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#NoNewFriends? Finding Friends along Your Fitness Journey By: Tyler Oliver

People travel through life’s stages at different times and speeds. As you travel through your own journey of self-development, you might find your closest friends sprawled out among the spectrum. Some behind, some ahead, and maybe a few beside you, traveling at the same pace. And this fact can be applied to every area of growth: faith, fitness, finances, self-awareness & improvement – you name it.

This isn’t a bad thing, however – it’s just how growth goes! But just like growth, facing this truth can be uncomfortable, and you might resist the idea of pursuing your new life stage to preserve your established relationships or stay comfortable. I hear a lot of this from my friends who have desires to get more involved in fitness, but don’t have friends who can double as work-out buddies. If this describes you, I want to encourage you to press forward, and also share some ways to navigate the #yesnewfriends path in your fitness journey.

First:  Write Down Your Goals

This may seem like a weird first step, but I always recommend doing this to everyone who mentions wanting to make changes to their fitness lives. The truth is having fitness friends who keep you accountable is an awesome motivator – however, if you’re solo – dolo on this walk, YOU will have to be your own accountability partner. In my opinion, there’s no better way to do this than to clearly state your goals, write them down, and put them in an easily visible place to refer back to them. For me this was Notes on my Iphone (lol). This step isn’t a failsafe but trust me, IT WORKS. If you’re serious about your goals, these reminders will help you keep them at the forefront of your mind and make it easier to adapt the behaviors needed to reach them.

Look for Local Resources

A great way to meet new fitness friends is to get involved in the fitness things that are happening around your city, locally. Instagram has become the go-to place for all things fitness. Try searching hashtags to find challenges or events to participate in. This is a habit that my fitness friends and I have adopted as we look to expand our network here in Orlando. Group fitness events are mostly free or inexpensive and are a great meeting ground for other fit-fiends. Also a lot of commercial gyms offer unlimited group classes within their memberships. These classes are great ways to connect with people who have similar fitness goals.

Invite Friends to Get Involved

It’s okay to encourage your seasoned friends to join you on your journey! Maybe you’re the only person in your family or friend group that 1) has fitness goals or 2) has a desire to reach them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t invite your loved ones to get active. If anyone’s going to do it- it needs to be you! The people in your close circle know you the best and an endorsement for exercise could go a long way coming from you. Inviting them to the gym or a class can motivate them to join in the future and start their own journeys, alongside yours. I included this point at the end because even though we’re including our forever friends into our new fitness circles, we’re NOT dependent upon them. We’ve already established personal fitness goals and are working toward them, and we’ve already joined a challenge, gym or workout class and met new folks.

This is just us “being the change we wish to see,” by challenging those in our lives to make positive changes in their lives too.

So, next time you’re planning for your fitness goals, or on Instagram looking for some #fitspo - be sure to tag a friend and invite them to get in on it with you. And don’t be scurred to say #YesNewFriends in tomorrow night’s group class! You got this!


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