Some things in this life are best enjoyed alone. Doing your laundry at home on a Saturday night with a soppy movie playing in the background and a weird sheet mask on your face, for instance. (What? Who does that?)
But other situations call for backup. For many of us, exercising is one of them — whether it’s because you need someone else to keep you accountable, or to just have a big ol’ whinge to while you’re struggling mid-plank.
Here are some other valid reasons why working out with a friend, partner, PT or a whole class of other people can be great for your fitness.
1. Goodbye, comfort zone
When you exercise with no witnesses, it’s all too easy to slip into comfortable (or, ah, lazy) habits. According to Anthony Richardson, personal trainer and founder of AUSFIT outdoor group fitness and Ausfit Torsion bars, exercising with someone else will keep you motivated and accountable — especially if it’s someone who isn’t afraid to call you on it.
“No one likes being told what to do, especially when you’re training. But would you really do those extra reps if no one suggested it? Would you really dig that extra bit deeper to conquer the hill like a champ, or would you rather walk that last 20m?” he points out. Good point.
2. Healthy competition
Are you a naturally competitive person? Good. Put that to constructive use by exercising with
an adversary someone else who can drive you to work a little harder (though be careful not to go overboard).
"I actually don't like exercising with others that much, because it pushes me and I get proud and don't want to fall behind. Which is actually a good thing," one Glow team member admits.
Watch: The Glow's Lizzie found an unlikely fitness buddy in Sam Wood. Here's how it went down. (Post continues after video.)
3. You'll actually commit
Talking yourself out of exercise is a piece of cake (sometimes, that's even true in a literal sense). Talking someone else out of it? Not so easy
"Commit to training with a like-minded friend, or a small group of friends, and you’re much less likely to cancel on sessions," explains Nadine Veverka, personal trainer and founder of the tailored health and fitness service Her Master Plan.
"If one of you doesn’t feel like it one day, the others will spur that person along and visa versa. Who wants to let the team down, right?"
4. Misery shared is misery halved
OK, so "misery" is a strong word, but the sentiment stands — when you're bright red, dripping in sweat, and struggling to finish those last reps, it can be comforting to have a pal right there with you who knows exactly what you're going through. (Post continues after gallery.)
5. You'll do it right
Booking a session (or several of them) with a personal trainer will ensure you reap the optimum benefits of your hard work.
"A PT will give much-needed guidance on how to reach your specific goals successfully. They will ensure exercises are completed correctly and safely," Veverka explains.
"It's their job to make sure you achieve results. Knowing an expert is doing the very best by your body can take the weight off your shoulders."
6. It takes a village...
A class or boot camp environment can seem daunting at first glance — especially when you're new to it. However, Nadine Veverka says these environments are conducive to new friends, a community vibe, and a positive motivating energy.
"The majority of boot camps are full of people just like you looking to get a little fitter," she says. "Many keep a theme going or set mini challenges, which keep members motivated to attend classes. Finding the right one can lead to some seriously fun times."
7. It's an excuse to catch up
Hands up if you usually catch up with mates over a wine or dinner? Arranging a sweat session together will give you that social time, and you'll still feel like you're being productive and/or healthy.
If nothing else will convince you, just think of the great brunch and coffee dates you can indulge in afterwards. "Who wouldn’t want to train with that end in sight?" Veverka says. Too right.
Do you exercise with someone else? What do you like about it?