Fit tip: The benefits of exercising with a friend

<p>Olympian and mom Summer Sanders encourages <a id=exercise class participants.  |  Diane Bondareff/Invision for GE/AP Images

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Olympian and mom Summer Sanders encourages exercise class participants.  |  Diane Bondareff/Invision for GE/AP Images

I used to be super adamant about working out alone. I was convinced it was the best and only way for me to get away from the stress, get a good workout in and re-focus my energy. However, after training for two full marathons with my best friend and a half marathon with my boyfriend, I’m starting to realize the benefits of working out with someone else.

Here are the top reasons why working out with a friend or significant other is beneficial:

Support

After working out alone for several months, achieving those goals that at one point seemed easily attainable starts to bore you. You aren’t reaching your goals as quickly as you hoped and you start losing faith and excitement in the process. When you have support it’s easier to keep the journey exciting. You can cook together, prep meals together, obviously exercise with each other and hold each other accountable when it comes to slipping with your diet or lacking motivation to get yourself to the gym.

Try new things

Goal: Train for a triathlon, bike in a cool forest preserve or run a popular 10k. Well, what’s stopping you? No one wants to do these things alone, that’s what’s stopping you. The thought of training for a triathlon by myself makes me scared. And, who wants to bike through a whole forest preserve alone? No one. Boring! Having a partner in crime to do these things with is key. Chances are, your friend wants to do these things too, but was too shy to ask or nervous they might not find someone to do it with. Just ask!

Push yourself

Getting yourself to the gym or outside to run is one thing. But, staying at the gym or out to run for a long time is another. If you aren’t motivated, what’s keeping you going? Nothing. When you have someone by your side you hold each other accountable.

When I was training for my first marathon I started losing motivation during a long run. It was hot, I was tired and, quite honestly, I was just completely over it that day. We were almost done with our run when my friend was like, “Come on, we’re sprinting this last block!” She took off running. I wasn’t thrilled. Well, I couldn’t just fall behind, so I started sprinting as well. Had she not been there, I probably would have started walking. I was glad she was there to push me to finish. 

Celebrate your success together

Running two marathons with my best friend was amazing. Not only because I finished an entire marathon, but because we got to celebrate after together. It’s awesome to cross the finish line with someone who shares the exact same feelings with you at that moment: The pain, the excitement, the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and more. It just felt so good to share the feeling with someone. Why work so hard when you have no one to brag about it to? Unless people experience the journey with you, they don’t understand what you’re going through. 

Gyms and places in the area to explore with your workout buddy:

  • CorePower Yoga — 4999 Old Orchard Center, Skokie — Hot yoga, anyone?
  • Fitness First! — 9300 Weber Park Pl., Skokie — Get outside your comfort zone and try a new fitness class. WERQ, Pilates and Belly Dancing are among the many offerings in their facility.
  • Club Fitness — 6834 W. Dempster, Morton Grove — They have a wide variety of classes from Cycle 101 to Zumba. There’s something new for everyone. 
  • CrossFit Illumine — 6663 W. Howard St., Niles — If you’re looking for an extreme challenge, this is perfect for you. There’s no better way than than to throw yourself at CrossFit with a friend. Since you’re both new to it, you can experience the journey together and support each other along the way.
  • Jazzercise — 306 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge — Do you like to dance but Zumba just isn’t for you? Try jazzercise! It’s a fun way to keep yourself moving. 

What are your thoughts about exercising with a partner? Let us know! Tweet us @Skokie_Review or comment on our Facebook page

Monica Kucera is a Community News Manager with Wrapports News Service. She’s is a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certified Personal Trainer. After running two marathons and several half marathons, she’s a self-proclaimed running guru and loves helping people reach their fitness and health goals! 

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