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I have a riddle for you. What would you call people who can: help keep your weight off, boost your confidence, and make fitness fun? You might call them “miracle workers.”We call them Fitness Buddies.

Most people make the mistake of going it alone. Sometimes, it’s just too tough to stay consistent by yourself. But a fitness buddy won’t let you quit.

Fitness Buddies are two or more people who commit to helping each other reach consistent goals with friendly encouragement and regular contact.

Why does a good fitness buddy help you get results? By offering accountability, motivation and consistency. By mixing these three ingredients, you can create a rewarding, effective relationship that’s lively and a little lighter.

Finding any old fitness buddy isn’t hard, but finding the right one may be a little tougher.

At the top of your priority list should be someone who has fitness goals similar to yours. Just because you get along well with someone in your book club doesn’t mean she’ll help you get to the gym regularly.

Get a gold-medal worthy body

It also helps if your buddy’s schedule already works with yours, so you don’t start off with a built-in excuse to break your consistency.

A motivating buddy supports and challenges. So make sure the person you’re considering is just as committed and eager as you are. A twisted arm is not going to stick around long.

Look for someone who will be upbeat–even if you get discouraged–and can hold you accountable without passing judgment. You want a stress reliever, not a stress producer. Nothing kills consistency like negative energy.

Outside the home, fitness buddies can often be found within groups. Community centers and gyms are gold mines for hiking, biking, running, walking and sports clubs. Sporting goods stores often host programs as well. Check the calendar and announcements section of the local paper or look for community forums online.

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