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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:
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.”
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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Is your daily routine negatively impacted by that relentless ache in your lower back? Can you feel it throbbing for attention as you read this? You’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life.
Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride: