Some people prefer to workout alone, and don’t need much outside motivation to commit to getting fitter. Many others, especially those who are joining a fitness center for the first time, can have a hard time sticking with a routine once the initial enthusiasm wears off. Finding a friend to workout with can provide the perfect solution if you need help with motivation and prefer social activity. The benefits of a good workout buddy include:

  • Motivation to workout consistently. It’s much easier not to hit snooze when the alarm goes off if you know someone will be meeting you.
  • Longer, harder workouts without even thinking about it. As you focus not on your pain, but your friend’s company, workouts will seem easier and fly by faster.
  • Fun and a little competition. It’s just plain more fun to workout with a partner, and if either of you is remotely competitive, it can benefit your fitness to have a friendly rival.

Finding a workout partner might seem simple, but it can actually prove difficult to find someone whose fitness level, goals, and schedule coincides with yours. There are vast differences between just any partner and the perfect workout partner for you. Choosing the wrong one can be frustrating, derail your fitness goals, and potentially ruin a previously good friendship, so don’t make the decision lightly. Here are the top 7 qualities you should look in the ideal workout partner:

  1. Accountability. Take a look at the prospective partner’s track record – are they punctual and consistent, or are they constantly no-showing and running late for other commitments? Their accountability in other areas is a sure sign of whether they’ll consistently show up at the health club for your workout sessions. It’s much easier to decline a partnership with someone who isn’t dependable than it is to break one off without hurt feelings.
  1. Motivation. Is the person someone who is motivated when it comes to fitness? What about other pursuits? Although this is an area you should be able to help one another with, starting out with someone who isn’t motivated may turn you into a personal trainer instead of helping you reach your fitness goals.
  1. Similar goals. Speaking of goals, are the potential partner’s in line with yours? Being as specific and honest about your own goals will help you determine this. If one person just wants to ‘tone up’ while the other wants a total body overhaul, there may not be enough common ground to enable a workout partnership.
  1. Similar fitness level. This goes both ways. While it’s great to encourage someone else to improve their fitness, if theirs is significantly different, you may grow to resent having to make accommodations that shortchange your own workout. Similarly, you may be unknowingly holding your fitter friend back from getting the most out of their workout. You can still encourage others in different places along the journey to fitness, but it’s better to pick a partner who will in sync with you.
  1. Synchronized schedules. You may have found the perfect workout partner, but can only meet them at the fitness gym when the planets align perfectly. Schedule compatibility is very important if you want someone to workout with on a consistent basis.
  1. Focus/passion. How seriously do you take your workout sessions? Finding someone with similar level of focus and a passion for reaching certain goals will enable greater success. If you’re passionate, but your partner is someone who goes to socialize and wants to go for ice cream after, the two of you may not be compatible.
  1. Mutually supportive. Lastly, motivation and encouragement should go both ways. If you’re the only one giving or receiving, the workout partnership is out of balance.

Don’t be discouraged if you go through a few before finding the right one. Just like any relationship, fitness compatibility can be complicated. Don’t be surprised, though, if examining

these qualities causes you to take a harder look at yourself. Being the kind of person that attracts the perfect workout partner is a great place to start. As the cliché goes, it takes one to know one.