The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Gym partnership

I get a lot of requests to be someones workout partner, or to do a workout here or there with people. I don't mind hitting the weights with people, I like the company, but for the most part, my workouts are my time. They're when I clear my head, put my nose to the grind and build muscle and strength. It's not generally my social hour. I also have very specific conditions I like to workout in. I like to wake up early, take some BCAA's, get a bit of caffeine in me and then train fasted. I do this all before noon, which is when I break my fast. Most people aren't on board for this for numerous reasons, whether it's because they don't believe in fasted training or that they don't want to give up their morning sleep time. Both understandable, but know that if I'm going to the gym in the afternoon with you, I've already done a heavy lifting session that day and I'm there for fun.

But, this general attitude towards gym partnerships makes people think that I believe you can only make progress if you're working by yourself, which is undoubtedly false. But I do have a certain philosophy about the lonesome road of success...


The Loneliness of Choice


You can have any amount of success you want and your desires and passion can bring you closer to obtaining your wealth, but like a butterfly landing on the edge of a sword, you'll often find yourself resting their alone. 

Methods and practices of the super successful are not inherently group activities, they are the methodical self deconstruction of the ego by individuals who can't sit back to ponder their self worth for too long without feeling stagnant or even stupid for doing so.

Company is fantastic, but others are inconsistent, where as you are the constant. Depending on others for your success is as beneficial to you as depending on alcohol to get you through a day. Except worse, because beer and spirits will do what it's told and is fully under your command, where individuals have souls that occupy their corpses, they bear the burden of choice as well.

Disappointment



What it actually is...



Unfortunately, it seems that the idea behind most gym partners is not community, but accountability, which means shame to Ol' Yeargain's eyes. The motivation isn't derived from the improvement of self but from not appearing less to others, which is a very powerful tool, but not a consistent or sustainable one in my experience.

My primary fear for people who start gym partnerships is the potential animosity one builds, or the idea of one training the other. One is progressing more or one is slacking, there are countless scenarios that could end negatively.

Girlfriends or Boyfriends as Gym Partners




Let the record state that Ol' Yeargain is not giving relationship advice, God knows I don't have a strong record with relationships and fitness. But I think there are a few things that are borderline common sense that come into play when trying to build a fitness relationship that goes along with building an emotional one. The most important one being that you shouldn't try to get them to workout more because you want to change their appearance. They'll see straight through that shit and bring about a hurricane of self doubt and animosity.

What this all boils down to is what kind of partner you're looking for or if you're interested in a potential marriage type commitment and feel you need to share the majority of your life practices with your partner. You want to find someone that's as serious with your fitness as you are, which can either mean casual, intensive, or not at all. I'm not sure blending lover, coach, and psychologist is the best situation to be put into, but who am I to argue with people's dynamics, as long as it's agreed on by both parties. Some people prefer more submissive roles, at least in some areas of their life.

However, if you're a person who needs alone time, finding a person who likes to workout alone or not at the same time or not in the same manner is gonna give you that much needed time. (Introverts Unite!!!)

A Tip: If you're gonna workout with a partner, plan more time than you're used to to workout. The point in having company is comradery, relationship building and sharing equipment. You should talk in between sets, assuming you're lifting heavy (which you should be, fool), it will give you adequate rest time and make it enjoyable. So, don't workout with someone if you don't have an ample amount of time to do so. There is nothing worse then getting half of a great workout when you could have a full great one if you didn't drag your feet.

My parents go to the gym together all of the time, and their individual commitments combined with the competition aspect of working out together has vastly benefited their results. However, they've also been together for over 25 years, I'm not entirely sure it would have been as effective if it was something that they have always done together.


The Benefits of Partnership


Not to say that the process of success has to be an entirely lonely one, or that you should not seek help or company in your venture to the top...or the middle, wherever you want to go. But I've always felt that achievements that you've obtained from your own sweat, blood and precious time feel a bit nobler, whereas if they are achieved contingent on another, you're sharing that trophy.



People will probably read this and think I'm dogging on people who don't work out alone. This is far from the truth. I love company in the gym, I always feel like I work harder, lift bigger, and have a way more enjoyable gym experience. And I usually get to know that person a bit better and they me. It's great! There is a huge tradition of YouTube collabs where people with semi Youtube celebrity status get together and train. They train really fuckin hard, set PR's, and make jokes, basically the definition of a good time.


But these things don't come with every person you workout with, there are certain qualities you have to look for for a semi regular gym partner. 


Things to Have in a Gym Partner


Let's be clear, these qualities aren't just found in men, I've had some great workouts with women. My friend Ashley is a great workout partner, she's willing to push herself, is very supportive, and doesn't complain (too much. Lol.)

  • Someone to motivate you, to help you get your reps.
  • who is near the same experience level.
  • with a similar schedule.
  • with similar strength and aesthetic goals.

Things not have


Someone who -

  • Bullys you
  • Makes you go past your boundaries in a detrimental way.
  • Never wants to finish.
  • Drags you down.
  • Is always complaining.
  • Is always educating.
  • Is always wanting to be educated.
  • Is a braggart.
  • Condescends.
  • Who is way superior in strength and experience (teacher student relationship, this is why you hire coaches and instructors.)
  • Has to give up a lot of time to fit your workout schedule.

Conclusion


Finding time and energy to workout is hard enough as it is, you don't need any more obstacles manifested in another human to aid in this struggle. You also don't want to get caught up with an individual who's going to sour an activity that can not only be beneficial to your health, but can also be very rewarding.

So, just like picking any type of partner, be careful and picky. Hold out for that perfect partner, y'all. They're out there!

See what I did there?


Until next time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It. 

The Opera Bro

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