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The Benefits of Having a Workout Bestie

Before there was a website, before there was an Instagram account, and before there was a YouTube channel, JOJA began when two friends decided to start working out together. 

Jo and Jas would meet up for workouts (either IRL or online depending on their schedules), hold each other accountable for reaching new fitness goals, and swap health & wellness tips. 

Fast forward to the present, and Joja has grown into a community that’s almost a million strong. It’s become a place to motivate, support, and encourage one another, and where people of all fitness levels can learn how to lead a healthier life. Still, though, it’s based on the same simple principle that having a workout bestie makes everything better. Finding someone who can be a partner for you on your fitness journey, like Jo and Jas are for each other, can be a total game-changer. 

“Finding a workout partner is one of the BEST things you can do to hold yourself accountable from a fitness perspective,” says Katie Austin, Fitness Trainer, Certified Health Coach, and Founder of Get Fit With Katie. “It can be so hard to wake up in the morning when your alarm goes off and it’s dark outside (I’m looking at you, winter!), but knowing that there is someone else out there that is counting on you to get out of bed and meet up for a workout, whether that’s virtually or in-person, is actually lifechanging.” 

For Austin, it’s all about finding a workout partner who has a similar mindset to your own. “I always talk about how important it is to keep a positive and passionate mindset about life and this should absolutely be transferred over the way you approach your fitness,” she says. “If you’re looking for a person to workout with, look for someone who stay positive and is passionate about their journey! It doesn’t matter what fitness level they’re at. Even with my workouts, I have people from around the world, representing all different levels of fitness, and we’re still able to work out together! 

If worse comes to worst, Austin says you can modify your workout to fit your partner’s or vice versa. “Find someone that is going to inspire and motivate you to get you out of bed in the morning and show up as your best self,” she says. “Let’s start crushing those fitness goals!”

Keep reading for a conversation between Jo and Ja, in which they talk about the benefits of having a workout bestie, while sharing an inside-look at how working out together has changed their individual health & wellness journeys for the better.

When did you start working out together and what inspired you to start in the first place?

Josephine: It was right around when I started working at Victoria’s Secret, so that had to have been around 2013… That was when I did my first show with them. 

Growing up I never thought about fitness as anything. I just didn’t know about it. I knew about team sports, and those were fun, but then modeling happened, and your agent and everyone you know in the industry is like, “don’t lift weights. Don’t get big,” and you’re like, okay… You believe that. 

Seeing you, I was like, “what do you do?” You said you lift, and I like, gasped. We had known each other for a while, but that was when our friendship really started. Instead of coffee dates or regular hang outs, we would meet at the gym, and we quickly bonded over that.

Jasmine: I was working out by myself for so long because every other model was afraid to lift weights, so it was nice to have someone to work out with. I think it made it that much more fun. 

Even now, if I go to the gym by myself, I dread it a little bit. If I have you there, it’s so much more fun and goes by way quicker. 

Jo: I don’t know if it’s me missing team sports, but it’s so fun doing it together and I find I have less excuses. If it’s just me, it’s easy to say, “oh I’ll do it tomorrow.” If I know you’re standing and waiting at the train, I’ll go. Having a workout partner has been the biggest gamechanger in my fitness journey. 

When did you both start documenting your workouts and growing a community around fitness? In other words, what inspired you to start Joja?

Jas: It was never even a plan to start documenting our workouts. Our first documentation of Joja was on-set for Victoria Sport. We saw these two girls who were amazing at acro-yoga, and we were like, “why don’t we try a pose at the end of the day?” Before that, we had never taken videos or photos of us in the gym together. We did a pose, and we were like, “should we make a fun Instagram? We were so young and funny. 

Jo: I don’t think we meant for it to be educational, but, very quickly, we realized how many girls don’t think you should lift weight. Obviously, every body is different, but it was an eye-opener for me when we made the account how stereotypically we still look at the gym and fitness, especially when it comes to women. 

Jas: In the beginning, and even now, so many people all around the world can’t afford a personal trainer or can’t find the time to get to a physical gym space. So, for our audience to have a place to find workouts they can do at home … I feel like that what was really drew people to us and what inspired us to keep posting. Even before COVID happened, we saw this little space. We were like, “people need to get these bite-sized workouts they can do in in their house or in their backyard.” 

It was also nice, because we were getting experience from some of the best trainers around, so we were able to share that with people who might not normally have access. 

Jo: I get equally as much out of it as our followers! I love that people feel motivated by it, but again, I was just as motivated by it. If I have to upload something new, I think to myself that I might as well workout. I feel like Joja became a friend away from a friend. If we weren’t together, and so we couldn’t work out together, we still had that Joja commitment together. It was almost like Joja became our third fitness partner. 

Jas: Yes! I hate booking a session with my trainer and just being like, “okay, I’m going there by myself,” because you have those in-between moments when you just want to hang out with your girlfriends. It makes it so much more fun and makes the time go by faster when we’re in it together. 

Jo: It also pushes me because I have a competitive nature. If we’re in the gym and you can do squats with 20 pounds more than me, I’m like, “okay, I have something to work on.” It’s competition, but not in a negative way. It’s motivating. 

Do you have any tips for starting to work out with a friend? How do you make time your schedules? What if you’re traveling or not in the same place? 

Jo: Well, it can be intimidating to work out with someone who’s not on the same level as you when it comes to their fitness journey. You don’t have to be on the exact same level, but, if you’ve got a friend who is somewhere on the same journey as you, that’s a great starting point.

This is where the internet is beautiful. When we’re not in the same city or whatever, we’ll send each other pictures or videos. We’ll wake up to do a 6 am workout, and we’ll send a picture to each other to document it, so there’s still that accountability. 

Jas: I agree. Find someone who is kind of on the same level as you and set a goal, if that’s like “we want to run a marathon next year…” 

Jo: That’s an aggressive goal!

Jas: I mean, we may never do it… but if you like running, then that’s a good goal! Maybe you want to gain more muscle mass, or you really want to tone up. Whatever it is you want to do, setting a goal together and keeping each other accountable is a great way to start working out with a friend. 

Jo: Even if it’s just like, “we have to work out every Monday.” Or “three weeks from now, we both want to do 20 + pushups.” I know that has helped my mom and one of our other friends. They didn’t have time to go to the gym, but they each did 100 pushups the best they could throughout the day or 100 squats. It might seem like a lot in the beginning, and then suddenly, you’re like, “oh, I can actually do these pushups no problem.”

Jas: Yeah, honestly, the hardest part is starting, but once you start and you’re in a routine, you don’t want to stop, and it becomes a little bit addicting. You just have to squeeze it in. If you know you have the busiest day in the world starting at 8 am, workout at 7 am. 

Jo: I do find that when I don’t prioritize working it, it stresses me out. It makes me sleep less. There are just so many benefits for my mental state. It helps me to stress less, deal with anxiety, sleep more, and like I said, check in with my friend. We do it together and it really helps. 


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