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Want to get fit? Find a tribe

If you have New Year’s resolutions or fitness goals, you need a tribe — a group of guys and girls who will walk (or run, cycle or dance) beside you and encourage you to be the best you can be. You need friends who won’t let you skip workouts and will spur you to do things that you think you can’t.

Jill Morris, owner of Hub City Runners in Spartanburg, has helped runners and triathletes achieve things they never thought possible by creating a community of athletes. The store offers group runs and online training groups to help people find like-minded friends and achieve goals together.

Facebook groups also provide a place where athletes can post their workouts and cheer each other on as they meet goals. People of all ages and ability levels come together for group runs and rides. Experienced athletes offer their expertise to help new athletes, friends are made, and as a result, people achieve fitness goals that were once only dreams.

“We have had people come in who would say, ‘I could never run a half marathon or triathlon,’ but they join a group and with a little encouragement, they do things they never thought they could,” Morris said. “The most important thing is to have an accountability partner or join a group. I tell people if you will make a commitment and find an accountability partner, you can do amazing things and have fun doing it. Our motto here is ‘do hard things,’ because it is hard. Getting out the door can be hard, but when you do, there are so many rewards.”

David White, senior wellness director at the Eastside YMCA, agrees. He recommends that you find a buddy who knows more about fitness than you.

“At the Y, we can sometimes pair people to work out together,” White said. “When two or more people get together to workout, it is just more fun.”

Fitness classes can offer a place to workout with others and find accountability partners.

“It is a lot harder to skip a workout when you have a friend there who will miss you,” White said.

He advises looking for a fitness class that will be fun for you.

“If you love to dance, you might want to try Zumba,” he said. “If you have two left feet and hate dance, you might want to try a kettle ball class or weightlifting class.”

White said it are the connections people make in their fitness classes that help them stick to the program.

“We had a member come in last year who was overweight and tired,” he said. “She couldn't pick up her kids and was tired walking down the hall. She got involved in our classes and has lost 50 pounds. She goes to our Beast Mode class, and is now one of the fittest in the group.”

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