I used to always think that working out alone was far more effective when it came to my training regime. I could maximise my time so that I didn’t have lots of waiting between reps and sets. It meant that I wouldn’t get distracted during my workout by chatting and it meant I was able to start/finish my workouts when in suited me. Finally, I’ve always said that working out is my “me time” and where I get to switch off from everything and just focus on me. Surely – throwing a training partner into the mix would totally mess all of this up?
A few weeks ago, after reaching a bit of a plateau with my training I agreed to start training with a friend at the gym. At first I was unsure as to how this was going to work and whether I would actually get an effective workout…….I was worried it would end up just being a social workout with more chat than sweat!
Four weeks into our new training plan and I am not too proud to admit that I was totally wrong – there is definitely more sweat than chat and actually, i think maybe I’ve been missing out over the past few years by training alone.
So why not give it a go. Here are my top 5 tips for why I think everyone should at least try a workout partner (especially if you are new to exercise)
Firstly, I am not saying that just “anyone” will work as a workout partner, however, when you find someone who shares similar fitness goals with you then you will be surprised by just how much not only your motivation will increase, but your reps and sets also!
On those early mornings or dark evenings when the last thing you want to do is workout – you still go! Why? You have made plans with your workout partner and you don’t want to let them down. Chances are she is probably thinking the same thing but it doesn’t matter, you both motivate each other and you turn up! (and you feel amazing for it afterwards).
When you are side by side with your training partner, working up a sweat during a killer cardio session on the stair climber – the last thing you are going to do is a) let them beat you or b) quit! Having that partner there increases that competitive spirit and spurs you on when the workout is tough to keep you going.
Having someone there with you to motivate you and hold you accountable for reaching your goals, can in fact speed up your progress! Studies have found time and again that peer pressure is a powerful tool and whether its reducing the amount of alcohol you drink, take aways you eat or exercising more, a workout partner will help you reduce risk of relapse! When you are working towards similar goals, you don’t want to fall behind your workout partner and therefore are more likely to work harder to achieve them in a shorter space of time.
When working out alone it is easy to fall into the trap of doing the same workout plan with the same exercises over and over again. There may be a new piece of equipment in the gym that you are reluctant to try as you don’t want to head over to that busy corner of the gym on your own. With a training partner, your confidence increases and you are more likely to try new exercises, test out new equipment or classes as the fear of failure and “gym – timidation” is reduced.
Even if your training partner isn’t a personal trainer, they can still provide feedback on your technique to make sure you aren’t putting yourself at risk of injury.
There are so many videos available on YouTube that you can both use as a guide to what you should be looking for. As you get tired during a set of exercises, your form is more likely to be affected and this is where your training partner can come in to support you.
These are just a few of the benefits of training with a partner so why not give it a go? It doesn’t have to be at the gym, it can be to go out for a run, a walk, an exercise class or even to take turns going to each others house and doing a workout DVD. Whatever works for you, try it with a training partner and see if you notice any improvements in your progress!