While some people thrive on solo exercise, others need the extra push that comes from a supportive workout partner.
Research shows there’s strength in numbers. It appears that gym dropout rates are about 50% lower for those who start exercising with a gym buddy, as opposed to solo warriors, who apparently lose motivation quicker .
Today, we’re going to explore the benefits of starting your fitness journey not alone, but with someone like-minded. We will discuss how this approach can boost your progress and even have positive impact on your relationships.
Another thing we’d like to touch on is the benefits of swapping your gym buddy for a knowledgeable personal trainer – at least occasionally!
Intrigued? Let’s get started!
A Workout Buddy Holds You Accountable
In short, training with someone encourages you to get things done. It’s extremely easy to drown in the ocean of everyday excuses – and frankly, it’s not hard to opt for staying in bed or hitting a pub when you’re on your own.
However, it’s not all that easy to back out without a very solid excuse (we’re talking family emergencies and such, not a sudden laziness attack) if you’ve already made plans with a friend. Therefore, your buddy will hold you accountable for your progress – or lack thereof!
A Buddy Makes It More Enjoyable
For most people, bench presses and treadmill runs are not exactly exciting when served on their own. With a partner, however, things tend to be much more fun! Engage in a mini-competition, play basketball together, come up with exercises for each other…
There are much more ways to spice up a boring workout if you’re exercising with a friend.
A Buddy Will Challenge You
If you have a competitive streak, a workout buddy may be just what you need – especially if you pick your gym buddy wisely at the start. If your athletic abilities are in the same ballpark, chances are you’ll both want to quit the session around the same time. In contrast, if one of you is still going, the other person is much more likely to keep going as well!
Therefore, you can productively push each other – if you’re roughly at the same level, that is.
A Buddy Can Spot You
If you’ve always dreaded approaching a random guy (or a lady) so you could get a spotter, you will definitely benefit greatly from grabbing yourself a gym buddy!
By having a friend to spot you, you eliminate the need to count your reps and worry about dropping a set of heavy dumbbells on your chest. This will allow you to power through those super difficult extra reps, boosting your progress and improving your form.
Speaking of form, make sure you friend is actually physically capable of spotting you – a young newbie lady is not a great spotter for an experienced powerlifter! Another factor to consider is whether they know basic safety techniques and can help you maintain proper form. There is no room for mistakes here!
Please keep your safety your top priority – if you don’t have a friend familiar with spotting techniques, consider hiring a personal trainer instead. They are extremely knowledgeable and know how to perform your favourite exercises correctly, so you won’t get injured and will be able to get the most out of your gym session.
A Buddy Will Get You Motivated
Drumming up self-motivation can be tough after weeks or months of grueling workouts. Having a gym buddy can not only skyrocket your motivation, but can also give your confidence a major boost!
According to Barbara A. Brehm, Ed.D., professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Studies, at Smith College in Northampton, MA, “Exercise partners can provide a kind of gentle coercion and limit your negative self-talk”. As a result, your motivation skyrockets!
A Buddy Can Encourage More Variety
If your regular routine is getting a bit stale, you can always ask your gym buddy to share some of their favourite moves. Maybe they’ll be able to recommend an excellent group fitness class you can attend together, or will demonstrate a couple of killer moves from that fresh at-home workout DVD. Either way, you’ll learn something new and exciting!
Guaranteed To Reach Goals Faster
Motivation is a powerful thing. One study found that simply receiving a phone call every two weeks can increase your amount of exercise by up to 78 percent . Researchers explain: “Whether it’s smoking or alcohol use or physical inactivity, social support helps prevent against relapse. A light touch can have a lasting effect”.
In other words, the support doesn’t have to be constant – even a little bit goes a long way! So if you can’t agree on multiple sessions per week, at least spend one together to help each other reach goals quicker.
For the rest of your workouts, you can either keep exercising on your own (which may be tricky if you haven’t formed a habit yet!) or contact a personal trainer, who will gladly become your gym buddy for those kind of days.
Face it, life can get hectic. When you’re trying to work out with a gym buddy, you’ll most likely have to schedule your workouts so that it conveniences both parties.
Of course, as we’ve outlined above, it’s not always possible – but at the very least, you will be much more likely to try and accomodate. Also, chances are even if you won’t achieve 100% of the workouts together, chances are you’ll still show up for more sessions, as during planning you will identify “windows” in your usual timetable suitable for workouts, and by making note of them you’ll be much more likely to use them.
With a gym buddy, your workouts double as therapy sessions. Not only are you getting the benefits of physical health, but also emotional health! How?
Very simple: you’re very likely to engage in a conversation with your gym buddy, which will help you release the stress by discussing the latest gossip or even working through each other’s problems.
Sharing stories also makes time pass by quicker, meaning the workout will be over before you know it! Note on the side: if you have high intensity training scheduled for the day, don’t attempt to talk during the workout. You always have before and after for this!
Form a Stronger Bond Together
This bond can be especially beneficial for couples. Numerous lab studies confirm that couples report feeling more satisfied with the relationship and more in love with each other after training together .
Health experts consider exercise a wonderful example of the type of invigorating activity with strong positive effects attached. In summary, sharing training goals considerably improves the quality of your romantic relationship in a long run!
Celebrate Successes Together
Make your fitness journey more exciting by setting small goals and celebrating every few weeks – after all, there is no point working so hard if you don’t celebrate milestones along the way! Health practitioners advice against food rewards though  – instead, indulge in a new set of sports clothing or have a spa day together with your gym buddy!
What If You Do Not Have A Buddy To Train With?
If you are left without a buddy to workout with, our personal trainers tick all of the boxes above! In a perfect world, your gym buddy would definitely be a professional personal trainer.
Personal trainers simply know the best techniques to keep your form on point, as well as provide ongoing motivation and support. Simply put, they have pushed through extensive training to get where they are, and they know all the science behind your gym sessions!
Hope you found this article helpful, and enjoy training with your gym buddy, or better still – a personal trainer!
- Wallace, J.P., et al (1995). “Twelve month adherence of adults who joined a fitness program with a spouse vs without a spouse.” J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1995 Sep;35(3):206-13.
- Helliker, K. (2010). “The Power of a Gentle Nudge. Phone Calls, Even Voice Recordings, Can Get People to Go to the Gym.” Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704314904575250352409843386
- Aron, A., et al (2000) “Couples’ shared participation in novel and arousing activities and experienced relationship quality.” J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 Feb;78(2):273-84.
- American heart association (2014) “Celebrating Your Fitness Success”. Source: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/StayingMotivatedforFitness/Celebrating-Your-Fitness-Success_UCM_462210_Article.jsp#.V_ICJJN95Bw