1 + 1 > 2

I had a shoulder injury a few years ago.

After that, I struggled to go back to working out consistently.

I signed up for an expensive gym.

They had an incentive where I had to pay a penalty if I wanted to cancel my membership in less than a year.

I bought into it thinking that it would push me into going to the gym even if I don’t want to, because I’m paying for it and it costs a lot to cancel.

Three months passed and I only went to that gym four times.

I realized financial pressure as a source of motivation was not working for me.

As painful as it was, I paid the penalty and canceled my membership.

A few weeks later, I was telling this story to my colleague, he told me he goes to a group workout gym, he has been going there for two years.

He mentioned that they offer a free trial session and I should go with him once.

I always had an awkward feeling towards group workout gyms, I didn’t see a point in them.

I wasn’t that inclined to going, but wasn’t opposed to it either. I responded with a hesitant “sure”.

I thought to myself: I just won't bring it up and he'll forget.

The very next day he messaged me: “I’m hitting the gym at 5:45, wanna do your free session? I called them and asked, they still have free spots.”

He already had gone above and beyond for getting me into the gym, so I gave it a shot.

The class was intense, and I haven’t been working out for a while.

Ten minutes into the class, I was completely out of breath. I barely tried to keep up.

Everyone else made it look easy, meanwhile I was gasping, my legs were heavy, and my lungs were burning.

I would never push myself this much when I went to the gym by myself.

I would rest more if I felt tired.

I would go home sooner if I didn’t feel like working out.

I would lift lighter weights if I wasn’t in a good mood.

But none of these matters when the class had a fixed one hour schedule and a coach was constantly watching over me.

Besides, others were running or lifting by my side, doing the same workouts and making me feel like I was the lazy one.

After the class I was physically dead, but mentally, I felt alive.

I signed up.

First few weeks were basically my colleague poking me with a "gym 5:45?" text message and me finding enough motivation to book the class.

It became a habit for me after that, an essential part of my life, and I kept going consistently.

I still need the occasional "gym 5:45?" nudges from time to time though.

But I figured it's not just me who loses motivation.

Some days a seemingly insignificant “gym 5:45?” text from me would bring him to the gym, even though he was not feeling like doing it.


I was talking about signing up for a 10k running event with a few people I just met, and one of them mentioned that he used to run marathons.

It peaked my interest because I always liked running but had never ran anything more than 5 kilometers before.

We chatted a bit more and I threw the idea of going for a 5k run next weekend to practice.

He was down for it.

I had no way back.

Saturday morning, I saw myself waiting for him in running shoes, contemplating about why the hell I’m here.

We ran a 5k that day, and it felt lively.

We did another 5k next week, a 10k the week after, and a 10k almost every weekend for quite a few months.

I’m writing this on a weekend, at the time where I would usually be running a 10k with that same friend. But he is sick today, and I’m on my own.

I decided to go for a run by myself.

As you could guess, I still haven’t.

I’ve been procrastinating this run for 4 hours now, with every productive and unproductive activity possible.

I played video games, cooked, watched TV, and now I’m writing these stories.

You know what made the difference? The conversation the night before that said: “Let’s go for a run Sat 10am” followed by “Hell yea, see you then.”

I wouldn’t be running every week if it wasn’t for my friend, and he wouldn’t be running every week if it wasn’t for me.

Now I'm not saying you should go and find a group workout gym and sign up for it.

I'm also not saying you should go and run every week.

What I am saying is that if you want to do something hard, find a buddy.

You will be amazed to see your combined willpower outperform your individual willpowers combined.

I hope the math in the title is mathing for you now.

Ok, gotta run now.