How To Get The Most Out Of Your Workout Partner

by Allen Gil March 20, 2015

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Workout Partner

There is no friendship quite like the one shared with your gym buddy. He’s there to lift you up when you’re feeling crappy. He’s there to push you to do the next set. He’s there when you nearly drop the bar on your chest (again). And you’re there to do exactly the same for him.

I can hear the best man speech already.

But there comes a time in every training partners life when you feel it’s time to take everything up a notch. To go from friendly spotter and motivational coach to full-blown work out competitor. Which is undoubtedly where training gets really interesting. When you’re not just working against yourself, your mentality changes.

In fact, it’s been shown, adding that competition can double your results. Which is something you’d actually pay money for, right? Well, you don’t have to. Because I’m going to show you how to make your workouts, goals and results into a competition that benefits you, right here, for free.

Warning: Check Your Ego At The Door

I want you to have competition in your workouts. It comes with a lot of benefits. But don’t push yourself so hard that you risk injuring yourself. If your partner is a seasoned pro, and you’re just getting started, it’s not worth trying to compete with his numbers.

Instead, focus on competing with your own numbers and try and match sets and reps. This should be harmless fun. With a big focus on the harmless.

Game #1: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is



Accountability, when specific, can help improve your chances of success. And so does the thought of losing money to your friends. In the 4-Hour-Body, Tim Ferriss documents a man who loses weight by wagering his results with his the tune of a couple of hundred dollars. His results?

Well, he lost a lot of weight. Try this:

  • Set a goal: With your partner, and with your friends, decide on a goal you want to achieve: fat loss, weight gain, strength, size, etc.
  • Make it specific: Decide exactly what you’re going to measure.
  • Set a time: Define how long you have to do it.
  • Put money on it: Or, give yourself a horrendous forfeit. Like wearing a Tutu to dinner with your friends.
I can guarantee you’ll train even harder when you’ve got a strong incentive.

Game #2: Those B*stard Burpees



When I first started playing basketball, my coach was a ‘no joke’ type of guy. We would show up, train until we wanted to puke, and leave. Soon, many of the guys on my team wouldn’t show up as much for practice and participation was low.

So the coach came up with a brilliant idea. If you didn’t attend the practice, the next time you saw him – whether in the mall, the street, or before Saturday’s game – you had to give him 50 Burpees. Or you didn’t play.

And everyone wanted to play.

A couple of guys got caught skipping practice, whether they were at the park or out at the mall, and after the first few, everyone caught wind of this brutal punishment. And the participation almost doubled.

So when I became a Personal Trainer, it was a rule I brought in. And it's something I do with my training partners. Late?—10 Burpees. Skipped out on your diet?—20 Burpees. Miss the session?—30 Burpees.

It doesn’t matter where you are, what you’re doing, or (unless injured or emergency) why you missed it. That’s the forfeit. You’ll find you’re never late. You always complete your workout. And, you’ll think twice before missing a session.

Game #3: The Weekly Challenge



I don’t think your workout itself should be a game. Because, well, it’s hard to compete against anyone other than yourself. But giving yourself, and your partners, something else to do as an added bonus adds a lot more competition to the workout.

Try incorporating a weekly challenge into one of the days of the week:

  • Who can complete a circuit the fastest?
  • A strongman competition.
  • A Powerlifting competition (to test your one rep max).
  • Who can do the most reps on 100lbs Bench Press?
  • Who can cycle the farthest in 20 minutes?
  • Who has the fastest 1000-meter row?
Make it hard. Make it enjoyable. And make it line up with YOUR goals.

Allen Gil
Allen Gil


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