How to Train with a Friend
Courtney Gordner considers the benefits for you when training with a friend or a group of athletes.
One of the best decisions you can make after starting training is choosing a partner to train with. Many studies have shown that working out with a partner or a group ensures that you will work harder and longer than you would if you were doing it alone.
Freedman (2013) identified several factors that this could be attributed to:
Getting a Good Fit
As in life, you want to choose your training partner carefully. You want someone who will challenge and encourage you. You do not want someone who will blow you off after the first workout or anyone who shouts, “In your face!” after they blow your deadlift record out of the water.
Be mindful of your partner's ability to keep commitments and their availability. Joe might be a great guy who wants to train for a triathlon, but his third shift schedule will probably throw a wrench in things. Your sister-in-law is gung-ho now about training for that half marathon, but you have seen her give up on Zumba, Pilates, and TRX classes.
Choose someone who can follow through with a commitment and share your interest. If you are thinking about tackling an open water swim, look for training partners with workout pools instead of an extensive collection of cycling gear.
Be upfront with your partner about how much time you are willing to devote to a training program — and do not overestimate it. Decide on a schedule together, and then put it in your calendars. Once a task makes its way onto your calendar, you are more likely to complete it, even if it is exercise.
Here are a few tips on sticking to a workout schedule:
Athletic Ability and Encouragement
You will get more out of your training if your partner is slightly better or more athletic than you. Saunders (2013) found that individuals worked out longer when they had the perception that their partner was more skilled and voiced only minimal encouragement. Researchers thought participants might have found constant encouragement from a better-skilled athlete to be patronizing.
Plus, if your partner has more experience, you can be motivated to pick up the skills faster and learn “insider” tips to improve your performance. So, pair up and get moving. Your body will thank you.
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About the Author
Courtney is a freelance writer who loves writing about everything from health fitness to recovery treatment.