Nov 18


A workout relationship can have many forms, sometimes it is beneficial to both parties and other times it is one person hanging on for dear life.

Many times with working out I compare the partnership to a boat and an anchor when docked. The anchor keeps the boat in place, preventing it from drifting out to sea and living as an example of fortitude, while the boat is there for support. For the anchor, the boat can be an important fixture that tests it’s resilience during stormy times and through the passage of time.

To an outsider the two need one another but in terms of the people working out, it isn’t always so…

The Immortal Anchor and The Reluctant Boat

An anchor is a driven person that lives and breathes the workout. On days when they are sick, unmotivated, or lonely, they will still find their way to the gym to get their workout in. The reason behind their drive can go way beyond looks and lifestyle for gym membership as they see the need to go as part of their survival, similar to eating and sleeping. The bonus to having a boat for an independent anchor can be something as important as having a living person to spot them on ass-to-grass squats, or making sure that they are safe when getting in an extra two reps on the bench press. The anchor sees the boat as a “buff” to their workouts, one that can get them to another level, but they do not need the boat, since the workout will always happen.

A boat will actively seek out an anchor in order to make sure that they workout. This isn’t to say that ALL boats seek people out, but having an anchor will be a necessary prop to make sure that you stay the course. The emotions that a good anchor will bring about in a boat is guilt (when the boat chooses a pizza party over the scheduled workout), happiness – when he/she realizes that they’ve made it to the gym all year, and success when their gains are spectacular due to staying the course.

Being A Great Anchor And A Good Boat

Being a good anchor means that you stay on top of your boat to bring his/her ass out to the gym on schedule, every week. An anchor will pull up to the uninspired boat’s house and wait outside for them to get in the car if they try to lie and get out of the workout. A standard conversation will happen like this:

  • Anchor: Hey boat you coming to the gym, it’s been 15 minutes and my pre-workout is kicking in.
  • Boat: Nah, Jen left me with the kids today.
  • Anchor: Stop lying, Jen is here on the treadmill and she told me your parents has the kids.
  • Boat: F%$k! I’ll be right there.

For the boat, the responsibility is to put extra effort into being reliable for the anchor. If a guy is used to benching 415 lbs because his spot is there to guarantee he doesn’t kill himself, he needs you there for the bench. If you find that you are a boat in a workout relationship, you need to understand that you are easily replaced since you need the anchor more than it needs you.

Having played both parts in a a workout relationship, I can tell you that chasing down a habitually absent boat can get old really fast. It is almost better to start working out alone and letting them drift away which means that more than likely they will. Boats tend to turn anchors into parents with the ducking, dodging and excuse-making, but a responsible boat should seek to buff not weigh down a helpful anchor.

Do you have a workout partner? If you are banging weights or running with someone else, which role do you find yourself playing? Let us do better when we occupy the boat role and not let excuses and laziness get in the way of our fitness goals. Gang!

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