How are we doing with the NY Resolutions? It’s that time of year that a lot of us may have rejoined a gym, slimming club or started a diet.
Previously, I looked at the benefits of working out with a partner and having a gym buddy can definitely help with motivation, relieving some of the boredom of working out in the gym and helping to keep you on track, by having someone else there to keep you in check if you’re trying to “wimp out” of doing an extra few reps or if you cheat on your diet. If you’re just starting out they can also help overcome any fears of trying something new.
The problem is, finding a great workout partner is really hard! Much like everything else you want to do – work, family and life in general can get in the way…. and what was once a great relationship can turn sour and could even be damaging your chances of success.
If one of you is having to wait around or bailing out on the other, you’re leaving the club without breaking a sweat, or you head straight to the cafe for a cake afterwards – it maybe time to ditch them and go it alone.
There are loads of reasons that working out solo may be more beneficial to you.
For starters it’s flexible – you can workout whenever, wherever and however you want, to fit with your schedule – it means that you don’t have to go to a specific gym that the other person likes and means that you’re not having to wait around for them before you can start. You can do a full on hour in the gym, or do a 7 minute abs blast along with a YouTube video at home, so you can be a lot more spontaneous than if you restrict your workouts to someone else’s availability.
Going it alone will also save you bags of time – usually if you have a partner – there’s waiting around for them to arrive, waiting in between sets, not to mention the amount of time wasted chatting and catching up before, during and after your workout. Cutting this out is saving you between 10 and 30 minutes of your time.
You could also work a lot harder! Studies have shown that if you work-out on your own – you don’t have quite as many distractions – you don’t feel that you have to wear the latest kit to impress your friends as much, you can listen to your type of music rather than the generic pop and chat you get in most gyms, so you can zone out and just focus on your workout! Studies have shown that when we workout – whether in a class or the gym we will compare ourselves to others – if we’re next to someone that is really pushing it and we see them as “better” than ourselves – then we will tend to work that bit harder to try and compete. If on the other hand we’re next to someone who we would see as “weaker” then we do tend to slack off a little as we feel that we don’t need to compete or need to make them feel better. If you are on your own – you can almost choose who you workout next to, to give you the motivation you need.
Which leads me to my final point – at the end of the day – it’s YOUR workout and YOUR diet. Accountability and motivation are two big arguments in favor of group sessions, but if fear of being reprimanded is the only thing keeping you active or sticking to a diet – then that’s a pretty weak starting point.
More than likely if you’re buddy drops out or bails on a session – then there’s a 90% chance that you will too. Which means really you’re not doing it for yourself.
So why not put yourself first! Rather than having to compromise your goals and just do the things that both you and your buddy likes, by focusing on your own targets it means you can do the things that you enjoy and you could reach your targets quicker. What’s more – you get to take the credit!
Now I’m not saying for everyone to suddenly dump their friends!
Group exercise is a great for people who are outgoing or looking to meet new people, those who benefit from structure, find solo exercise boring or who have difficulty maintaining motivation by themselves.
Solo exercise, on the other hand, is a good match for people that are shy, busy or highly motivated – we’re all different and our moods change daily – so personally I recommend a bit of both group and solo work to reap the benefits of both!
What do you prefer?