing for a situation that may happen, it may never happen or it may happen constantly but if it does happen you will need to step up and help out. Show them the power of fitness and how exercise has the ability to give you a break from all the bullshit life throws at us.
The first thing you need to do is get them invested in the workout. Do something a little different, something memorable and something interesting to take their mind off whatever it may be that’s dragging them down. A really cool example that’s always popular with the crowd at my local gym is the ‘it’s been said’ rule. It’s this really fun way of challenging yourself and those around you buy saying something ridiculously difficult like doing a triple drop set on bench press or doing lunges right after a set of complete failure of leg extensions, leg press for insanely high reps or insanely heavy weight, or both… and then once you’re completely toast your training partner begins to count your reps down from five and that feeling a dread and fear washes over you because you thought you were done but then before you know it you’ve only got one rep left! And then you’re done! Just something seriously brutal that will definitely leave you sore for the next few days but something that you’ll look back on and think “oh man, I can’t believe we did that” but you did do it and you should be proud of that!
THAT’S the perfect training partner.
A training partner is a great way for those first subscribing to fitness to keep on track, they keep you accountable for yourself and your goals, and vice versa. It’s a really good idea to take those first steps with someone by your side because it can be scary at times and it’s a great way to push yourself in the gym knowing there’s always someone to spot you if you can’t move that weight back up! I can say with 100% confidence that if I didn’t have the people I train with by my side that I definitely wouldn’t have gotten my fitness to where it is today. I still have a long way to go! but it would be even longer without the absolute legends that I’m blessed enough to train with.