Get a Workout Buddy, Get Motivation

I have never understood why so many people get into a relationship and get out of shape.

If you exercised before, why stop? Don’t you value yourself enough to want to be healthy and look good for yourself even after you’ve landed the person who’s better than you’d dreamed?

Well, let me tell you, I have learned the answer to that first question, at least for me.

I consider myself a pretty healthy person who really values eating well and exercising. Once upon a time, I would go to the gym almost every day after work. This was when I worked till 7 p.m. or so, too. It was a routine and I loved my gym.

I have trouble understanding how people go years without working out. I feel terrible after a few days.

Anyway, my boyfriend, Shep, and I moved in together. And my decent routine of at least a few days a week dwindled to maybe one.

Biking in DenCo
Visiting my sister in Denver, means biking to get margaritas.

Was life busy? At times, of course. But that’s really no excuse.

The dorky truth is that I really look forward to getting home and hanging out with Shep. Even if it isn’t necessarily quality time as much as being home together.
And when I get home from work, I’m usually starving. So begins the daily discussion I’d heard initiated by my mom for 20-something years, “What should we have for dinner?”

And the night continues from there. We eat, surf the Web, read or catch up on the latest series we’re working through on Netflix, and it’s bedtime. And yet again, I find myself thinking I only managed to work out one morning before work all week. Yet again, we’re saying that we really need to go climbing this week!

And even though I didn’t like that I felt like a blob both mentally and physically, this cycle continued. Until the night I got a text from my sister saying her unreal work schedule was causing her to lack exercise and gain weight. I told her I couldn’t fit into my pants or last summer’s shorts anymore for the first time ever.

She said, “Can we be workout buddies?”

We made it to Hanging Lake!
Hiking to Hanging Lake with my sister. Colorado, 2011

And that was all it took. We agreed to work out at least four days a week for at least 30 minutes a day and check in with each other. Did we need to have some kind of “punishment” in place to keep us motivated? No, my sister said. Not fitting into your clothes is punishment enough.

But you know what would be the real punishment? Disappointing myself, making up some excuse why I couldn’t get a measly 30 minutes in. I blow that much time on Facebook accomplishing nothing and wonder where the half hour went.

And having to tell my sister I fell short is not an option. I don’t know how to explain it; it’s just not.

So we catch up throughout the week, checking in to make sure that whatever we have in mind for exercise counts if it’s a lazy day or to talk either other off the ledge when we’re about to buy pizza for lunch when we have a healthy lunch packed from home.

I can’t answer why my own motivation alone wasn’t enough to get me to workout more any more than I could explain why people gain weight when they get into a relationship. But like so many things in life, being held accountable in some way or to someone matters. It helps us be more motivated, whether it’s to be a better worker, sibling, significant other or healthier person.

So if you’re having trouble getting off the couch or are making up excuses, get yourself a workout buddy! You aren’t the only one who needs one.

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