Why a workout partner will lift your game
There’s ample proof in rock n roll that if you want to put together a shit-hot band, you find bandmates who can play better than you. You’re forced to lift your game. And if there’s an element of competition between you and the other band members, you’ll work even harder. John Lennon and Paul McCartney had the sort of rivalry where if one worked a new idea into a song, the other would consider it a challenge and try to better it in their next composition.
The results weren’t just amazing, the results were THE BEATLES!
(Sadly, the only rock band I was ever in was notable for its absence of actual musicians: Every member was equally terrible, save for one scary month when our regular guitarist was replaced by a guy called Steve who could actually play. The disparity between his playing and ours left us shrivelling with mortification.)
Your gym visits don’t have to make it into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame (OBVS) but it’s worth thinking about what sort of person you want in your band when you’re recruiting a gym buddy.
I never cease to be amazed by the ability of people to waste time at the gym. (Sure, waste time in life, but wouldn’t time be best wasted in bed? Asleep? Or even better, in bed doing some aerobic cuddling?)
The most common time-wasting I see is men who stare off into space between weight sets like meaty statues in ugly shorts. (The staring can go on for 15 minutes! I have timed it. I may or may not have been wasting my time by timing others wasting time.)
The staring into space has something to do with endorphins. The high they’re feeling is akin to a post-orgasm stupor, hence the goofy facial expression, the hanging-open mouth, the need to cuddle, etc. It’s also most common in younger blokes, ie., men without children who haven’t stolen one precious hour and therefore have time to burn.
Men working out with buddies seem to be more efficient. They’re showing off, they’re challenging each other, they’re doing it with a little help from their friends.
With women it can go either way.
In the past I’ve had slack mates who have needed encouragement and it’s been fun egging them on. (I’ve even had one who turned up for our first workout together in high-heeled wedge runners! “No, no, they’re really comfortable!” she said.)
I’ve also had the friend who stops what she’s doing to answer a question, who rarely gets up a sweat, who puts down the dumbbell so she can gesticulate more eloquently.
Is your gym buddy someone who pushes you toward brilliance (red-faced, heaving, heart racing, muscles sore the next day) or someone who’s more interested in gossiping or worse, describing the dream they had last night?
Top 5 Worst Topics of Conversation During a Workout
- Your hernia operation
- That dream you had about Denise Drysdale ripping off her human face to reveal the hissing lizard creature underneath
- How tired you are
- Germs. Particularly sweat germs, particularly man-sweat germs, particularly man-sweat germs on exercise equipment germs
- Your dog’s hernia operation
If you use your workout as an excuse to catch up with a friend, try scheduling a good chin-wag and coffee after the exercise. That can be the reward. Aim for a helter skelter pace during the actual workout.
Either that or workout with someone whose ass you want to kick.
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