Working out with friends is a great way to spend time together, make exercise more fun and push you to better results.

1. Set Smart Fitness Goals Together

Workout partners making a pact to achieve fitness goals.

Goals are a great motivator. If you and your friend are like-minded people who share interests in the same type of exercises or fitness routines, consider setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) based on your fitness levels. This could be training for a marathon, hiking on a nature trail every weekend or even taking up a martial art.

2. Be a Persistent and Consistent Workout Partner

Running together motivates

If you have a friend who gives up after a single training session at the gym, it is you who motivates your friend to exercise and persuade them to break out of their comfort zone.

Try to see things from their perspective and break them in gently as his/her fitness accountability partner. If your friend doesn’t like to break into a sweat but doesn’t mind walking through air-conditioned malls and window shopping, start by doing that with her. Then, sneak in mall workouts as part of the experience. The most important step is getting them to adopt a regular exercise schedule and take that step towards healthy living.

Dr Benedict Tan, Chief, Sport & Exercise Medicine, Changi General Hospital, who is an active runner, kite surfer, diver and skier, shares that his wife never used to exercise until his influence rubbed off onto her. “As a result of our time spent together, she began to join me during my runs. Today, she runs daily and sometimes 8km to work, and participates in full marathons.”

3. Make Exercises Fun

​​As the fitness accountability partner, suggest a yoga class to mix things up every now and then.

If the thought of working out still feels like drudgery to your friend, find ways that don’t feel or look like exercise, to exercise! Consider mixing up the usual gym routine with other activities and fun exercises like a dance class or cycling at the beach.

Dancing is a great way to pick up a new skill and get your heart racing at the same time. Latin or swing, check out these free aerobic dance classes in various locations all over the island, from selected gyms to malls.

Prefer natural scenery to the dance studio? Aim to go for treks and strolls in various parks, beaches and nature reserves, or join free group workouts available at selected parks on Sunday.

Check out how to join these programmes here.

Related: Game Your Way To 10,000 Steps A Day

4. Spice Things Up With Incentives

Two workout buddies discussing incentives for achieving their fitness goals

Everybody loves getting rewarded for something they’ve put effort into, and rewards incentivise efforts. Think of some small ways you can celebrate together for achieving your exercise goals. Whether your fitness goal is to build muscular strength by hitting the gym at least twice a week or improve cardiovascular fitness with at least 150-300 min of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, remember to give yourself and your workout partner a prize for hitting the mark.

This could be anything from a pedicure to shopping vouchers at their favourite shop. Small and consistent rewards will help keep the motivation up and also gives you a chance to show appreciation for your workout buddy!

Consider joining a programme like the National Steps Challenge™ that has ready-made tier goals and existing rewards for achieving said tiers.

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