There are many people why try to get into shape on their own. Whether it’s lifting weights or running on a treadmill, people who are new to working out are likely to have negative experiences; lack of knowledge of how the gym equipment works, feeling overwhelmed with the options, or even hurting oneself are all things that can dissuade a person from coming back.
Thankfully, we can rely on the people close to us to get through difficult times; working out is no exception. Working out alone will get you physically fit, sure, but there are key benefits that come with working out with a friend. Here are 8 benefits of working out with a friend that are sure to help anyone looking to get into shape!
1. You Have a Supporter
Few things are as reassuring as having someone there for you when you are trying new things. It’s easy to feel embarrassed or ashamed when working out at the gym (also known as gym-timidation); one of the benefits of working out with a friend is being able to ease the burden of feeling stupid or dumb when figuring out new things.
Everybody starts off a novice when doing new things, yet people tend to forget this when looking at the regular gym-goers. It’s natural to compare yourself to them, though it’s not fair to you at all.
People tend to be their own worst critic, especially when it comes to their bodies. It’s not uncommon for people to think that people are laughing at them silently or judging them for their performance on a certain workout.
Working out with a friend makes it much easier to ignore the presence of other gym members and distract from discouraging thoughts. It then becomes easier to simply focus on you and your friend’s workouts.
Your friend is likely to feel the same way if they don’t frequent the gym, so it’s a win-win on both sides!
A friend of mine came down from Delaware (his name is Kris) recently and was an old-school Dance Dance Revolution player. I had wanted to play with him for a long time, so it was really quite amazing when I finally had the chance to do so.
We played for a long time, and it felt amazing having a good friend I could talk/hang out with while playing Dance Dance Revolution.
If you are lucky, you’ll have a friend that already goes to the gym regularly. You’ll be able to take advantage of all the learning they had to do and skip the process of figuring stuff out on your own. Just be sure to remember that they are more experienced and shouldn’t be someone that you would compare yourself to. Again, it’s unfair to yourself.
2. You Have to Be Accountable
If no one is expecting you at the gym, then it’s easy to not show up. After all, there’s no real pressure or incentive to go outside of “gotta get into shape” motivation, which is fleeting at best. Motivation doesn’t hold a candle to discipline, which is required in order to become physically fit.
The best way to practice discipline is to practice accountability, which is why this is one of the best benefits working out with a friend.
It becomes much harder to not go to the gym when there is someone there waiting for you. You’ll feel pressured to go, banishing thoughts of laziness and promoting discipline.
It’s can feel like a real chore to get through the beginning weeks of working out, but making plans to workout with a friend makes it much harder for you to renegade on those plans.
Continuous attendance at the gym builds a habit of going to the gym, increasing your odds physical fitness success by a large margin.
This is amplified when working out with a friend who is a gym goer. They are the ones who will give you the most hassle if you skip a gym session without a very good reason. It’s best to go to appease these individuals especially.
Case in point is when Kris and I decided to play Dance Dance Revolution in the middle of the week.
When I discovered he was in the area, I knew that I had to make every effort to get to that Dance Dance Revolution machine. If I didn’t, I’m sure he would’ve held it against me for months to come! After all, I would’ve done the same if he bailed on me!
Note that the best way to maximize this benefit is to promise each other to attend pre-planned workout sessions. That way, you can also be the force that pulls your friend away from their desire to skip.
3. You Will Push Yourself Further
People are driven to look good in front of others. This be utilized as one of the benefits of working out with a friend; you’ll want to look good in front of your friend, encouraging you to push yourself past your physical limits.
It’s not uncommon for people to become competitive when it comes to working out with a friend who is close in physical fitness level; this competition brings out the best in both people as they try to out-do one another.
This can also manifest itself in a simple desire to showcase your abilities. People who are struggling to finish that last rep may get some verbal support or encouraging words, helping them get over a fitness wall.
It’s incredibly motivating to finish something that was once considered impossible by previous standards, driving a person to workout even harder.
In my case, playing Dance Dance Revolution with Kris is a way different experience than playing by myself or even with my other DDR friends. I had a burning desire to show him the best of my abilities, so I tried to pass difficult songs to the best of my ability whenever I could.
This allowed me to knock out several extremely challenging songs in a row, something that I struggle to do on my own. He responded likewise, playing his heart out on hard songs and even going so far as to come back to play the very next morning!
4. You Will Discover New Things
Another one of the benefits of working out with a friend is that people who work out together are far more likely to learn new things. You might find out a method that helps you get through difficult exercises or learn new techniques for getting the most out of a workout.
