Why You Need a Fitness Accountability Partner

By Maire,

  Category: Research
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What if we told you that you could reach your fitness goals with a higher success rate, faster, and without as many detours? What if we said the solution was simple and only required doing one thing? Wouldn’t you be hanging on my every word?

This article originally appeared on thefittutor.com and has been republished with permission.

Boost Your Fitness Success

Well, that “one thing” that is so ridiculously effective is finding a fitness accountability partner. This is the best advice I can give. People don’t always love this answer because it means someone else might be in their space, know their flaws, call them out on their BS… But most of us have taken a hiatus from our workouts or nutrition goals at some point, and if we had an accountability partner, we could have lessened the damage done.

I think the advice people might be hoping for goes something like carbs are the devil, squats really will get you a guy like Channing Tatum, or morning workouts will make you burn thousands of more calories throughout the day. I usually get disappointed looks when I tell them my wise advice: find something you like to do (or at least don’t hate) and find someone to keep you accountable.

Now yes, I do believe that strength training is the way to go, sugar is evil, we eat too many grains, and pray too much to the elliptical machine gods to get us our perfect bodies. But all that advice is worthless if you won’t actually do it. As a personal trainer, I can build the most amazing individualized fitness plan for someone, but they won’t see results if they don’t do it. The first FOUR chapters of my personal training textbook were all about adherence because if we can’t get a client to stick to a workout, all our knowledge is pointless.

If you think you’re doing just fine on your own, think about a few things:

  • How quickly and consistently are you progressing towards your goals?
  • What seems to get in the way?
  • How often do you skip workouts or splurge?

Your answers will indicate if you would benefit from an accountability partner.

It’s OK to Ask for Help

Consistency is key to your health and fitness goals. Countless studies show that having someone keep you accountable for completing a workout will increase your adherence, which will increase your results. Life is notorious for getting in the way of our quest for the perfect beach body. There will always be 100 reasons to skip your workout, and the #1 reason people quit on their goals is that there are no real consequences for their inaction.

Own your human nature.

It’s OK to admit you might not succeed doing this on your own, or that someone else might help you get there faster. Find someone to bring along for the ride. Chances are, you’ve tried and failed at a health or fitness goal before (haven’t we all!?). An accountability partner could save you from frustration and defeat.

Think about why you didn’t succeed.

Maybe you need to tweak your goals and set some that are slightly more realistic. Maybe you need to add in some sort of punishment or reward system for completing your workouts or sticking to your meal plan. Know yourself, know what motivates you, and enlist someone to keep you accountable.

Who Should You Choose?

Choose someone who you trust. Someone who you know won’t accept your lame excuses for skipping your workout or running a train on a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Hopefully, you can find a workout partner with the same schedule as yours. Don’t worry though- that’s not necessary. You can use good ol’ technology to check in on each other and make sure you’ve done what you committed to. If you can’t find someone or choose to workout from home, The Fit Tutor offers one-on-one and group accountability (via facebook). I’ve heard countless stories of women who worked out only because they knew someone would be asking them about it.

How To Start Your Fitness Accountability

Set clear, written goals and expectations so you both know your roles as well as boundaries. Usually, just having to check in with someone makes them stick to their workouts, but add in some friendly competition if you’d like. For example, set a goal for how many times you will workout that week and for how long. Both of you can work toward that goal. If someone skips a workout they owe the other person a coffee, or maybe 1 million dollars, depending on your budget. Make short-term and long-term goals to keep you motivated.

Set consequences or rewards if you need to. If you set a goal of 3 workouts this week and only do 2, pay your partner $10. If you set a goal to avoid fast food all week and make it, reward yourself with a new workout top. What consequences or rewards would work for you? Be creative 🙂 Find something that motivates you to get off the couch after a hard day and get that workout in, but isn’t so strict it feels like torture or is impossible to pay up.

Let that person in. Accountability goes only as far as you allow it. If you don’t allow them to call you out or enforce some consequences, then you’re only hurting yourself. I’ve been doing workout accountability for a few years now, and the women who weren’t as successful were the ones who wouldn’t allow our accountability to go past check-ins. If they had a few weeks of excuses, they didn’t let me (or someone else) in enough to push them to set consequences or really dive into the root of the problem. Let that person in. Always respond to them and determine to not let a “how was your workout?” text go unanswered- for the sake of your health and waistline!

Don’t ask yourself “What if I fail?” and don’t think about letting your partner down. Instead, force yourself to daydream about “what if I succeed?” and get excited about the new body, new energy, and new strength you will have. Look forward to your accountability partner’s cheers and applause! Remember, research shows this is an extremely effective way to reach your goals! 

Read more at TheFitTutor.com

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