Race Review, Training

Different fitness levels: how you can still work out with your buddy

If you are into fitness, sports and a healthy lifestyle it is very likely that you have friends that are too. And you would like to spend time with your friends, so working out together seems much more sensible than having coffee and cake or going to the pub. You might also want to work out with your significant other. (couples beware!)
But what if your workout buddy or workout partner has a completely different fitness level?

Very often it ends up being very boring for one buddy and frustrating for the other, resulting in frustration and conflict.

So to avoid this here are my top 7 workouts for different fitness levels.

 

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Spartan Race with my workout buddy Gemma

1) E-Biking

No matter if you like to mountainbike or prefer cycling on the road, getting an e-bike has definitely crossed your mind. The small incorporated electric motors will speed you up and help you, when it gets tough.

They can also help your cycling buddy relationship by helping the less strong cyclist level up the speed. This way both of you can go for a ride together at the same speed.

And no, only one of you gets to use it.

2) Running intervals in a circle

Intervalls might not be your preferred running workout, but sometimes you have to do them.

Doing them together will make them a lot easier, as you are both pushing the other person.

One option is to go to the local track together.

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On the track with my workout buddy Tina

Or you can do the “Fartlek Friday” intervals that I stole from Captain Claudia of the Adidas Runners London.

They go like this:

Pick a loop in a park that is somewhere between 200 and 500m long. Both of you go around the loop in opposite directions. Whenever you meet you high five the other person and switch pace. By doing that both of you will get the same intervals in terms of time.

Btw: This workout is also works great for groups.

3) Strength training by time

Same principle as above: doing burpees sucks, but it sucks less if you do them together. But to avoid pressure and unnecessary competition don’t count them by number of reps, but by time.

So instead of doing 3 sets of 20x burpees, 20x squats and 20x situps, do 3×3 minutes instead.

Therefore it does not matter if you are faster or slower, you will still finish together.

If you are lacking ideas of what exercises you could do, consult the runtastic results workout generator.

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Hanging out with my workout buddy Bianca

4) Hiking with weights

I absolutely love hiking in the beautiful Austrian mountains, and I a lot of my friends do too. But hiking together when your fitness level is different is not great. It is either too hard or too boring.

But there is a simple solution: the sherpa principle.

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Hiking with my workout buddy Lunden

What does that mean? The stronger person has to carry all the equipment, water and food just like a Sherpa on Mount Everest.

If that is still not enough, you can still put a weighted vest on your super human mountain runner. Trust me, it will slow them down.

5) Bouldering

The joy of bouldering is the fact that all levels can do it together as different difficulty levels of boulder problems are mounted on the same wall. Yes, if you are a beginner you will envy the advanced. But they will not make fun of you because they once felt the same.

And you can still see them being stuck somewhere at a higher level.

Just remember: there is always a problem more difficult.

6) Try something completely new

This is especially a good idea if both of you have no experience in that type of sport. Trust me, there is always something, that you both suck at equally.

Some suggestions:

Curling, AcroYoga, Golf, Baseball, Stand Up Paddling, Salsa Dancing etc

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Trying Acro Yoga for the first time

7) Use the different fitness levels to your advantage

Sometimes it can be great if you work out with a fitter partner. He or she can push you beyond your limits or help you when you would otherwise be stuck.

The only precondition is that the stronger partner is supportive and not egoistic.

Some examples:

Running: One partner schedules a recovery run when the other one does a tempo run

Climbing: the stronger partner leads a new route

Stretching and resistance training: the stronger partner works like an extra weight or adds resistance.

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Stretching with your workout buddy

No matter what you decide to do, working out with a buddy is always a lot of fun and keeps you accountable at the same time. Perfect combo!

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