Fitness, Fun and Friends

04.20.2012 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

AP Photo

By Becky Johnson, Certified Personal Trainer (ACE); IBNFC Certified Nutrition Coach

Keeping up with a workout schedule all on your own can be a difficult thing. You may find it’s hard to push yourself to go workout when you don’t have anyone else there to help get you off your butt! Group support, social interaction and positive reinforcement are strong motivators to starting and maintaining an exercise program.

I have seen many people who were not successful by themselves but were more motivated when working out with friends. My son, Zach, created the word “friendercise” just for this blog - that seems to say it all!

Recently, I started a bootcamp for the moms of my son’s baseball team. We meet at the same time the boys have practice. We have to drop the kids off anyway, so why not make the time productive!

I’ve wanted to do this for some time and finally had the right group to put it into action. All the ladies have known each other for a while so they are comfortable with one another. We have had only one session - a windy, rainy and cold day, but it was still fun! They made the best of it and were very supportive and encouraging to each other. I observed several things that make working out with friends effective...

1. Work out with positive people. Your friends can pick up your mood on a tough day without being judgmental or fall into a bad mood also. You need an energy increaser not an energy zapper!

2. Find someone with similar fitness goals. Hook up with someone who is equally excited, committed and passionate about getting healthy as you are. You don’t necessarily need to be on the same fitness level. You can share information, tips and workout ideas. Simply getting along won’t always work. Make sure your schedules are in sync and you stay consistent with your workouts.

3. Look for someone who is serious about working out. You don’t want to be the one who has to convince the other to workout or drag them to the gym kicking and screaming. Your partner(s) should be just as enthusiastic as you are. Find someone or a group of people who won’t quit easily. Many times we seek out our best friends who we are used to “being bad” with. You need people with the same mindset that will keep you on track.

4. Your fitness buddies can be anyone. In our case, it’s a bunch of moms who spend hours together at baseball games. It could be your neighbors, co-workers, your spouse or someone you don’t know very well but share the common interest of fitness.

BTW…Here is the bootcamp I put together for my baseball moms. I set it up in a parking lot of a school. You can set it up in your backyard and invite your neighbors over for a “Bootcamp Happy Hour” and serve water and sports drinks after. Create something similar for co-workers during lunchtime or enlist your family and have a family fitness group!

Set up 4 cones in a large rectangle. Then place 4 more cones between the corners. This creates 8 stations. I wrote the exercises on note cards and taped them to the cones. The stations were set up in this order:

#1 Jump Rope
#2 Squat with a Shoulder Press (use dumbbells)
#3 Push Ups
#4 Forward Lunge (Alternate legs)
#5 Mt. Climbers
#6 Bicycles for abs (need a mat or towel)
#7 Lateral side shuffles (travel across to another cone and back)
#8 Bicep Curls (use dumbbells or resistance bands)

Each station is for 1 minute. You get a 2 minute rest after each circuit. Shoot for three circuits!

Finding a fitness group can be one of your keys to keeping your fitness goals. Not only will they motivate you to be more active, but they will push you further, challenge your weaknesses, boost your confidence and most of all make fitness fun. And you can do the same for them!

Stay Healthy and Fit,

Have questions for Becky or fitness tips of your own? Leave them below!

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