Workout alone? Here’s why finding a training partner may help you smash your goals!

This 30th July is International Day of Friendship and what better way to celebrate it than training with a friend.

No matter what age or fitness level you are, exercising with a friend or in a group has been highlighted numerous studies as a way of increasing both intensity of exercise and frequency of exercise. Even away from sports and exercise research I have witnessed this first hand with our members and throughout my thirteen years in this industry. Unless you are extremely dedicated (and if you are then big up to you!) it can sometimes be hard to drag yourself out of that comfy chair and away from your warm living room, to come to a gym where you don’t really know what to do or worse, you don’t even enjoy going!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to go with, to physically pull you out of the house if necessary and ensure you both go and have fun? This could be a class, a gym session, a game of squash, badminton or simply a jog (by the way, have a look at my last blog on the benefits of jogging).

If your reading this thinking ‘well that’s all well and good but none of my friends want to exercise and I can’t go on my own’, don’t worry there are still plenty of things you can do, it may just take a little bit more motivation and belief. It is in there though, just have a little bit more self-confidence and go find something you enjoy doing.

Here are my FOUR tips on training with a partner and what to do if you have no-one to train with:

Get a Schedule
A good tip from a friend of mine is “if you use your calendar app on your phone to set meetings etc. then use it to schedule your gym sessions”. This is a great piece of advice as it will create accountability. We don’t often miss meetings when they are to do with work so why miss a scheduled meeting when it is to do with your health? People who create routines i.e. going to the gym at a set time/day are much more likely to achieve their goals. Add this to the factor of you not wanting to let your friend down should help spur you on.

Try A Class, Do Something Different, Enjoy It!
Don’t fancy the gym? Who says you should go!? Let’s say your goal is simply to keep your heart healthy or lose weight, your body does not care where or how you burn the calories or challenge your cardio-respiratory system. Instead of slogging away on a rowing machine for thirty minutes why not book a badminton court for sixty minutes and work up a sweat without even thinking about it. Or go for a long “fast-ish” paced walk and put the world to rights. For those that do not have a training partner then why not try a class, get booked on to something and give it your all, there is nothing wrong with having fun AND exercising. You may even meet a like-minded person in class and become training partners.

Be in The Moment
Whatever you decide to do make sure you are PRESENT when you do it. What I mean by that is GET OFF your phone, I see so many people in our gyms sitting on an exercise bike scrolling through Instagram, Facebook etc. instead of giving their exercise 100%. How annoying would it be if you were trying to train with someone who was constantly staring at their phone!? I have been there, an old training mate of mine was always on social media when we were in the gym together, I would be struggling mid set and instead of spotting me he would be liking pictures…our training relationship did not last long. The same applies when you first walk into a class, say hello to people and strike up a conversation, your class experience will be a whole lot better for it, I guarantee it.

Challenge Yourselves
Working towards a common goal is much more likely to help you achieve what it is you are training for, professional athletes set goals so why shouldn’t you? Ensure they are manageable and specific to what it is you want. For example, if you are not a runner but want to get fit then why not set yourself a couch to 5k challenge. If you want to get strong then how about a goal of squatting your own bodyweight for multiple repetitions. Having that someone with you who is training too will help you on the days you really can’t be bothered exercising. You will also get a tremendous feeling of achievement and teamwork once you see progress. Who knows you may even re-visit your goals and make them much greater than you ever imagined. All from deciding to train with a friend.