If you watch our videos, you’ll know that we do a lot of workouts together. Our workouts are the result of us mucking around in the gym and discussing ideas over lots of coffee. They can also depend on what equipment we’ve got at our disposal at any one time or what areas of the body we’re working. Ultimately, we really enjoy it. Why? It’s fun, and we love to challenge ourselves against each other. There are many reasons we love doing these workouts, which we’ll come on to in this column, but the main benefit is that by working out with someone else, it’s easier to be held accountable.
People tell us that the hardest thing, whether they’re changing their exercise habits or their diet, or both, is to feel that they have to go it alone. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you’ve got someone else relying on you for, say, attending a gym session, it makes you turn up first and foremost, but it also makes you work harder. It also holds you accountable. You probably value your friends and so you won’t want to let them down. Having that extra motivation to get up and go can be really useful if you’re the kind of person that finds it hard to get to sessions in the first place. Ultimately, the act of simply not wanting to let your friend train on their own can be a really good motivator.
If you train with someone who is fitter than you, don’t see it as a negative thing. You might find that you have to constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone, and that’s good! That’s a great way to push your boundaries. In contrast, if you’re the fittest member of your friendship circle, maybe try mixing up who you train with from time to time, so you push yourself. If you’re the fittest in your gym, consider moving gyms!
Another reason to train with someone: it’s more fun! Have banter before, during and after the workout can help push you along. If fitness is a means to an end for you, and you don’t particularly enjoy it, then going with someone else can make it something you do enjoy. You might not enjoy the actual exercises, but you might enjoy the company of that person, or the before and after bit. Maybe your friend/s don’t enjoy it either, and you can share your misery together! Maybe you’ll come to love it more because of that other person, or maybe you can help someone else enjoy it more. I can’t think of many things I prefer to do alone, and like other things in life, training with other people just makes things more fun, more memorable, more of an experience. It’s character building.
We also find it’s nice to have somebody else’s input. It’s easy for us to work out together because, as PTs, we’re full of ideas, but some people might go to the gym and base what they think they should be doing on what they’ve seen others do, or what they might have read in a magazine. They might not have a load of knowledge at their disposal, or that much exposure to the gym. If you go with a mate who might have been to the gym more than you, or maybe had a personal trainer before, they might be able to pass on some of that information and help you get more out of the experience. It’s not just the physical exertion, but you might learn something new, and that’s invaluable. It might be that a mate shows you how to do something differently, which might challenge areas you hadn’t worked previously, or add further layers to what you had been doing. Heck, you might even be able to negate the need for equipment and use each other as gym apparatus! These little things can make a big difference.