Studies have shown that people who workout with a friend or workout partner spend more time exercising than those who workout alone.
Many of today’s apps try to offer company for you by creating large online communities where you can inspire and motivate each other as well as recording or boasting about your achievements. Can a virtual partner really replace a real life workout buddy?
There’s even an app now, called Gymder, which aims to hook you up with a suitable real life partner for those workout sessions! But is a workout partner really what you need to take your fitness program to the next level, or is it simply another distraction?
Having made the decision to embark on a fitness regime, perhaps the next biggest decision is whether you workout alone or call in the services of a friend or gym buddy to help you train. We’ve all seen those two friends at the gym laughing and joking together as they workout, but are they really achieving more of their fitness goals or would they be better simply working out alone and concentrating on the job in hand?
Everybody is different when it comes to exercise, some people find it much easier to train alone while others may yearn for that social interaction and accountability that a gym buddy can provide. Although it’s well understood that exercise can improve your fitness and overall health, there are no clear rules whether working out alone or with a partner is better.
Let’s take a look at the benefits often quoted by fans of working out alone before seeing why introducing a partner to your fitness routine can be of benefit, sometimes with research to back it up.
The Perks of Working Out Alone
You’ll often find the same reason quoted by many of the people who prefer working out alone; if only they knew how much they had in common with each other.
Definitely the most common reason for wanting to work out alone is freedom. Freedom to work out whenever you want, wherever you want and doing whatever you want. If you have a spontaneous need to go for a workout at some ungodly hour you can just go without worrying about calling your workout buddy at short notice.
Your workout is probably very unique to you. Maybe you prefer a longer session in the aerobics room rather than the weights room, or longer on body-weight exercises than core training. Whatever you prefer you can do it without having to wait around for a partner to finish whatever they are doing.
You can focus more on your workout without the distraction of talking to somebody else.
Working out alone gives you the option of slipping on those headphones and listening to the music which helps keep you pumped. You could even take a language course if you’re left by yourself when working out.
For many people exercise is an ideal time to be alone. Time to relax and clear your head when stressed, or work off a bit off tension from the day.
And finally of course, maybe you simply don’t like other people!!
Why Choosing to Workout With a Partner Can Boost Your Fitness Regime
This can be the biggest advantage of working out with a partner. We all get those mornings when we don’t want to get out of bed, let alone go to the gym but none of us want to let anybody down so working out with a partner adds more accountability to your routine. The workout buddy can also motivate you to do more by asking about your progress and checking in on a regular basis.
Workouts can be more fun when you choose to workout with a partner. Just plodding along on a treadmill isn’t the most exciting way to pass your time but throwing another person into the mix can spice things up. One, it’s somebody to talk to, but more importantly it’s somebody sharing the same experience and maybe even someone to compete against.
Working out with a partner can help vary your routine. Many workouts are fine performed alone but there are also workouts where you need a partner to spot you or even some that are developed to use your partners body weight along with your own. The following body-weight workout has been designed for women who prefer to workout with their friend or partner and will get both your hearts pumping.
You’re more likely to stick to your fitness goals when working out with a partner as you don’t want to give up too easily in front of others when the workout seems more challenging. One study noted that 95 percent of people who started a weight-loss program at the same time as friends completed the program compared with only 67 percent who chose to follow the program alone.
Choosing a workout buddy with a greater fitness level than yours can also be a way of pushing yourself harder as nobody wants to be considered the weakest link. This is known as the Kőhler effect with Kansas University finding that people who exercised with somebody they thought was better than themselves increased their workout time and intensity by 200 percent.
Of course with all this extra intensity and time spent working out, safety can be a major consideration. Not just having somebody to spot you when you’re lifting those weights but also somebody who understands your limits and can tell you when you’re working too hard.
Choosing to workout with a partner can also bring the costs of working out down. A personal trainer for a one-on-one session may cost upwards of $85 at some gyms but when you choose a partner-training package the cost may drop to under $50 per person. Ask at your gym about the different pricing options and maybe consider finally getting that previously unaffordable trainer package split between the two of you.
Fitter by Association
As your partner gets fitter, you will often find yourself getting fitter too. A study published in the journal Obesity found overweight people tend to lose more weight when surrounded by fitter friends who are more active.
Boost Your Mood
The well-known effects of exercise on elevating your mood and reducing stress are further enhanced when working out with a partner according to findings of the American Osteopathic Association. Working out together can be a great way of friends enjoying each other’s company and increases your motivation further with less chance of missing a session.
Workout Alone or With a Partner? The Choice is Yours!
Arguing all the merits of working out alone or with a partner could take almost as long as running a marathon but at the end of the day it’s a matter of personal preference. The research we’ve look at tends to suggest that working out with a partner can help you exercise more, achieve better results and stick to your fitness program better than working out alone. Plus it can be much more fun too, never a bad thing.