Getting a workout routine down and sticking to it day in and out is challenging for most of us. Despite our good intentions, we end up abandoning our routines within a few weeks. Is it worth the trouble to find workout buddies?
…or will they just drag you down?
Some stats on workout buddies
Training just two times a week with a partner had a 78% increase on exercise level after 18 months. When you exercise in a group or with others, you’ll push yourself 160% more than if you trained alone.
Here are some key benefits you’ll get when you work out with a buddy:
You’ll achieve your fitness goals
As we mentioned above, people who have workout buddies exercise 78% more than people who don’t. That translates to a huge difference between how fit you become over time. Furthermore, you’re much more likely to follow through with your workouts for long-term goal-achievement.
You’ll have more confidence
A partner in crime will make you feel more confident when you hit the gym or try some new moves. Everything will feel less intimidating. And, there’s safety in numbers when you’re outdoors in unfamiliar surroundings.
You’ll work harder
Even if you aren’t normally competitive, just knowing your workout buddy is watching forces you to perform better. To take full advantage of this, try choosing workout buddies who are slightly fitter than you. Why? Studies show that a partner who represents an attainable goal is more motivating than someone who you perceive as being markedly more (or less) fitter than you.
Your form will be better
You can trust your buddy more than the mirror (and your judgment) to help you with your form. Unlike the mirror, your buddy has a 360-degree viewpoint. Plus, you’ll have a spotter available any time you need it. When it comes to walking and running, a buddy is useful for checking your stride and timing your intervals.
You won’t have as many injuries
What gets us in the most trouble when we work out? It’s not the exercise or equipment. It’s our ego, pushing us when we should be backing off. A good buddy can tell you when to turn it in for the day so you avoid injury. They can also spot over-training syndrome long before you’re willing to admit it.
It’s more fun!
Popping in the earbuds and listening to your thrashed-out playlist has its place in warding off unwanted attention from others. But doing that every work out can make you feel isolated. Silly jokes, conversation, and egging each other on makes your routine more interesting and the connection is something you’ll find yourself looking forward to.
You’ll see changes faster
You might think you see changes, but “hmmm… is it for real?” A workout buddy will be the first to confirm that something has changed. Workout buddies are the best at spotting things most people won’t ever notice. And because they know you well, they can say “Hey, your butt looks great today!” without sounding creepy.
You’ll have more adventures
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Getting bored is the #1 reason people will quit working out. Workout buddies can lend a fresh perspective on your routine, or help you switch things up so you don’t get burned out.
You’ll be more committed
We all know the good advice to schedule your workouts into your calendar to make them happen. And we all know what we do next… we forget to schedule them. When you say you’re going to work out with someone, you’re planning ahead, even writing a reminder or actually putting it on your calendar so you don’t flake. That means you won’t flake on yourself, either.
Is it smart for couples to workout together?
Couples who sweat together tend to get healthier together. A 2015 JAMA study found that when one partner adopts healthier habits, the other partner is more likely to follow suit.
Couples who exercised separately had a 43% drop out rate in 12 months compared to 6.3% for couples who trained together. The couples didn’t have to be doing the same type of exercise either; the common denominator was simply going to the gym together.
And there’s a little extra bonus when you drag your sweetie to the gym…
Can’t find workout buddies?
You don’t have to. Here are three alternatives to having workout buddies.
Have you ever bumped up the incline when you have a stranger working out next to you at the gym? Or maybe you just couldn’t resist passing people in front of you on the track or trail. That’s called the Kohler effect; a burst of motivation when you work as a member of a group. So workout in a place where other people are, pick someone you think you can take on– and go for it!
While not human, activity trackers and pedometers can keep you accountable as well. Raising awareness that you are being measured or tracked changes your attitude towards your performance. Knowing the stats is often enough to egg you on to beat your last record.
#3 Text Messages
Getting a phone call, even if it is just voice recording can be enough to prompt you to go to the gym. It doesn’t have to be every day. Even just once a week, have somebody call or text you to ask how your workouts are going. Anticipating the call or text will keep you on track.
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About the Writer: 100 pounds ago, Jan knew what it is like to be obese, unhappy, and stuck. She has spent the last 15 years as a fitness writer, trainer, yoga teacher, and Weight Loss Coach. Today, she’s proud to be a part of the Personal Trainer Food team so she can continue her goal to help others live their fullest lives possible. Email Jan@PersonalTrainerFood.com if you have any questions!
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