In a world full of text messages and social media comments, it’s easy to become isolated while being in constant communication with others. Have you ever thought about calling a friend, but decided to text them instead to see if they were available to chat? I catch myself doing this often as if I would be imposing on their busy schedule. The more access we are given to each others’ lives through technology, the lonelier we become.
This happens quite often with fitness as well. In the past, I’d choose to exercise alone in the gym while plugged into my headphones or follow a fitness video at home because of how easily accessible it was. I never realized how much encouragement, motivation, and fun I was missing out on until I started to attend a workout class. Not only did I meet people who made working out so enjoyable, I realized that I wasn’t alone in my fitness journey.
I know how easy it is to talk yourself out of working out with others when you feel like you might hold them back. As I attended classes with friends, I realized that no matter what my fitness level status was, they encouraged me to try my best and give it my all. No one looked down on me for not being able to complete 10 pull-ups. Instead, they celebrated the five that I could do.
As I worked out with others, I noticed how they improved and became stronger each week. This excited me because I knew that I could achieve similar results, as well. When I was working out alone, I could only compare my progress to… my own progress. I didn’t have anyone around me to look up to or push me to do better. Watching my friends lift heavier weight, run an extra mile, or complete more reps motivated me to do the same.
My workout buddies and I initially connected over fitness, but we eventually learned about each other’s interests outside of the gym. One of my friends randomly asked me one day after class if I had ever surfed. I hadn’t, and she invited me to join her that weekend for surf lessons. We had a blast outside of the gym doing something that she was passionate about. A few weeks later, we took a trip with a few of the ladies in our workout class to surf in Costa Rica. Although we weren’t all that good at surfing, we had a great time laughing and getting to know each other.
As I heard stories from my workout buddies about their health and fitness journeys, I realized that I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only one trying to lose weight or become stronger. I wasn’t the only one struggling to live an active and healthy lifestyle. They were too! And now that we had become friends, we had each other to lean on, to reach out to when the struggle was real, and to hold us accountable.
Combining relationships and fitness is a great idea! Rather than focusing on achieving your fitness goals alone, allow your friends to encourage and motivate you. When you feel like giving up on your goals, cling to their support, energy, and accountability. Above all, remember that you aren’t alone! For more thoughts on the importance of finding community and creating connections, tune into Episode 47 of the Fit Is Freedom podcast.