So, it turns out that the buddy system isn’t just for little kids crossing the street. This week I’m discussing how training with a partner can be a great idea and can help you get into shape faster. But there are some important things we need to consider to make sure you and your partner are a good match.

How to choose a training partner:

First things first, you need to choose the right person that will complement your style of training and your goals. For example, if one person wants to train to build size and muscle, while the other person is training to cut down and get lean and ripped, your training styles will conflict. The person who trains for hypertrophy will be eating differently, doing more compound exercises, have longer rest periods and will be doing less sets, lower reps with heavier weights. Therefore, it is important to make sure both of you are on the same page so that your training styles and goals align.

You also need to consider each other’s schedules and what time of day you both are able to train. Be realistic about when the best time is for YOU. No matter how badly you want to train with someone, if it’s going to make you late, cut into your workout time or stress you out trying to get there, it’s not the right fit. You and your training partner should have complementary energy levels so you aren’t forcing a morning workout if you are clearly not a rise-and-grind kinda person.

Another important point to keep in mind is choosing a training partner that matches your level of intensity. You may want to train with your buddy, but if they annoyingly chat too much in between sets, insist on doing counterproductive pre-workout cardio, or, even worse, spend too much times taking selfies (shudder), this will only hold you back. You need someone who will push you and who is up for a challenge.

You can even have more than one training partner to suit each of your fitness interests. You can have someone you do your weights with, someone who you meet at the gym for cardio, another friend to do a stretching or yoga class with, and a few other friends you like to do outdoor activities with, like hikes or team sports.

A few other benefits from having a training partner include:

You will work out harder – Whenever you’re working out with someone else, the intensity is always going to be greater than when you’re alone. You will push each other, and you don’t want to look like the weak one, do you? A little competitive spirit never hurt anyone; in fact, it will help you both!

Accountability – After a long, tiring day at work, you might consider skipping your workout, but not if you know your partner is meeting you at the gym. It’s one thing to cancel plans with yourself but it’s another to cancel on your friend—someone who’s counting on you. You’re much more likely to meet your friend for a planned workout session at 6 p.m. compared to tentative plans you made with yourself for, say, sometime after lunch. And your partner needs to be equally accountable to you, think of them as an employee. If they are constantly late or pulling no-shows or canceling at the last minute, or showing up hung-over or exhausted…. it’s time to fire them! You owe it to yourself to have a responsible, motivated training partner.

You will always have a spotter – Never again will you have to approach a random person and ask them for a spot. Never again will you have to count your own reps. If you have a spotter, you can push through that threshold you wouldn’t have been able to do without a little help from your friend. You can now go power through the 11th, 12th and 13th rep. And each of those additional lifts will add up and make a difference. Your spotter can also watch your form as you work.

So, as you can see, having the right training partner can be extremely beneficial, but having the wrong one will hold you back and slow down your progress. So, if you are wanting to train with a partner, remember these considerations and keep in mind that they don’t need to be of the same sex or age, it s all about that fitness chemistry!

I use myself as an example. When I started training with Kosta, I had limited knowledge of bodybuilding and barely any muscle. A year later, I’ve put on 30lbs of pure muscle and my knowledge of weightlifting and nutrition is extensive. In return, Kosta gets a permanent spotter, form-critiquer, motivator, and best friend to be accountable to. A year in and we have not missed a single workout. Finding the right training partner helped to transform my body, greatly increase my knowledge of fitness and supercharge my passion for the sport!

Written by Angel Simmons for Kosta