7 Reasons to Get a Workout Buddy

Article posted in: Fitness
friends running in race

Having a workout buddy can be the difference between staying on the couch to watch another show or getting off your butt because your friend is waiting at the gym. But accountability isn’t the only reason you should consider working out with a friend. We’ve listed the top seven reasons why you might consider buddying up as you aim to meet your exercise goals.

1. You’ll be More Motivated
Sometimes it’s just easier to skip a workout than to push yourself to wake up early or hit the gym after a long day of work. But research shows that even a small amount of social support—ranging from a simple email or phone call reminder all the way up to a workout buddy—can help combat physical inactivity. Researchers from Stanford found that when people received motivation through a phone call asking them to recite how much exercise they did that week—and congratulating them on following through—that they more than doubled their amount of weekly exercise. Even if you don’t go to the gym with your friend, you can make a point to check in on each others’ progress.

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2. You’ll Work Harder
Whether it’s because you are enjoying yourself while your friend is along for the (bike) ride, or because you’re actually competing against them, research shows that 64 percent of women who worked out with a buddy pushed themselves harder. The research, which was carried out by Virgin Active Health Clubs, surveyed 1,000 gym-going women. Less than half of those women who exercise alone claim to push themselves very hard.

3. You’ll Burn More Calories
Working out harder will pay off in the form of extra burned calories. The same Virgin Active Health study found that during an average workout session, women who exercised with friends burned up to 236 calories, compared to 195 for women who worked out alone. On average, training sessions with a buddy lasted slightly longer, perhaps accounting for the extra burned calories. Perhaps that’s because with a friend along for the ride, women are able to push themselves until the very end instead of watching the clock.

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4. You’ll Create Accountability
When it comes to sticking with an exercise program, having an accountability partner—or even network—can make or break your success. The actual voice of a friend encouraging you to meet your goal may be more powerful than that voice in your head. Even sharing your progress via social media can make a difference. In a 2013 research study published in Transitional Behavioral Medicine, participants who published their weight loss progress on Twitter lost more weight than those who kept their progress private.

5. You’ll Learn Something New
Stuck in a rut? Nervous about trying something new? Finding a workout buddy is the perfect opportunity to try something different. It’s a lot less intimidating to walk into a Zumba or cycling class for the first time if you’re with a buddy. If your friends have different fitness interests than you, try out their routine and let them help you. Then return the favor the following week with your favorite class or routine.

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6. You’ll Save Money
Gyms are reporting that small group training sessions are more popular than ever before. One of the reasons is as simple as the cost. Having a personal trainer can be expensive. But if two friends or even a small group splits the cost, it becomes much more workable in the average budget.

7. You’ll Enjoy it More
By adding a socialization component to your workouts, you’ll have more fun. Talking during a workout also helps it go by faster. Research from the University of Southern California found that those who worked out with a friend, coworker or spouse reported being “happier” than when they worked out alone.