“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.”
What if we told you there was a way to double your physical activity? What if we provided this for free? Would you do it? The secret – accountability with a personal training partner.
This technique exists free of risk, cost, and effort – dramatically increasing the likelihood of achieving your goals, jacking up your enjoyment, and keeping you safe, happy and strong – are you in?
Research out of the Michigan State University found that those who exercised with a partnered continued twice as long than those who exercised on their own. Make it a group work out – they went even longer, even with only a personal training partner!
Group exercise has been found to significantly increase our motivation to stick with an exercise program. This sense of responsibility and commitment toward another person increases our likelihood of following through on a commitment.
Besides motivation, there exists additional benefits to group exercise that you could be missing out on when exercising solo.
Exposure to a social and fun environment:ACSM suggests a social atmosphere for increased enjoyment, sustained interest, and a heightened sense of camaraderie and accountability among groups, participants and instructors. When you are having fun, you’re laughing and releasing various endorphins. This makes the routine enjoyable, but also creates a positive connection with exercise. Many, especially those seeking weight loss, have negative associations with exercise. Having a friend makes it more enjoyable, rewiring the brain neural connectivity for enjoyment with exercise.
A safe and effectively designed workout: No more worrying about what to do, poor form, muscle group knowledge, or who’s going to spot you. Personal training buddies have you covered. During our boot camp classes, our instructors are experts in biomechanics and modifications for injuries and body types. However, no one can monitor an entire group of twenty during every repetition. Having a workout partner, even in a group class, makes the exercise more safe encourages you to use correct form. Also, when you have a partner modifying your form, you and the partner will learn more about the exercise, the correct technique, and build another positive learning experience with exercise.
A consistent exercise schedule: Consistency is key. Not only is that provided by group scheduling, but also the energy of others gets us excited for the next class. Having a workout partner gets you to the next workout, which is essential if you are a beginner or a veteran. Recently two situations of accountability come to mind from our boot camp:
This duo always works out together. They come at the same time, do the exercises together and are glued at the hip. This week, one wasn’t there for the first 30 minutes of class. However, 30 minutes into class she showed up. Some may not see this importance, but if she didn’t have her workout partner waiting for her, do you think she would have come to class? Exactly, the partner builds and enforces the workout schedule, even it is subtle.
A recent couple for the boot camp is a bit more forceful. Last Friday, one dragged in the other for a workout. The resistant exerciser was exhausted from the week and didn’t want to move. However, their partner dragged them to class and got their butt moving. Their butt wasn’t moving much, but building the routine and consistent exercise schedule was essential for creating the boot camp a healthy habit. This week, the shoe was on the other foot and the one who didn’t want to workout the week before was now the motivator! Everyone hits a point where they want to rest or break the routine. A consistent exercise schedule is HUGE for building compliance and long-term gainz, now approaching Gainzville!
Increased pain tolerance: According to Oxford University, endorphin release is significantly greater in group exercise or group personal training than in individual training, even at constant power output….therefore doubling our pain tolerance! The significance of pain tolerance is underappreciated, as pain can lead to altered movement patterns, injury, and disability. This may seem like a morbid mindset, but it happens more than you think! Too many people let pain and injuries alter their daily life, taking away the things they love! Back pain prevents many from picking up the grandchildren or even their children, workout, or garden. Working out helps you build your pain tolerance and prevent the negative cascade of events!
Positive influence on habits: A 2011 study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise found that the exercise habits of people you know have a positive influence on your exercise habits. Getting yourself a workout buddy will increase your chances of sticking to a program! In the world of short attention spans and instant gratification, being patient and consistent is mandatory for success. Exercise, health, and nutrition are not sexy. Despite what other gyms and the next fad, exercise, health, and nutrition take a lot of time and effort. Often times, this time and effort isn’t fair. Sometimes you’ll work your butt off and not lose a pound. Other times you’ll train harder and not improve. Exercise, fitness, and health are like life, and life isn’t fair. You could be in tip top shape, then get hit a bus. This makes a long-term outlook essential for successful, realistic, and positive improvements in health and exercise. It is sexy and easy to hop on and off the health and fitness fad, but taking the bus down the health and fitness lifestyle is grueling, so having positive influcers (like your personal training partner) around you is mandatory for picking you up when you get knocked down (cue the Chumbawamba).
Power Couples: Not only are you 5 times more likely to exercise if your spouse is – but the empathy, praise, and connection has a huge emotional benefit that spills over into your relationship. Our boot camp classes have a growing number of couples who are working out together. Now, we don’t suggest critiquing each other and do suggest having a different workout partner, but working out with each other has tons of benefits:
One person isn’t at home eating ding-dongs while the other is working out.
One person isn’t thinking the other is at home eating ding-dongs while the other is working out.
You will begin eating healthier at home.
You are aware of each other’s physical goals and can help keep each other on track.
You are both in better shape and potentially more attracted to one another…
You set a positive example for your children (if you have any).
You can enjoy the COR Couple’s Discount.
You have an excuse to massage each other for recovery.
And so on…
Increased Force Production: Having a workout partner who motivates and challenges you will increase your force production. No matter the quality of a group exercise class, one person keeping an eye on you can increase force production. We often try and push ourselves, but certainly can feel tired or down on certain days. This makes having a partner call you out on a tired day or feed into your energy when you are making hard pushes great for increasing force production.
