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Is working out with someone else better for you?

January 10, 2019

Is working out with someone else better for you?

While everyone has their own particular workout routine they stick to, for some people, having someone alongside them as they exercise allows them to reach their full performance potential. When everything falls upon you to ensure you’re getting the physical activity needed for a healthy lifestyle, the pressure can begin to mount, occasionally making skipping workouts a more appealing option. For those who may struggle with motivation, working out with friends or in group sessions may provide the liability necessary to stick to a strict exercise schedule. Research even agrees with this statement. Take a look at whether working out with someone else might be better for you:

More people, more calories?

Anyone trying to find corners to cut when it comes to burning off calories might want to take note of this study. Researchers from Kansas State University tested athletes to see if working out with a partner had any impact on the amount of calories they lost, as well as increasing the intensity of their workout. There were two parts to the study: The first featured subjects instructed to work out on stationary exercise bikes for six sessions spanning over four weeks. They were told to ride the bike for as long as they could while exerting as much energy as they could summon. The second part of the study featured the same group of participants, except this time they were paired with another partner who was participating in a different lab, being connected via video screen. While the subjects were told that the person on the screen was a new subject partaking in the first installment of the study, in reality the screen was displaying looped footage of someone riding an exercise bike. In addition, the athletes were told that the person they were watching had ridden the bike approximately 40 percent longer than they previously had.

During the first part of the study, the average ride time for the participants was 10 minutes. After they had been exposed to the looped video and informed that the person on the screen was excelling them in performance, the riders were recorded at riding an average of nine minutes longer than they initially did in the previous session.

Dr. Brandon Irwin, a professor at Kansas State University and lead researcher in the study, described how adding that competitive factor into the equation seemed to bring out the best in each of the tested subjects.

“We created the impression that the virtual partner was a little better than the participant,” Irwin said in a statement. “That’s all they knew about their partner. In this group, participants rode an average of nine minutes longer than simply exercising alone. We found that when you’re performing with someone who you perceive as a little better than you, you tend to give more effort than you normally would alone.”

Benefits of having a buddy

With the obvious addition of having someone there to push you further, having a buddy alongside you as you exercise has plenty of other workout benefits. For starters, scheduling specific dates and setting aside gym sessions with your friend throughout your weekly schedule will make it harder on you to bail out whenever you don’t feel like exercising. You’ll feel bad if you let someone down by canceling plans, and before you know it, you’ll be so fully immersed in your weekly exercise routine that the thought of quitting will never enter your mind.

Another great element of having someone with you at the gym is being able to access a spotter whenever you need it. Some people tend to skip out on utilizing various forms of weightlifting equipment because they don’t want to bother someone by having to spot them. Having your friend at the gym can not only solve this dilemma, but also perhaps encourage you to try other workout techniques available you never would have attempted, such as strength training classes or yoga sessions.

A more financial way to look at having a partner at the gym is splitting the costs of a personal trainer between you. If you’ve recently made a pact with your friend to start working out three times a week, but realize you have no guidance or knowledge of what workouts will be best for the both of you, having an expert join the group will certainly benefit everyone. Plus, group sessions with personal trainers are always cheaper than one-on-one meetings, so you can save a few bucks in the process as well.

Finally, arguably the most overlooked element to working out with someone you’re close with is simply making the experience more fun. It’s easy to get caught up in the seriousness of running or lifting weights, but having someone alongside to chat about what’s going on in your life or the latest episode of a TV show will make the time go by faster and become more enjoyable.

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