Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”

Hi everyone! And welcome to Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays when we take stock of why it’s soooo much better to be here rather than there. This week: Friends.

Real friends wear PINK

Friends can really make or break a healthy lifestyle. I find that people definitely take on the attitude and habits of their group of friends, for better or for worse. My clients have often expressed the need to make new friends because their current posse wasn’t really down with their new, healthier lifestyle. Then again, many of my clients have taken their crew along for the ride and inspired new attitudes and fitness goals in their friends that have turned late-night drunkfests into early-morning 5Ks. I love it when that happens!

It’s tough to make good friends outside of the academic world. In school we’re all forced to be together for hours and hours every day, so we make alliances and BFFs and, sometimes, a friend for life. If we’re lucky. As we reach adulthood, move away, change our lives and our habits, so too do our friends change. Some we outgrow, some we realize weren’t all that great to begin with, and some just fade away. There are those precious few whom we manage to keep in contact with over the years, but more often than not, they don’t live nearby. At least, they don’t for me. I love all of my “old” friends, too, but too few of them live within 500 miles of this fine city, so I made some new friends (but kept the old) along the way!

Karaoke rules!

So, here’s to Friends. Here’s to the friends who keep me healthy. Here’s to the friends who meet me for any early morning spin class on the weekend just so we can catch up a little bit while we sweat A LOT. Here’s to the friends who join me for my runs (or parts of them) and listen to my endless chatter along the way. Here’s to the friends who modify their already fabulous dinners for me so that I don’t feel weird about what I can or cannot eat at their dinner party. Here’s to the friends who hold umbrellas over me so my wedding gown stays dry. Here’s to the friends who come out and cheer me and my gorgeous husband on when we run marathons. Here’s to the friends who RUN marathons with me…even in San Francisco. Here’s to the friends who throw parties for me that are exactly my taste (karaoke is awesome, admit it). Here’s to the friends who fly in and surprise me for my 30th birthday. Here’s to the friends who invite me to their hot yoga classes in spite of my super-human talent to sweat more than anyone else in the room. Here’s to the friends who come to Run Club when it’s so humid, it’s almost raining. Here’s to the friends who support my running charity endeavors. Here’s to the friends who ask about the latest race or doctor’s appointment, despite knowing the reply is going to include bathroom talk.

Here’s to the friends who are down with the healthy stuff (and a drink here and there) because “friends don’t let friends…” and all that good stuff. It took a long time for me to feel comfortable saying no to the unhealthy options in life and seek out a group of like-minded friends. It took me way out of my comfort zone and was a little bit lonely at times, but I have found so may new and new-ish friends who are like-minded, healthy, active men and women whom I am absolutely honored to call my friends. I raise my (squeezed juice) glass to you, my friends, old and new. You rock my world.

Can your friends do this?

If you’re looking to meet some new people who have similar fitness goals as you, consider joining a running club or making a point to go to the same class at your gym so you can start to get to know the people who dig what you dig. Pace groups are an excellent place to meet people and chat about life, current events and, what else, running! I’ve had some of the best conversations of my life on long runs with friends. Then again, there’s nothing quite like sweating it out and getting your om on with new friends in a yoga class or kicking butt together in a kickboxing class. I always feel less afraid when I try a new class with a friend, don’t you?

Grab a friend and go for a run. Or a spin. Or a stretch. Or a walk. You get the idea.

I wonder, what kind of healthy activities do you and your friends have? Do you meet up for a class or hit the pavement together? Did you sign up for a scary boot camp this summer and promise each other you’d be there every single morning? What do your friends bring to your fitness world?