Greater Social Involvement Outside of the Workout: A lot of exercise programs (like our group exercise boot camp) expand beyond the gym. Social activities can increase social and community engagement. If you workout with a partner, you’re more likely to attend these social outings. This completes the triangle of balance, building up the social side to balance the work and health. In the Bay Area, whether you are in Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Santa Clara, or San Jose, you are becoming more isolated. You sit in front of computers and in your cars for long periods of time, decreasing our social (not work) interactions. Group exercise classes can increase your social and fitness aspect. At COR, we have quarterly parties, monthly dinner outings, hiking, coffee…a lot of social engagements!
Increased Goal Attainment: Goals are easy to make, but hard to attain. How many times have you written or thought of a goal, only to have it fall to the side after a week. The greater accountability the more likely you’ll reach your goal. Too often goals are kept within, but if you share your goal with your trainer, personal training partner, or exercise community, the greater the likelihood you’ll reach this goal. Our goal wall is a great way to increase goal attainment, forcing you to look your goal in the eye for every workout and day.
More Likely to Try Something New: If you are hesitant to try something new, a personal training partner can help you conquer this fear. Seeing someone you know and trust do an exercise or movement increases your likelihood to try something. You shouldn’t always practice this jump off the bridge idea, but it can help if you are hesitant to exercise and trying new things.
You Could Afford a Personal Trainer: A workout partner can make a personal trainer more affordable. Often, a partner workout is half the price as a regular one-on-one session, saving you a lot of money. Some are concerned a trainer can’t keep an eye on more than one person at once, but this isn’t true. A trainer should (not all do) be able to monitor multiple people at once and teach skills systematically for safe workouts.
You’ll Be more Fit: If you workout with a friend, you two will become more fit. Having more fit friends will help you stay more fit, as habits are contagious. The more time you spend with someone who is fit, healthy, and/or happy the more likely these feelings will rub off on you. Why not increase your chances of a successful fitness and healthier life? Stack the odds in your favor and bring a buddy to get fit and surround yourself with fit people!
How to Find a Workout or Personal Training Partner
Now, that you know the 12 benefits of having a workout partner, you need to know how to find one. This step may sound easy, but you need to find a good fit, as a bad workout partner can be a toxic as a good workout partner can be beneficial.
Make Sure you Really Like Them: It is easy to bring a work friend or someone you casually know as your personal training workout partner. Unfortunately, you are going to undoubtedly hit rough patches with your workout partner. Make sure you really like your workout partner. Like any relationship, you’ll hit tough times, them skipping workouts, slacking, wanting to chat, etc. Also, you want to increase your chances of making the workout, so if you pick someone you really want to hangout with and don’t see too often, then you’ll find a way to get to the workout.
Pick the Perfect Skill Level: When picking a personal training workout partner, make sure you pick you pick someone with the perfect skill level. This skill level will differ based on your level and who you work well with. When finding a workout partner, here are the are common good fits:
Nervous Newbie: If you are a nervous newbie, bring someone with a similar skill level. This way, you can have someone to laugh with and make mistakes, because you will certainly make mistakes.
Pleasing Partner: If you are a people-pleaser, I highly suggest working out with someone slightly more skilled than you. This can keep the carrot in front of you, challenging yourself and your people-pleasing traits.
Debbie Downer: If you don’t want to workout, you have a few things to address first, but finding a highly dependable person is key. If you are already down on exercising, having a dependable partner can get you to the gym. However, make sure this person doesn’t annoy you and give you another excuse to miss the gym.
Skilled Samurai: Even if you have been in the gym for years can be helpful. If you have years under your belt, finding a newbie with great potential can expand your mindset, pass along what you know, and also challenge you once they progress.
Compatible Attitude: A compatible attitude is often a positive attitude. Finding someone with a positive attitude can rub off on you and make each workout more enjoyable. However, if you are a Debbie Downer (see above) this high positivity may hurt you. This makes a compatible attitude a must for an exercise buddy.
Compatible Motivational Styles: If you like to get yelled at, then finding someone who also enjoys this style can help your workouts. If you want to gossip between workouts, then find someone who isn’t at the gym yelling at you to get your rear off the ground!
They have the Sameish Schedule: Your workout partner has to come to workouts. If your partner needs to workout at 5 am and you are a night owl, it isn’t going to work. Finding the person with the same schedule greatly increases workout accountability.
We aren’t letting the power of accountability go underutilized. In effort to maximize your performance, goals, and self – we’re setting you up to succeed by taking advantage of the strength of group training.
We’re setting you up with a kick-butt support system, team collaboration and camaraderie, friendly competition, and quality accountability to make those goals reality.
How are you staying accountable for your goals this week?
Written by Amanda Presgraves. Amanda is a senior Kinesiology major, Division I student-athlete and entrepreneur at James Madison University. As an advocate of health and personal growth, she’s on a constant pursuit to optimize life and inspire others through her commitment to healthy living. If you can’t find Amanda bouncing between the classroom, pool, kitchen, or volunteering, you can find her online as she continues to lead and motivate others towards a happier and improved life at COR through her article contributions, newsletters and community motivation. (@amandapgraves, linkedin).