Buddy Up for Greater Success (in Love and Weight Loss!)

A 2016 study at the University of Aberdeen shows that exercising with a companion increases the amount of exercise people take. This maybe comes as no surprise. But what’s interesting is the type of support people flourish with. The researchers divided support into two types, emotional and instrumental. They found that people exercised more when their companion offered emotional support, such as being encouraging rather than practical support like never missing a session.

But we don’t need the research to belief it; proof of how successful the ‘buddy sytstem’ can be was recently highlighted when we noticed a group of Motivation clients on our FB page who had been in contact with each other, sharing weight loss tips and their own success stories. New friends, as well as new figures! We also often see couples who come in to embark on a weight loss journey together (if you’re interested in this, please contact us directly to ask about a discount for couples).

By working in a ‘buddy system’, you carry each other along – some days it may be you who doesn’t feel like getting up off the couch and going outside to exercise, while on other days it may be him or her who you need to encourage or cajole out the door. Just by having that ‘pressure’ of not wanting to let someone down is often enough to get you going – and you never regret it afterwards.

You could make regular fitness dates with your weight loss partner. How about joining a spinning class together? Or even something more gentle, like yoga or pilates? And it doesn’t have to cost anything. You could aim to jog around a nearby park twice a week and bring a stopwatch to time each other, or even doing a decent one-hour walk twice a week could bring about a huge change to your shape and to your energy levels (never mind your relationship!).

Where to Start?

Why not recruit your very own weight loss ‘buddy’ this week and see how it goes? Ask a friend, colleague or even someone from your Motivation clinic to partner up with you, say for the next 8 weeks. It could also be your partner at home – maybe decide together that you’re going to ban sugar and alcohol for a few weeks and work hard to support each other to become healthier in those 8 weeks. Or go on that walk together every evening or every second evening; it’s a great way to get active and to catch up, without the distraction of screens or children.

Next, decide what your final goal will be, such as the number of pounds of fat you want to lose together, or the decrease in inches you want to see. Between now and the end of the year, it would be highly reasonable to say you could both drop a dress size, or lose as much as one stone each. Make a goal that is achievable for you both. Alternatively you could break your weight loss challenge down into smaller goals – such as losing three pounds over the next few weeks – and check up on each other at regular intervals to keep motivated.

Enjoy the Rewards Together

Of course, a huge benefit of having a weight loss buddy is that you can enjoy the rewards together. The reward of weight loss is fantastic in itself but, also, how about building in some smaller, non-food rewards along the way? You could book a night away in a hotel (with spa treatment included) or a shopping trip for new clothes. Start putting some money away now (say 50 euro each week for six weeks and you’ll each have 300 euro for a lovely two nights away in January or February!).

There are also relationship rewards for couples: exercising together can benefit a marriage or relationship. In fact, couples who exercise as a pair are not only fitter and more confident in their appearance, but are also more likely to stay together, according to recent studies. According to relationship coach Corinne Bloom, “Many of our frustrations stem, not from our relationships, but from the fact our lives are dominated by mental activity; we are physically frustrated. If you get outside into nature and work out together, you release toxins and disperse this frustration.”

Not only does exercise release mood-enhancing endorphins and adrenaline but it leaves couples feeling energised, which makes them feel happier and attractive in themselves and, in turn, more affectionate towards others. Studies show that both men and women are more sexually responsive following short periods of intense exercise. Also, by making a joint plan and putting aside time for each other with intent, the benefits are huge. In fact, studies show that this ‘fitness commitment’ hugely benefits the relationship: couples who take out gym memberships together are not only more likely to stay together but also are more likely to stick to a fitness schedule, according to the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.

A Little Support Goes a Long Way

The aim is to work together with your weight loss partner (or partners) towards a goal that is achievable by a certain date. This means long-term changes to the food you eat and the amount of physical activity you take.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who achieves their weight goal first: the most important thing is that you continue to motivate and encourage one another each step of the way. In fact, if you have improved your overall health, lost some weight and become closer as part of the competition, then you’ve succeeded in many more ways than one.

So, our advice is to give it a go: buddy-up once or twice this week, and will no doubt,   soon be enjoying the many benefits of having an exercise or weight loss partner .

Blog Post by Maebh Coyle