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Following the festive season, many people will look to begin the new decade by kick-starting their work towards newly set fitness goals. However, once the initial ‘new year, new me’ buzz wears off, maintaining the same level of motivation and sticking to resolutions can be easier said than done.

The simple act of working out with a partner, however, has been found to have a whole host of benefits, which can help people stick to their routines. Research[1] from the leading health and wellness booking app MINDBODY shows over half (57%) of UK gym-goers say working out with a friend is more fun and a third (34%) say having a gym partner increases their motivation and makes them work harder.

According to the research, the five main benefits of working out with a partner are:

  1. It’s more fun (57%)
  2. It makes time pass quicker (49%)
  3. It makes them try harder (34%)
  4. It’s part of a social routine (25%)
  5. It makes their workout more effective (24%)


Commenting on the psychology of working out with somebody else and how it’s great for our overall well-being, Sally Baker, therapist at Working On The Body, says, “Motivation and accountability are just two of the many reasons why training with a buddy can improve the results you get from your workouts, both physically and mentally. With a training buddy, you are statistically much more likely to turn up as you’re accountable to each other and you will mutually motivate each other to achieve your fitness goals and improve your health.”

A bit of healthy competition can also provide that extra boost to get the absolute maximum out of your workouts. In fact, a study published in the scientific journal Nature Communications[2] indicates that when people completed an additional kilometre during a run, their friends were typically influenced to run a further 0.3km.

A spokesperson from MINDBODY adds, “When you work out with a friend, there is always an element of friendly rivalry that pushes you to lift your game higher than you would do when exercising alone. This particular benefit is emphasised when your partner is of a similar ability/fitness to you, as you will constantly be looking to outperform each other.”

Following on from this, squeezing more out of your workouts can be made safer by having a partner to spot you when going for those extra reps; something you may not be comfortable doing when working out alone. Your friend can also watch your form to ensure you are completing moves without any risk of injury.

Above all, working out with a friend can make the whole experience more fun. It’s a lot easier to form a habit out of something you enjoy doing; in fact, gym-goer statistics show that the social side of fitness encourages them to stick to a routine the most. Looking at exercise as a fun social activity instead of a chore should certainly make it easier to stick to your routine and achieve your fitness goals in 2020.

Despite all these benefits, six in 10 (62%) gym-goers have not yet found a gym buddy and still go it alone but, with the new year on the horizon, perhaps making the effort to find a fitness partner could help people reach their fitness goals over the next 12 months. Why not also mix up your gym routine with group exercise classes, where you’ll benefit from working out side-by-side with like-minded people who might have similar goals to you? No doubt you’ll benefit from the tribal energy and community aspect of the classes.

  1. Survey of 2,000 respondents who have a regular workout ‘buddy’, undertaken in July 2018 by TLF
  2., accessed on 19 December 2019.

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