If you’re like most people, one of your New Year’s resolutions is to start working out!

However, its no surprise that most local gym memberships skyrocket in January, but attendance is back to regular levels by February.

I’ve tried working out on and off for years, and its just always been something I’ve struggled with and never ever succeeded at.  I tried the local gym, I tried Xbox Kinect workout “games”, I tried in-home gyms, I tried running using Nike+, I tried just going to the local park.  In the end, its not the stuff or the place, but basically my lack of interest and really lack of “fun” that ultimately leads to my demise.  It just always feels like “work” and generally just sucks.

On top of that, the hardest part has always been sticking with it long enough for it to become regular and a part of my daily routine – no longer an interference or inconvenience.

So what’s one relatively easy trick you can do to stick to your (new) workout plan for the long haul?

Workout with a friend! If not physically at the same time and place, workout together “virtually” and hold each other accountable. Come up with a plan together, talk about it, compare notes and progress, successes and failures!

Wake up call

3 months ago, I was sitting at a desk 8 hours a day working hard as a web developer. Then I’d come home, eat, play with my kid a bit, put him to bed, and sit in front of the computer for another 2+ hours – if not planted in front of the TV.  I’m not what you’d picture either – I’m 35, 5’ 7”, and 146 lbs!  At a glance I might have actually looked “in shape”.  But every day I’d sit in that cubicle for 8 hours, and every day felt like a ticking time bomb. There were times where I felt like I could literally feel myself slowly dying!  On top of that, I had a physical and my cholesterol levels were high for the first time in my life! I wasn’t getting any younger, and there was no end in sight. It was a wake up call.  It was time to do something and seriously do something, not just try something and fail within a month (again)!

A very good friend had been working out at a local Crossfit for the past year and a half – and the success with him was stunning!  He lost nearly 80 lbs, was in excellent shape, and was going every day without missing a beat!  It was truly inspiring.  I finally decided that I’d give Crossfit a shot!

Without sounding too much like a solicitation for Crossfit, I can say that the results were amazing!  Crossfit is something that I can truly attribute to having changed my life, and I honestly hope I never stop going!

But, the bigger issue here is that I honestly think that my success (so far) with sticking with my commitment to go was that I was going with a friend, doing the workouts along side him and meeting him there every night that I went.  We’d chat, laugh, commiserate on the workout, and generally just have a good time. Honestly, if anything, I think it further strengthened our friendship!

At the same time, another friend and coworker was going through the same issues. He had recently started eating right and lost a lot of weight, but he wasn’t active and he wanted to do something.  I tried pushing the Crossfit thing but he decided to go to a local LA Fitness with one of his friends.

The combination of our both starting workouts and succeeding at sticking with it can be attributed to 2 simple ideas:

  1. We both had a friend that we attended the gym with regularly
  2. We both conversed about our experiences daily and shared pointers, tips, techniques, lessons learned, and most importantly our failures and pain!

And that’s the most important takeaway from this post:

You absolutely NEED someone to share your workouts with!

By having someone that you can share your workouts with, you have an outlet that you can vent your frustrations, a person you can go to when you have doubts or concerns and they will give you that little boost of confidence you need!  If this person isn’t in the same situation as you, it probably just won’t work as well.  Sure you can bitch to your spouse or co worker about how much your workout sucked last night, but all they hear is you bitching.  If they experienced a similarly shitty workout – at least you two can really go back and forth and you won’t feel so alone!

Best case scenario is that you can go somewhere WITH someone (or meet them there) and workout together.  This gives you a feeling of accountability as you don’t want to let that person down by simply not showing up.  This also gives you a tiny bit of friendly competition to feed off of!

Finally, there’s so much to learn when you start working out – both about working out in general as well as about your own physical body and strengths and weaknesses.

Having someone that you can bounce ideas off of and discuss topics and concerns with is invaluable!