Why should you train with a friend?
There are mixed opinions as to whether training on your own or training
with a partner is more effective. Whilst this is often decided by the
individuals personality there is evidence to suggest that group training has
lower rates of drop out, higher performance levels and better level of
The success of large numbers of exercise classes Bootcamps, Zumba, Pump,
Yoga etc as well as weight management programs such as weight watchers and
slimming world shows the draw of group based achievement and training.
Training with a friend though is not just about group exercise but also
includes working in pairs, running in groups, and outdoor training such as
cycling together. The fact that 1 or more are with you whilst you train
seems to have the desired effect.
But why is it so effective?
Agreeing to meet a friend or a group to train means that you are less likely to find an excuse not to go. Committing to others training schedule as well as your own adds an element of guilt for backing out. For this reason you are more likely to turn up for each session. Simply being there will go some way to achieving your goals.
Not only will a friend ensure you arrive on your agreed sessions you are also more likely to try harder. There is an element of competition in this; even for those who feel they are not competitive they will always train hard if their buddy is doing the same. For many this competitive spirit will actually drive you both to achieve more.
In the same way that having a coach or personal trainer with you, hopefully your training partner will provide active encouragement to you whilst you are training to ensure you get the most out of each session. They can encourage you to lift more, go further or push harder. We suggest you actively talk about what works best, set challenges and encourage greater performance.
Training with others will always be more fun, the banter, the chat, the silly moments that can happen whilst training can be shared. Shared experiences always tend to be more memorable and you never have that occasion when you think "I wish someone had seen that?"
A training partner can ensure your technique is correct, help spot you when lifting heavier weights, help with stretching and generally help keep you both safe. This becomes just as important when working outside. Running, cycling training outside always carries additional risks, so having a partner reduces this considerably.
The Extra Mile:
Friends will always ensure you achieve that extra rep, that extra mile, that extra length in the pool. Push each other, challenge the norms and ensure you get every ounce form your training.
Many people don't train due to confidence. This can be because of a poor self body image, a lack of knowledge or experience. Or a general lack of confidence. By training with a friend you can take that positive step together. Simply having someone there to share that initial nervous experience can be vital in getting started.
When we started in fitness the common consensus was that someone would walk past the front doors of our club 5 times before coming in. This would just extend the time to achieve the results they wanted. With a friend you are less likely to back out and more likely to get started.
A training partner will also give you the confidence to try new things. Why not try a class you had never thought of, go outdoors for the first time, join a sports club and not a gym or just try a new routine in the gym.
Who cares if you look silly to others as you will look silly together!
You will learn from each other, you will both have different interests and so read and hear different aspects of training. Collaborate and pool your knowledge. The more you get into training the more you will both understand. By trying the new things you each learn you will both improve and achieve your goals quicker.
Our suggestion is to start reading fitness magazines and articles so you improve your understanding. If you are both doing it you will actually start to teach each other stuff that you only thought the personal trainers knew.
Many gyms, clubs and private classes offer discounts for couples. This used to be allowed only for married couples or those living at the same address. Most clubs now realise they cannot afford to be so strict. With the market changing so significantly and with so much choice on offer you simply need to ask.
Most membership teams will allow friends to join together on a partner rate. You may have to have it coming from one account but hey if it means saving £120 a year between you then why not!
There is definitely evidence to suggest team training works. Even out successful Olympic athletes train as a unit to build a team atmosphere and to encourage success. It is not to say training alone is wrong and that you would not achieve your desired results. Doping so though takes great commitment and determination and an ability to knuckle down and work hard.
Ultimately, the important thing is you are exercising and making the most from each session. If you are a social person we suggest training with a friend. If your friends are all lazy or cannot commit then join a group exercise class or a sports club and make new friends. That the joy!