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I regularly workout on my own but on the occasions I workout with a training partner I find my motivation increases, my output increases and perhaps most importantly, my overall enjoyment increases.

Jason Ferruggia (a world-renowned S&C coach) has always said that having a good training partner is one of the best things you can do to enhance your rate of progress.

With this in mind, how do you go about finding a training partner, if indeed you workout with a partner at all?

  • Is it possible to walk into a gym and find people there?

  • Is it possible to workout with friends? (Especially if you're there to exercise seriously, rather than catch up and chat)

What experience do you have on finding a training partner?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

In my own experience I have regularly attended a gym with a friend when I was just out of high school. He was a few steps ahead of me in terms of fitness and strength and he was quite committed. This was really helpful as it meant I would try harder to reach my goals.

I have also joined gyms and made friends by attending regularly. You tend to find a few of the same people showing up at the same time if you attend the same time regularly. Meeting people this way is less 1 on 1 and means you can do your own thing if you want, but also makes the overall experience more enjoyable and encouraging to keep returning.

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I'd like to offer a dissenting opinion. I find that having a training partner (friend or otherwise) makes me at least partially out of control of my own timing. I can't e.g. just leap onto the equipment when I feel ready or when the stopwatch goes off if my partner hasn't finished. Sometimes it doesn't matter, but for some workouts timing can be crucial, and having to work with someone else potentially "in the way" and being responsible for that person's safety and motivation adds an extra challenge.

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A fair point - though if you find a perfect training partner who you're 'in tune' with those worries aren't always so important. You wouldn't be responsible for safety or motivation, for starters. – Adam Nuttall Mar 2 '11 at 22:34
@adamnuttall It's a trade-off. I become responsible for my partner's safety and motivation. – Greg Mar 2 '11 at 22:35
Actually, as I think about it there is not trade-off. I am always responsible for my own safety and motivation, regardless of having a partner. – Greg Mar 2 '11 at 23:30

The only time I ever successfully worked out in groups was in the Army, in a structured program led by our noncommissioned officers.

After leaving the service, I tried working out with others a few times, but usually they ended up abandoning ship. Sometimes the schedule just wasn't right. Other times, the other person just wasn't dedicated.

The only way I ended up getting results was to go at it alone with some good, upbeat music and headphones.

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