5 reasons to workout with a buddy

by Jamie Kennedy on Monday 14 March 2022

6 min read

Have you ever been in a relationship you can't quit? The one where you see the person a couple of times a week, who you like but won't bring home to your Mum, who's super fit, and gets you really sweaty… Wait, what are we talking about? We're talking about your friend with 'sweat’-efits, of course!

It turns out that working out with a gym buddy has huge benefits and 'sweat’-efits. And it may be just what you need. If you sometimes struggle with motivation and inspiration at the gym, we've got the answer. Grab yourself a workout buddy, and get ready to love exercise more. Here are five reasons why you should bring a friend to the gym.

Achieve your goals

You know we at Virgin Active are all about any kind of fit. So whether you're working toward body shifts, boosting your mental health, or simply looking for an excuse to get out of the house, Virgin Active gyms are a fantastic way to achieve your goals. And it turns out that buddies can help you achieve just that. A recent study showed that 95% of people who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program, versus 76% of people who tackled the program alone.

Why is that the case, you ask? Because it turns out that making a commitment to others matters. It gets noticed when you are a 'no show' for a friend date! Positive peer pressure can actually be a great thing in this circumstance, encouraging you to keep going on the path toward achieving your goals. 

The push is real

Have you ever noticed when there are people around you, you push yourself a little harder? Of course, what's happening to you is entirely normal. In fact, there's a name for it. The Köhler effect, first discovered in the 1920s, refers to a phenomenon when a person works harder as a member of a group than working alone. To put it simply, we humans tend to improve our performance when others are present.

Imagine the possibilities by working out next to friends or family. Not only will they help you achieve your goals, but you might also even achieve them a little faster than expected! Twice as nice. It's even recommended you find workout buddies that are slightly 'more capable' than you are. For example, a study of people performing planks with and without partners found that those who exercised with a 'more capable' partner increased their plank time by 24%. 

Limit negative self-talk

We can be so hard on ourselves, can't we? We know you've heard it many times, but we would never say the things we say to ourselves to a friend. So imagine if you had a friend next to you while you workout. Would you encourage them to run a little faster, dip a little lower, and push a little harder? 

If you're busy encouraging them during a workout, there's less room for your own negative self-talk in your head. "Exercise partners can provide a kind of gentle coercion and limit your negative self-talk," says Barbara A. Brehm, Ed.D., professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Studies, at Smith College in Northampton, MA in a Healthy Women article.

Ever accountable

The great thing about finding workout partners is that you gain a sense of camaraderie with each other. The more workouts you do together, the closer you'll become and the more accountability you'll have for one another. A fantastic by-product of workout buddies is that they become accountable to you in many other ways. While you're getting sweaty, you can talk about life, relationships and work. They help set time aside for you to work through life's problems out loud.

When you bring a friend to the gym, you're getting so much more out of it than just a sweat sesh. Your mental and physical health gets a big boost, too.

Be more adventurous

The only thing worse than getting stuck in a tired old workout routine is learning a new workout routine…alone. Showing up to a new workout class can be intimidating and scary - yes, sometimes even when going to one of our friendly gyms! But when you have a friend by your side, doesn't it feel a little less scary? Having a friend next to you can help you feel more confident, diffuse the attention, and make you feel more excited for what's to come. Even if you're heading to the open gym floor, there are plenty of exercises to change it up every time.

We've got a wide array of workout experiences for every kind of fit, so you'll always find new ways to be adventurous with your fitness partner.

So there you have it. Working out with a buddy makes sense. Friends with 'sweat’-efits help you be more accountable, keep it fun and make your workouts more consistent.

We're big on buddying up this #BuddySeason and we're inviting you to buddy up and save! So book a tour today to find your fit!

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