It’s easier to apply new material when someone you know has the ability to demonstrate their moves in person; this is partly why personal trainers are so valued for new gym members especially.
My time playing Dance Dance Revolution with Kris is a great example of this as well. Kris is an old-school player, meaning he missed out on a lot of the newer stuff available on modern arcade cabinets. I had the pleasure of being able to show him the new stuff, most of which demanded certain movements that were a bit foreign to him.
He took the new material to heart and practiced when he could, elevating his gaming performance as well as his physical fitness.
5. You Can Avoid the Rut
It’s incredible easy to fall into a rut when it comes to working out. After all, a lot of working out for beginners tend to involve the same exercises, same sets, and same reps for a while until you get used to it.
Even then, seasoned gym members are prone to eventually get bored with the exercises and lack of new equipment. At some point, physical fitness can feel more like a chore than an activity.
Working out with a friend is a benefit that is ever-changing; that is to say, having a friend adds a bit of a dynamic touch to any workout. You can set new goals with each other, talk to each other, help each other, and just generally enjoy the company of each other.
It’s a breath of fresh air, especially for those who are used to working out by themselves all the time.
When I started to seriously play Dance Dance Revolution at the arcade, I was usually playing by myself for hours on end. I loved to do so and the progress I was making was stellar. It provided the motivation I needed to keep pushing myself.
And as fun as that was, it eventually started to get a little too routine for my taste. It became more and more of an obligation rather than a fun activity.
Thankfully, this was resolved when I started to make friends in the DDR community; they are funny, well-meaning people who are all interested in helping each other improve. Their presence added something new and fresh to my DDR life, for which I am thankful.
Nowadays, I find myself wishing I had the machine all to myself again!
6. You Will Have More Fun
This is benefit of working out with a friend is one of the biggest. Having fun is imperative in the pursuit of keeping up with workouts; without it, you’ll be fighting a losing battle when it comes to maintaining your motivation and discipline.
No one wants to subject themselves to boring or tedious activities when entertainment is a touch away.
Working out with a friend is similar to hanging out with a friend; if you enjoy their company, you’ll notice that it is much easier and more fun to do things that would otherwise be boring.
Doing a set of reps while a buddy cheers you on is more engaging than doing a set of reps while staring at a screen or a random person.
Never underestimate the power of socialization when it comes to working out.
This is prevalent when it comes to playing Dance Dance Revolution as well. It’s a special kind of awesome when two players are grooving on the flashing stage, stepping in time and moving to the beat. It also looks cooler to other people when compared to someone playing by themselves.
Playing the game on its own is already a bucket of fun, so being able to play with a crowd of entertained people alongside someone else is just the best!
It happens more than you might think, and I’m just glad that I managed to get Kris to experience that feeling as well.
7. You Will Achieve Better Results
Here is the culmination of all the other benefits of working out with a friend; when you workout with a friend, you’ll have:
- A supporter
- Someone to hold you accountable
- Someone to encourage you to surpass your physical limits
- Someone to learn new things through
- Someone to help avoid the rut
- Someone to have a lot of fun with
When you put all of these things together, you will be able to transform how workouts appear to you. What may have once been considered a chore and something that just had to be “sucked up and dealt with” is now a fun activity that doubles as a way to achieve good physical fitness.
By associating these benefits with working out, you’ll be far less likely to quit and far more likely to make a habit of working out consistently. This will in turn promote better fitness results.
For example, I loved to play Dance Dance Revolution with another friend of mine, Josh, for many of the reasons listed back in college. We would try our best to beat certain songs to the point where we would dedicate long periods of time to playing them back-to-back.
We would always try to play on a Friday, so we held each other accountable to show up. I learned new movement patterns from him that I use to this very day, and vice-versa for him. I overcame a rut that I felt when playing the game by myself in my younger days and had ample amounts of fun gaming.
My fitness saw improvement as a result of my devoted interest in the game, of which was likely not possible without my friend’s presence.
These benefits of working out with a friend provide fresh and substantial material to something that could otherwise be considered stale activity. Of course, this all depends on the quality of the friend as well; don’t try to workout with people who will belittle or demean you as this will do nothing but discourage you from workouts in the future.
I’ve had to deal with such people during my time at the arcade, so I know first-hand how demotivating that can be.
With the right people, workouts with friends are a great way to stay in shape and have fun doing it! When it comes to playing Dance Dance Revolution, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the game than to play with a friend.
I’ve taken advantage of the benefits and have pushed my skills (and stamina!) much further than I thought I ever could.
So next time you plan to hit the gym, go for a run, or sweat it out at home, bring a friend along. You won’t regret it!
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