The things that I have missed the most after leaving GoodLife and moving to Cochrane, Ontario to become a wildland firefighter have been many. I miss my friends and family of course. I miss grocery stores that have more than twizzlers and cheetos in stock. I miss the times when Tinder had seemingly unlimited girls to judge simply based on 4 photos and a Marilyn Monroe quote. I miss the times when not owning a pickup truck didn’t automatically make me gay. However, the thing that I miss the most is having people to train with who push my training to another level.
Before distance prevented it my friend Alex and I would train every Sunday together. Usually squats and usually with more weight than I was comfortable with. In fact the first time that we worked out together I am ashamed to say that I had to skip the last set of leg extensions and spent the next 2 hours curled up in a ball on the changing room floor. However after that session I knew that I had found something valuable. Every time Alex lifted more weight than me I knew I had to push myself as hard as I could to try to beat him at something. Even on a day when I was hungover, dehydrated and not in the mood to train I still showed up because I didn’t want to bail on him. I definitely recorded more squat PR’s in a few months training with him than I ever did on my own over a few years. Here are a few reasons why you should get yourself a good training partner.
1. Having a training partner holds you accountable.
It means that on days when you don’t want to show up to the gym because you’re tired, don’t think you have the time or are just hungover you know that you have someone there waiting for you. It forces you to do things that you are uncomfortable doing, which is the whole point of training in the first place. When you tell someone that you want to lose 10 pounds in a month and then they see you eating a bowl of icecream they will tell you that you are a fatass. This helps. Having a friend or even better a group of friends to provide motivation and support is vital if you want to be the best that you can be in any area of life, and training is no different. You are going to go through some tough times in your training. Injuries happen, time is always an issue and life constantly throws up obstacles. Having someone there to motivate you is essential.
2. Having a training partner provides you with free coaching.
Alex is probably twice as strong as me and has way better style but I was able to provide him with a few ideas to try out on his squat and they turned out to help him greatly. It is impossible to see what your body is doing under heavy loads unless you are videotaping yourself or have someone watching you. Having a training partner there to spot for you and to provide you with feedback and advice has been very beneficial to my training and I have definitely become stronger because of it. Don’t be afraid to train with someone who is into a different discipline than you. Coming from different fitness backgrounds (crossfit, bodybuilding, powerlifting etc.) can be a benefit as you can combine your respective pools of knowledge in order to get an even greater edge.
3. Having a training partner gives you someone to compete against.
I know that many people out there just aren’t that competitive, but having someone constantly beating you isn’t the best feeling and sooner or later you are going to feel the competitive itch start to creep up on you. When Alex and I trained together he was frequently using 50-150 pounds more than me on most lifts. I knew that I wasn’t going to lift more than him on that day, but seeing him crush a set of squats 150 pounds more than what I was going to handle made my lifts seem easy. It’s a lot easier to back out of a set or stop a few reps short of your breaking point when you are alone, but when you have someone watching you it makes a huge difference. Even if my dog is watching me do pushups at home I will grind out a few more reps so that he won’t call me a bitch. He says it with his eyes.
I saw a great quote the other day that said “surround yourself on the same mission as you” and this really rings true in regards to training. If you are surrounded by people who all want to get strong, and be badasses in general, than you will become a strong and be a badass. So in conclusion find a short little brown guy to train with who can squat over 2 times his bodyweight and takes stellar instagram photos and you will become strong.