The thought of a solo trot on the treadmill or lifting free weights alone sometimes seems so boring that it's easy to skip. But chatting and laughing with a workout buddy without even realizing you're clocking miles and burning calories? Way more enjoyable—and approachable! In fact, a pal can make you work harder, stick to a fitness plan (it's all about accountability), introduce you to new activities and help you drop more pounds. Plus, you'll have someone to share healthy recipes with and swap advice on overcoming struggles. (In case you can't tell, the benefits are endless.) If you don't have a friend you can turn to quite yet, don't fret. We've got three solid ideas for finding one.
1. Get social (media). Simply searching hashtags focused on your go-to activity will help you bond with like-minded people. That's how Laura Kasperzak, one of the cofounders of Two Fit Moms, found a yoga community. "I was just beginning my yoga practice when my niece told me to sign up for Instagram," she says. "I started posting photos of myself in different poses and then I would connect with other yogis and join challenges." Laura then turned her now-business partner, Masumi Goldman on to the mat. These days they host their own challenges (join the March one by using #DreamBigWithTFM) and encourage their participants to connect.
2. Head back to the classroom. At the gym, that is. The Two Fit Moms suggest going to your local health club or fitness studio and finding a class you like. It's easy to meet other women who enjoy working out (and particularly love barre, Zumba—or whatever it is you're doing) when you regularly go to the same sweat sessions. Then you'll have people who check in when you're not at class. Reach out to the women you meet when you're outside of the studio too and you'll expand your workout relationship.
3. Use tech to your advantage. Luckily, certain websites make finding fitness friends seriously simple. For those who want to get moving with a group, search your favorite activity—anything from walking to Pilates to jujitsu—on MeetUp.com and head to the next event. If you want a Match.com-like pairing, sign up for WellSquad.com. After answering questions about your exercise preferences, favorite activities and goals, you'll get linked to people who fit your criteria. Then you can message the partner who seems most promising.