I really miss having a work-out buddy.
For many years I had the luxury of having a personal trainer. His name was Ro, I worshipped him.
My personal trainer was not only able to guide me on exercises and diet, but he was also a great sounding-board, for general life guidance.
Ro usually start each week with a brutally honest assessment of my progress:
“You look terrible — totally out of condition.”
I’d try and offer some explanations as to why my weekend had left me feeling a little weary on a Monday morning:
“No excuse…” Ro would always reply. “You’re completely out of shape.”
He knew that I responded best to tough-love. Our workouts always left me feeling like I was being punished.
If there were any rest or recovery periods, we’d use the down-time to workshop Ro’s love life - which was surprisingly complicated - and debating which celebrities were gay.
I really miss Ro.
However, the point is that while personal trainers are great, you don't need to be spending heaps of cash just to have a bit of decent chat in the gym.
What you need is a work-out buddy.
Your work-out buddy doesn't need to be your best friend. It's really helpful if you enjoy spending time in each other's company, but the key thing is that you're on a similar fitness journey.
Having a work-out buddy will help ensure that you get to the gym on a regular basis. Maybe you always meet at the same time, maybe you book your sessions in each other's diary. Either way, you're making a commitment to someone about when you're going to be in the gym.
A work-out buddy is also a really useful way to bring some structure to your workouts. You're going to be discussing each session - What are we working on today? Is today leg-day? How many reps are we doing? Should we increase the weight?
Another benefit of training with a work-out buddy is that they can help keep you honest. They'll count your reps. They'll help keep track of which set you're on. They'll make sure that you've got the right weight on the bar. Thinking of skipping calf-raises? Your work-out buddy will raise an eyebrow at that.
Perhaps most importantly, training with a work-out buddy gives you somebody to talk to. You may not want to share your deepest emotions with a guy that you're lifting weights with, but having someone who talks to you - who asks how your day has been, or who can tell if your energy is a bit low, or even just sharing a joke about something you've seen on Twitter - that's a huge boost to your personal resilience.
Of course, the big challenge is finding a work-out buddy.
Don't be shy about it. Ask your friends, asks your colleagues, let people know which gym you're at, put it in your bio on your hook-up apps. You might need to road-test a few potential work-out buddies before who find the right fit, but it's definitely going to be worth the effort.