When you train with someone, you both count on each other show up. Sharing the responsibility keeping active gives you a stronger sense of purpose in your workout. You don’t want to disappoint your partner! "If you enjoy your activity of choice more because your friends are involved, you are more likely to stick with it. This is the main benefit of having a gym buddy!” says Chloé Rochette, co-founder and lead trainer of HappyFitness, a training group that helps women get active among friends.
Not only does partner training make us more diligent, it also helps you rise to the challenge. “When you train with a friend, you can try new things and push yourself further if your partner is faster than you,” says Chloé. “It helps motivate you when you have less energy or don’t feel up for a workout.”
Science confirms it: motivation is contagious. A study published in the science journal, Nature, shows that running with a partner helps you go farther and faster. In 2016, a research group from the University of Aberdeen discovered that having a gym buddy helped people work out more frequently and for longer periods, especially between partners who support one another. “Team spirt is much more encouraging than competition,” says Chloé.
Working out also stimulates the production of endorphins, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. Sharing these moments with another person strengthens your bond. “With some friends, my workouts are really challenging, whereas with others, I run slowly and chat the whole time,” says Chloé. “We have workout categories.”
Above all, physical activity allows you to see your loved ones in a new light. “Working out with friends combines utility with fun,” said Chloé. “I think it helps people integrate more movement into their daily lives.”
Virtual workout applications have a similar effect on training. A study from Michigan State University’s Department of Kinesiology shows that training with a virtual partner increases motivation during exercise. In the context of the study, a “virtual partner” was simply someone doing the movement along with you. Getting active with a partner helps you to stay motivated without the stress and anxiety that some people experience in public places, like gyms and studios.
Exercise apps created by fitness professionals also helps you push your limits. YouTube is also a great resource for finding an array of exercise videos. Some fitness channels even have millions of followers. It's no surprise that these simple and practical approaches have risen in popularity!