Working out with a partner can help you stay committed and motivated. Whether you are a regular gym-goer or just getting started, working out with a friend could be a big help.

Not convinced? Here are some reasons having a training partner is a good idea:

1. You’re More Motivated

You are far more likely to work out when you have scheduled it ahead of time and, especially, when canceling means inconveniencing your friend. It’s no surprise that it’s much easier to skip the gym when the only person you are letting down is yourself.

In addition to keeping you accountable, your partner can provide a boost of motivation to do one more set when you feel like giving up.

2. You’re Likely to Enjoy a Better Workout

The friendly competition that comes with working out with a friend can push you to take your workout to the next level. Studies have shown that those who work out with a partner have improved aerobic and anaerobic exercise performance (1, 2).

So no matter what your method is, working out with a friend can help you reach your goals. Additionally, having a partner at the gym ensures that you always have a spotter, enabling you to safely lift heavier with less risk of injury.

3. You Have a Less Stressful Workout

Physical activity has long been lauded for its role as a stress reliever, but the effect is more pronounced when your time exercising is shared with others close to you.

For example, one study evaluated the effects of exercising with a partner on 136 participants (3). The participants either exercised alone, with another person while talking, or with another person while remaining silent. The study found that exercising with someone could be calming yet more tiring due to the increased competition and workload.

Choosing Your Partner

Here are a few considerations when choosing your workout partner:

  • Your workout partner doesn’t have to be your best friend, but it should be someone you like, enjoy spending time with, and don’t want to disappoint.
  • Make sure that you choose someone who has similar goals in mind and is willing to commit to the same level of training as you. Consider your spouse or significant other first. Studies have shown that couples who work out together are less likely to quit compared to those who work out alone (4, 5).
  • Bonus: If your preferred partner is in better shape than you are, don’t worry. Having a fitness partner who you perceive to be at a higher level of fitness can actually lead you to push yourself, get more out of your workouts, and burn more calories (6, 7).

Fitness Partner Tips

  • Be on time.
  • Motivate your partner to reach their set goals.
  • Suggest new ideas and routines to keep things interesting.
  • Always be encouraging and uplifting.
  • Look out for poor form, as this can result in injury.
  • Smile.

References

  1. Irwin, B.C., Scorniaenchi, J., Kerr, N.L. et al. Aerobic Exercise Is Promoted when Individual Performance Affects the Group: A Test of the Kohler Motivation Gain Effect. Ann. behav. med. (2012) 44: 151. doi:10.1007/s12160-012-9367-4
  2. Rhea MR, Landers Dm, Alvar BA, Arent SM. The effects of competition and the presence of an audience on weight lifting performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 May;17(2):303-6.
  3. Plante TG, Coscarelli L, Ford M. Does Exercising with Another Enhance the Stress-Reducing Benefits of Exercise? International Journal of Stress Management (2001) 8: 201. Doi:10.1023/A:1011339025532
  4. Wallace JP, Raglin JS, Jastremski CA. 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.
  5. Beverly EA, Wray LA. The role of collective efficacy in exercise adherence: a qualitative study of spousal support and Type 2 diabetes management. Health Educ Res (2008) 25 (2): 211-223. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/her/cyn032
  6. Plante, T.G., M. Madden, S. Mann and G. Lee, 2010. Effects of Perceived Fitness Level of Exercise Partner on Intensity of Exertion. J. Soc. Sci., 6: 50-54.
  7. Kansas State University. (2012, November 26). Burning more calories is easier when working out with someone you perceive as better. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 2, 2017 from sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126130938.htm

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