The past few weeks I have been hyper-aware of watching how people select a training partner. Following a fantastic conversation with Sarah G., I decided to ask a handful of CFD members what the thought process was behind choosing who (and who not) to train with. The detail behind the thought process for some was much thicker than I could have imagined. Most responses ranged from ability, height, experience, goals, strength and how much they talked or didn’t talk during class.
Here are a couple of ideas worth noting for future equipment and movement companionship.
1 – “Be a good teammate.” Bring good vibes to the floor, get what you came for and eliminate the self-limiting talk. Good hygiene is also a factor. Listen, you have to share a space for the next 20 – 30 minutes with someone. Take inventory of what you are bringing to the table and make sure you are an asset to the team. I still vividly remember training with Cathy D. at Lincoln Square last year during the final stages of competition prep for a meet. Although our numbers could not have been further apart, she gave me some of the best energy and encouragement I could have ever asked for. To this day it was the reason I was able to hit the numbers I wanted in the meet three weeks later.
2 – “Be a role model. Be a sponge.” There are days when I purposely work with a beginner or someone who is newer to the movement/programming for the day. And then there are days when I pick someone who I can chase. The days when I am the more experienced athlete I use it as a way to be a role model for someone else. Take some pride in being a role model and seek out someone to mentor. Watching someone who is better than you is an incredible way to learn. On the days I work with someone who is better than me I have to shift my thinking. Those are the days I am going to soak up their experience and work hard to improve my craft. I am going to be a sponge. Either scenario will make you want to step up your game if approached from the right mindset.
And to paraphrase a few of the notable resonses out of the 50+ that I received.
“I pick people based on who is here to work and who is there to talk. I don’t care about strength, experience, fast, slow or whatever. But I want to partner with someone who is ready to work hard.” AD
“Grabbing a gym mate for the hour is about working with someone who is much better than I am. I’d rather partner with someone that I can try to emulate in regards to movement and strength. I want to work with someone who is better than me.” RG
“Sometimes I pick someone based purely on height. Sharing a squat rack with someone a foot shorter is a lot of work.” DG
“I like to work with new people. I remember what it was like to be that person.” SG
“I just want to have fun. That’s how I pick my partners.” MT
Don’t be afraid to mix up your training partners. Don’t overlook the impact of being a role model for someone else. And don’t be scared to pick the best person in the room and use it as motivation. You might be surprised to see how transferable all these skills are in life.