Guerilla Workouts

Guerilla Workout: The Partner

It can be extremely challenging to keep motivated during a lull or a plateau in your training.  I know from experience that those times when you feel like you are getting nothing from training or you have an injury or you just get plain bored can be the biggest obstacles to staying on track.  I have found that the best training partners have been people I could not hide from.

At one point while I was in university I had two roommates that I regularly did judo and jujutsu with.  In the dead of winter, when I was swamped with school and just wanting to procrastinate, they would call me out, get me to the class on time and keep me honest.  And I did the same with them in the spring and summer when they wanted to just laze about in the beautiful weather.  It was a mutually beneficial relationship.

Jump to now and my best day to day activity if not training partner is my wife.  We are both relatively active people, but when we have free time we push each other to do things we might not do otherwise.  In the winter we cross country ski.  In the summer we go kayaking or canoeing.  All year round we go hiking.

Now that we live in Montreal, we have a very close local pool (side note, local pools are free to use for residents in Montreal) which we have been going to and swimming at a couple of times a week.  It’s great because between the two of us, it’s basically guaranteed that we will go swimming on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  When one wants to skip, the other is fired up to go go go.

I know exercising with your partner isn’t always ideal for everyone, but having a close friend or relative who won’t let you wiggle out of exercising can fill that role too.  The key is to be accountable to someone else.  That’s why fitness classes or martial arts classes can work well with the right mix of people – often people start these classes to ‘get fit’ but stay with it for the camaraderie.

Group goals are a great way to add an element of accountability.  How many times have you stayed late at work because you didn’t want to be the weakest link in the chain?  Well, the same can apply to a fitness class.  If you all are working towards a common goal, no one will want to flake out because you all wish to succeed.

An example: when my wife and I lived in Ottawa, we decided to take advantage of all the free local skating rinks (not to mention the canal) and we started skating.  We were terrible and had never really learned to skate before, but it was a common goal to learn to skate and an activity that got us out of the house together in the dead of winter.  We had fun skating and learned something new.

Sometimes a great way to build a team, or a relationship for that matter, is to be really terrible at something for a while.  Once you reach a level of success together, this accomplishment can become the basis of support needed to take on bigger tasks.

I hope when you next reach a plateau in your training you will have some around who will keep your nose to the grindstone and give you the motivation to keep moving.  Good luck!


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