Just popping up another article I’ve written for online health, fitness and wellbeing magazine Oh My Quad… this time it’s about the health benefits of having a gym buddy…Recently my friend called and asked if I fancied going to the gym. She’s getting married this year and trying to get her post-wedding body in check.
‘I need some tips and inspiration,’ she cried. ‘I’ve lost all motivation.’
But what she didn’t realise was that by calling me up and inviting me to join her, she was setting herself up for a better workout than had she gone it alone.
No, not because I’m some sort of finger-pointing bootcamp drill sergeant; (I’m not that bad!) because scientific research has found that having a workout partner can double your performance in the gym!
Personally, I love working out with someone else. Especially as I train towards competing in my first fitness competition.
I try to get in at least two or three sessions a week with someone else from the gym, and we both agree on how beneficial it is for us.
Firstly, knowing they are waiting for me at the gym means that, even if I don’t want to go, I have to make the effort and turn up – and we all know getting through the door is often the hardest part.
So, even before I’ve pulled my gym gear on I’m feeling more motivated; and once we get down to weight training, we’re there to encourage each other and make sure we push that extra bit harder. Having someone weight train with you adds an element of friendly competition, makes the session far more fun, and means you always have a spotter.
That means, without any of the science stuff, having a gym buddy has encouraged me to get to the gym, train harder, stay focused and have a laugh.
Hitting a gym with a friend boosts fitness
What do the scientists have to say? Well, researchers say hitting the gym with a friend will enhance your fitness levels.
A study conducted by the Society of Behavioral Medicine in America in May 2012 examined the effects of training with a partner during a cardio workout.
They found that those cycling solo stayed on the bike for an average of 10.6 minutes, whereas those working out with a partner were likely to stick to it for an average of 21.9 minutes – that’s more than twice as long.
If that wasn’t all, a study of 1,000 female gym goers, carried out by Virgin Active Health Clubs, turned up similar impressive results.
Women who work out with a friend are likely to burn up to 236 calories during a gym session, compared to 195 for those going it alone, according to Virgin.
Plus they also found you’re likely to work out for longer, with training sessions with friends lasting on average 42 minutes, compared to 36 minutes for solo gym goers.
And, less than 50 per cent of those exercising alone said they truly pushed themselves in the gym, compared to 64 per cent of those who were there with a pal.
Another study of 3,000 women found that 61 per cent found it almost impossible to find the energy to train alone, yet seven out of ten said it was less of a chore if they were working out with a friend.
The same study also showed that, on average, women could lose up to 10lbs more if they were working out with a friend, whereas a fifth of those who trained alone didn’t shed a single pound.
A study carried out by researchers at Harvard University would also suggest you’re likely to stay fit and healthy if you have a gym buddy – but not for the obvious reasons you’d think.
The study, carried out in 2007 on 12,000 people, claims that obesity, like a smoking habit, happiness or depression can spread through a network of friends.
They found that if a husband or wife became obese, their other half was 37% more likely to also become overweight in the next two to four years.
The study also found that a person’s risk of obesity rose by 2% for every five obese pals they had.
So hanging out with healthy, likeminded people, is beneficial even when you’re not sweating it out in the gym together.
You’re also more likely to keep going back to the gym if you train with someone else, as study from the Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University found.
When surveying married couples they discovered that those who attend the gym separately had a 43 percent drop out rate over the course of a year. That’s compared to just a 6.3 percent for those who went to the gym together.
Impressive figures, right?
So, next time you’re heading for the gym, give that mate of yours a call and get in a session together, we’re sure it’ll work out wonderfully!
Until next time, stay happy and healthy…