The Buddy System a la Texting

BuddiesLast summer a girlfriend and I realized we were both in a work-out slump. We wanted to be exercising regularly and we knew the exercises we wanted to do (mostly running, Pilates, Yoga, and a few weight routines) and we both categorized ourselves as morning exercisers. However, we were severely lacking the motivation to actually get up and work-out. Somewhere a light bulb went off and we decided to put our cell phones’ unlimited text plans to use and thus began our version of The Buddy System.

Normally, when you think of a buddy system you imagine running side by side with a training partner, holding someone’s feet during sit-ups, or spotting a friend while she lifts weights. Though my friend and I have an equal desire to work-out, we have very different exercise routines and fitness goals and so our buddy system does not actually entail working out together. In fact, the most exercise we’ve ever done together is our annual participation in the local dog walk which is more of a tradition to surround ourselves with a wide range of four-footed friends than it is exercise.

Starting the buddy system in the summer gave us the advantage of getting our bodies acclimated to waking up nice and early with the sun already up to help us motivate. We chose 6 a.m. as our rise and shine time. The simple system is that whoever wakes up first sends a text message to the other and the other person responds to confirm that they are indeed also awake. It would be nice if setting an alarm would be enough to motivate out of bed, but it’s so tempting to hit the snooze button; when you’re responsible for communicating with someone at 6 a.m. guilt alone will get you up.

Our morning texts range from the groggy “up?” to a simple “mornin” to the more peppy “up and at ’em” or “rise and shine” to gruff messages of “up lazy” or “out of bed slacker.” Whatever lanugage you are most comfortable using with your friends is likely to be the easiest way to motivate each other out of bed. Sometimes a gentle nudge is all that’s needed but there are certainly days when you need to be dragged kicking and screaming out of bed; amazingly, a text message can do both of these depending on the word choice. We’ve also discussed the other little wonders that text messaging does to get one up; for example, attempting to type on small little keys early in the morning requires enough concentration that by the time you’re done texting, you’re awake. My phone happens to light up and it’s just enough light to get my attention. The trick to the buddy texting system is to make sure you add texting to your cell phone’s plan!

Admittedly, we have fallen off the buddy wagon a couple times, but only for brief intervals. We are on right now and more dedicated than ever. In fact, we have been such advocates for this buddy system, that our network has grown. My friend and I now each have another friend that we include on our wake-up texts and there’s really no limit to our buddy network. It really is amazing how much easier it is to get up at 6 a.m. when you know you’re not alone.

R u up yet?

2 thoughts on “The Buddy System a la Texting

  1. Elizabeth

    I recently found your blog from my coach Christine, I love this buddy texting idea. I have friends in lots of places and I think this could work to get us working out together!

  2. Natalie Post author

    Thanks for visiting the site! The texting really is so easy. A friend in SC is sometimes on the system and it works no matter where you are. We’ve used it when we’ve both been traveling and still need to get up to work out. If you have a phone that allows you to text more than one person at a time, it’ll be a cinch to wake all your friends up as early as you want! What are you training for at the moment?


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