Buddy Up: Making Workouts More Fun

Wed 11 Sep 2019

*STEPtember to Remember: Blogging It Out is a series by Todd Williams, CPARF’s STEPtember Fitness Ambassador. Todd is a traveling physical therapist who’s training for the 2019 New York City Marathon — and he has cerebral palsy. This series showcases his personal perspective and these posts don’t constitute professional medical advice. Only you and your doctor know what's best for you, so please consult your doctor for medical advice. These posts also shouldn't be read or construed to contain any medical advice or medical endorsement by Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation.


Buddy Up: Making Workouts More Fun

By Todd Williams


THE I-DON’T-HAVE-A-LOT-OF-TIME-TO-READ VERSION. Buddy up if you’re feeling you need help taking that first step. Buddies give you extra motivation to do you your best and hold you accountable to get your workouts done. When you work out with people you know, you also improve your relationships with them.


THE LONGER READ. Having a workout partner is a great way to take your fitness to the next level. When you know you’ll get to spend more time with a friend, it can give you the extra push you need to put those workout clothes on and get yourself moving.



 Having a workout buddy can give you some healthy competition. When I have someone to work out with, I tend to push myself harder because I know someone else is there. It’s not usually out of competition with others. (That’s often not an option because I work out with able-bodied people and if I competed with them, I’d risk injuring myself.)

Instead, I compete with myself. This shows my workout partner that I’m doing my absolute best. It amps up my personal competitive spirt when I’m with someone else.

When you exercise with someone else, you have more options to push yourself safely. Buddies can help spot you when you’re pushing yourself to your own limits. Because I have cerebral palsy, a workout partner allows me to perform exercises safely that I can’t otherwise do on my own. Buddies open up the possibilities for people at every ability level. 



I’m most active with some of my closest friends and we bond by pushing each other to our limits. The consistent encouragement while we improve ourselves with each workout often extends to other parts of our lives. It opens up more space for us to share and listen to the hard things in life, creating a place where we can seek advice when we need it.

Working out together also forges new friendships. If you’re not all about exercise but you’re extroverted, the possibility of meeting new people can make any exercise exciting. Personally, when I try a new exercise that I’m not necessarily excited about, the potential of making new friends always keeps me motivated. 

Exercising with a buddy can also be great for introverts. I tend to be an extrovert, but I definitely have introverted tendencies, and there are many days when I don’t necessarily want to talk with people but I want to be around them. Working out means you can be yourself while being with others. 



One of the best ways to build the exercise habit is to have someone to keep you accountable. It’s easy to tell ourselves that today’s workout can wait, but it’s harder to tell that to someone else — especially when you’ve planned to exercise together. Adding resistance to keep you from canceling exercise will encourage the habit and help you stick with it. When I have someone I’m accountable to for my exercise, it becomes more enjoyable even outside of the time I am exercising. I’m part of a group of four people who each keep ourselves mutually accountable to each other. Throughout the week we give each other a hard time about how we need to do better on the next workout or comment on someone’s efforts last time.. This is especially motivating because these we each see each other’s exercise regularly and we’re in a great position to see and congratulate each other on our progress. We also get to plan our workouts and complain to each other about how hard it’s going to be, always knowing that we each love the challenge of a difficult workout. 

Workout buddies help meet the goal of exercising to keep moving and in the process move a little more each day.

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Thu 04 Apr 2024

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