Photo Credit: The Dean Apartments  

Finding the motivation to exercise can be difficult at times and an exercise accountability partner might be a great way to help you build better habits toward achieving your goals.

USA Today reports that a full 67 percent of gym memberships go completely unused.  But even among those who do use their gym membership, many are not exactly what you’d call regulars. ( According to the CDC, only 24.2% of adults aged 18 and over meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.

The stats prove that exercise consistency is something most people struggle with. When your exercise accountability partner is counting on you, it gives you a reason to “show up” to each workout. They can provide guidance and feedback for your exercise routine, they can provide an added “fun factor” to your workout, they can offer a positive source of competition that will drive more effective output, and so much more.

If you’re in the market for a workout partner, consider the following:

Find a Fitness “Buff”

Someone who really knows what they’re doing when it comes to fitness, and loves working out can be a great exercise accountability partner. Some people will find success simply by having exercise guidance and a wellness routine to model themselves after. Consider someone you know, like a friend or family member, who is passionate about fitness that you admire. Or maybe the guy or woman that you always see at your apartment gym. There is a good chance that they would love to share their passion. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Another option is paying for a fitness professional, which creates immediate accountability with someone who can lead you step by step through a workout and will help track your progress.

Find a Friend Like You

Someone that has similar fitness goals or someone in a similar stage in their fitness journey as you can be a great exercise accountability partner. According to research from Arran Davis, et al. (2015), reciprocity and social cohesion help to produce more output and better outcomes in exercise behaviors. Of equal importance, relativity matters in motivation and goal setting. Researchers (Garcia, et al., 2013) suggest that when an individual is pitted against someone who is like them, or when they perceive themselves as closer to their own “future-self”, they are generally motivated more and driven to work harder. Find a friend who is in a similar stage of health and fitness, and together you might be the perfect workout motivation for one another.

Photo Credit: Swell Athletic Clubs

Find a Group

A group of people or community that you feel connected to can be great a great source of exercise accountability. Social psychologists often examine in-group dynamics and the effects that various ‘identities” have on our decision-making abilities and motivation. Research from Luise Reimers, et al. suggests that, for better or worse, we are often more driven and altruistic with people from our own “in-group.” Fortunately, you likely associate with many groups and communities, for example, your hometown, your alma mater, your ethnicity, your field of work—the list goes on. The point is to leverage the types of affiliations you already have and find a social group, a fitness class or boot camp, or even a gym that caters to people like you, such as your age group or lifestyle and supports your goals.

Find Someone Who Brings You Joy

Most importantly, someone you want to see and spend time with daily or weekly will be a great exercise accountability partner. You will be more likely to show up for someone you genuinely enjoy being around. Developing the desire to show up consistently with the help of someone you care about is a surefire way you will find long-term health and wellness success.

In conclusion, setting yourself up for success with an exercise accountability partner can come in many forms. Set personal goals and consider what exercise guidance you need, the level of competition that drives you, and the emotional support you need before seeking out your partner. Make exercise more enjoyable and fulfilling with the encouragement of others.



Davis A, Taylor J, Cohen E. Social Bonds and Exercise: Evidence for a Reciprocal Relationship. PLoS One. 2015 Aug 28;10(8):e0136705. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136705. PMID: 26317514; PMCID: PMC4552681.

Garcia SM, Tor A, Schiff TM. The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2013 Nov;8(6):634-50. doi: 10.1177/1745691613504114. PMID: 26173228.

Reimers L, Diekhof EK. Testosterone is associated with cooperation during intergroup competition by enhancing parochial altruism. Front Neurosci. 2015 Jun 12;9:183. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2015.00183. PMID: 26124701; PMCID: PMC4464174.