INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - You've heard that teaming up with a workout buddy or a friend can make you more successful in achieving your fitness goals. Even better, a study from the University of Pittsburgh reports that women who exercised with a pal lost a third more weight than those who hit the gym solo.
But in the spirit of Valentine's Day, have you considered teaming up with your spouse or partner to achieve your goals?
"People are much more successful at meeting goals if you're accountable -- and especially if you're accountable to a person that you love," says Kimble Richardson, M.S., LMHC, LCSW, LMFT, LCAC.
Richardson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with St. Vincent Stress Center and notes romantic couples who are also best friends can be very successful in achieving goals because they encourage and support each other in the process.
"It [the most difficult part] is often just getting started, taking that first step, and that's one way you can be supportive of each other," Richardson said.
Kim and Joe Cathcart of Noblesville have rooted their new marriage in health and fitness. They both have adult children from previous marriages and placed a high priority on staying fit when they met a few years ago.
"I think we both have always been fairly healthy," says Joe Cathcart. "But recently, I've taken it to a different level with the help of a fitness trainer – lifting light weights."
Kim introduced Joe to her fitness trainer, Abby Fox , a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association . Now, both Kim and Joe train at Fox's fitness studio in Carmel . Fox works with the couple on core strength and balance and councils them on nutrition – even taking them grocery shopping to learn what foods should and shouldn't be in their grocery cart.
"Abby talks about how important preparation is," says Kim Cathcart. "So, now at least one of us will go to the grocery store on Sundays and buy all of our vegetables, then we'll come home and slice them up and put them into baggies. Then, we'll also bag our boiled eggs, so when its time to go to work in the morning, we just reach into the refrigerator and grab our snacks to go. If one of us doesn't do it, the other one just knows to jump in and make the snacks."
If you decide to set a fitness goal with your partner, Richardson suggests these tips:
- Identify your strengths.
- Determine your goals – be specific!
- Break your goal into short- term goals
- Decide now how you'll celebrate the achievement of each short-term goal
- If you don't succeed, reevaluate or reset your goals
Richardson encourages couples to understand that not reaching a goal does not equate to failure. Rather, he suggests taking that opportunity to reconvene and maybe even reset your goals.
If you plan to routinely work out with your partner, consider this 2010 study published in the Journal of Social Sciences that suggests people who workout with very fit individuals tend to workout harder , which might result in a quicker achievement of fitness goals.
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