Why having the right workout partner can make the difference By: Jessica Jessie, MCPT hen I was a little girl, I dribbled and juggled soccer balls all day. Ultimately that helped me earn a soccer scholarship from Virginia Commonwealth University. As a professional NFL cheerleader for the Washington Redskins, weekly weigh-ins motivated me to learn everything I could about fitness and nutrition so I could perform on the field. Now I love my job as a master personal trainer and certified nutritionist. For three years, I used my knowledge and pushed my body to the limits as I competed in the IFBB bikini division (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness). I’m proud to say that I graced the Miss Olympia stage twice and competed in the prestigious Arnold Classic. But I couldn’t have done it without great support. My life-long partner in fitness, motivator and best friend has always been my cousin Sarah. 146 || FITNESS M A G A Z I N E || APRIL / MAY 2015 Sarah, an assistant professor in kinesiology and sports psychology at James Madison University, has always kept me on the right path. Whether we are working out together or simply talking about fitness on the phone, my cousin has pushed me in the gym as much as I have pushed myself. The benefits of having a workout partner are undeniable. A Stanford University study found that even just receiving a phone call about your fitness progress once every two weeks can boost the amount of exercise you do up to 78% (on average). And that’s just with phone calls! Having a workout buddy by your side in the gym can reap even greater rewards. Here are five benefits.