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There's always more to learn

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Q: Is it better to work out with a friend?

A: The short answer is yes. Finding someone to work out with regularly is a great way to stay consistent with your goal of building exercise into your lifestyle. When you know someone is counting on you to show up at the gym or meet you at 6am for a run, you're much less likely to skip the workout.

Coupling exercise with social time is smart time management too. It's really hard to find time for friends with all the other demands and responsibilities of life so putting these two essential components to health together is a great move if you can swing it.

It can be hard to find the right fit for a workout buddy. Be conscious of each of your current fitness levels and also your goals. You can definitely work out with someone who is more or less in shape than you, or who has more or less ambitious fitness goals but you'll need to make some adjustments. Be open with each other about your goals and abilities so you can find workouts that are effective for both of you. Realize that it's not going to be in each of your best interests to do all of your workouts together because someone will be always pushing themselves too hard or the other will be going to easy and not making any improvements. Open communication and honesty are key to blending your social life with your exercise routine.

Be mindful, however, that sometimes this relationship could backfire and rather than encouraging each other to push and to grow, you could fall into the pattern of letting each other off the hook. It can be a tough to know when to be an understanding friend or a hard-nosed (yet loving) accountability person. Again, open communication and honesty are key. Pay attention to the dynamic between you and address anything that seems off sooner rather than later.

As in any relationship, bring up the issue in a problem-solving sort of way that acknowledges the feelings of both of you and opens the floor for negotiations to get things back on track.

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