Hello and welcome to January. The days are just as cold, the nights are just as long, but all of the sparkle of Christmas has sadly fizzled away. If you're feeling a bit down-in-the-dumps now the New Year glitter has worn away, there's only one thing for it: energising yourself. And what better way than a solid exercise routine?
But, as we well know, resolutions can be hard to stick to when you're only answering to yourself. Which is why it could be worth making a training plan with a friend - and sticking to it. Just in case you needed a little more convincing, we quizzed Paolo Gimenez, Master Trainer at Virgin Active, on why he thinks training as part of a team makes it all the more effective.
1. Firstly... it's more fun
"Training is always more fun with a friend… Did you know that studies have shown people work out for double the amount of time with a friend or in a team format, as compared to working out alone? Working out together and having a shared purpose helps ease the workload and helps alleviate the sometimes mundane movements we do while working out. A bit of banter helps make the weights light."
2. They can help with a spot when you need the extra lift
"Sometimes we need a bit of emotional and physical support when attempting some heavy lifts. Incorporating a heavy-ish lifting day to your routine is good for building strength. Executing these lifts requires a level of confidence that a friend or a team provides, knowing that they are there to help you get that extra rep or that last inch of a squat."
3. They will hold you accountable
"Some days, you just don’t want to do any exercise. There are some days that legitimately feel like death and exercise is completely out of the question. However, most of those days are just the 'I’m-too-lazy-to-workout' feeling, and these are the days when having friends there to push you to come and train are most needed to help keep you on your fitness journey and hit your goals. Likewise, you can be that friend for them when they hit a rough spot as well. You’re less likely to bail on your workouts when you know that you’re leaving someone out on the gym floor in the lurch."
4. They can help motivate you throughout the work out
"Partner workouts are the best. Having a workout buddy to motivate you when you are at that point of fatigue can boost your performance significantly. Even if you aren’t competitive naturally, working out with someone else puts you in a mind-set of not quitting before the other person. Whatever the situation or competition, no one likes to be the first person out of the task. Working out with a friend or hitting a group exercise class together will help you power through."
5. They can celebrate your success
"A friend you exercise with will have a real understanding of where you came from and the struggle involved to get to where you are. This is about surrounding yourself with like-minded people. Talking about similar goals and planning these goals together help you stick to your goals and remind you to stay the course."