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My (Gym) Buddy and Me

By Andrew Stone
Posted On Oct 26, 2015
My (Gym) Buddy and Me

Want to max out your gym results? Double your efforts! Find a supportive workout partner who can help you transcend plateaus and add dimension to your routine. Here we ask Chris Piegza, Training Manager of DavidBartonGym at the Limelight in New York City, for an expert’s take on gym buddying-up.

by Andrew C. Stone

David Barton Gym at the Limelight in New York City.
Let’s get physical! Chris Piegza and David Barton’s trainers revolutionize your shape.

While you may be great at keeping your word to colleagues and friends, the commitments you make to yourself are often the first things to fall off your schedule. This is often particularly true when it comes to sticking with a fitness routine. Whether you’re a seasoned endorphin chaser, a weight-lifting “weekend warrior,” or an exercise newbie, the motivation to change into sweats and push beyond your comfort zone is inevitably going to flag from time to time. How can you stay true to your goals, consistently progress, and (heaven forbid) make the process fun? The answer is simple: Get a workout partner.

As with any social arrangement, a soupcon of selectivity is a good idea when choosing a gym buddy. “It’s largely about motivation and accountability,” says Chris Piegza, Training Manager of DavidBartonGym at the Limelight in Manhattan (davidbartongym.com). “It’s about inspiring you to actually get your ass to the gym.”

A partner offers both variety and an outside perspective. Maybe you only tend to run a mile on the treadmill but you could totally handle two. A wingman/wingwoman is there to say, “Let’s go for it.” Perhaps you are a pull-up master, and yet your buddy’s lats have never been trained properly. You’re there to help them with form, spot them if need be, and infuse the endeavor with enthusiasm. It’s a symbiotic relationship that runs on endorphins.

“I definitely work out with buddies,” Piegza says. “I’ll go a few months on my own sometimes, and then realize it’s time to step up my game. I look for someone I can bounce ideas off of, and someone who’s positive and intense about their fitness.”

If time and budget allows, the best kind of gym buddy is a certified personal trainer—someone who understands where you are and works with you on your personal goals. “You want to be with someone who can say, ‘This exercise is for this, and you ought to have this amount of rest between sets,’” says Piegza, whose job involves pairing his elite trainers with clients at David Barton. Factors he considers in this matchmaking process include goals, disposition, and personal training histories. “If a trainer has personal experience with losing weight, they will likely be well equipped to help you do the same.”

David Barton Gym at the Limelight in New York City.
DavidBartonGym at the Limelight in New York City.

Of course, not all matches are made in heaven, be it with a trainer or a gym partner. Some rules of thumb for narrowing the playing field? Ask: Does this person seem to know his/her stuff? Can I imagine spending some one-on-one time with this person? Do I appreciate his/her level of fitness? Agree from the start that you’ll see how it goes and if it doesn’t work out there will be no hard feelings. And if one partnership fizzles, keep looking for the right one for you. (Wait, all of that works for dating, too!)

Looking for a gym buddy? Think about the buffest members of your friend circle, or maybe inquire in a Facebook post. Maybe scope out the gym floor for someone who seems like a strong match. There are social networks like Fitlink.com and apps like Gym Comrade (gymcomrade.com), too. And if you’re ready to get really serious, hook up with a top trainer like Piegza and his crew at David Barton (davidbartongym.com).

Happy sweating!

Images: Courtesy of David Barton Gym