Earlier in the week, I started a poll on Twitter asking whether you prefer to exercise alone or with a partner. The winner was “it depends on my mood!” And it got me thinking, what exactly are the differences between working out alone and having your gym buddy with you?
The answer is different for everyone and according to the poll, it may even be different for one person on different occasions!
My answer? The popular vote takes it for me also. There are times when I want to be left alone to focus, with nothing but my music to motivate me and there are times when I need a bit of a push from someone else.
For me personally, the biggest differences between exercising alone and exercising with someone else are motivation, support, and competitiveness.
Sometimes, you just need the motivation of a partner to workout. After all, having someone to text you in the morning and say “rise and shine, it’s leg day!” is way more motivating than your alarm going off, especially when snoozing is an option…
For some, on the other hand, the snooze button isn’t a problem. Waking up and hitting the gym with no one but you, your yoga pants and your headphones can be a thrill. Training at an empty gym, being able to focus on what you want and what you came to do? Yes, please! It can be like a sanctuary; the perfect place for when you need alone time.
Being someone who likes to exercise alone is definitely a plus when don’t have access to a gym or you simply don’t like the gym setting. If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of bodyweight exercises and what better place to do it than in the comfort of your home?
That’s not to say that you can’t work out at home with a partner. As a matter of fact, there are bodyweight workouts designed specifically for dynamic duos…
While many people are skeptical about bodyweight exercises, I love them! Just because you’re not lifting heavy bars and plates, doesn’t mean you won’t get results. You can lose weight, strengthen your body and even build muscle. That’s right, “gains” are an option even without heavy lifting.
If you’re interested in bodyweight training, check out my latest bodyweight routine here!
When it comes to supporting, well, as Arnold puts it, “The training partner was always responsible to challenge you at all times..so you don’t slack off, so you don’t give yourself a break.”
The person who trains with you should be one that you can turn to for moral support when you’re not really feeling yourself. And although it’s important to focus on yourself instead of focusing on surpassing that pumped up stranger at the gym, competition with others can be healthy! Having a partner with you, to compare your progress with can definitely be a good form of motivation. You can even push each other by having workout challenges and competitions with one another.
Your partner should be someone you learn from, as well. It’s great to share new information with each other; to give and take advice on how to improve your workouts!
If you’re both beginners, you may need to find the advice elsewhere but even then, you can share the new things you learn as you go along and you always have each other for moral support. After all, walking into a gym for the first time can be extremely overwhelming. You may not know how the machines work, you may not know where to start, and you might feel like everyone’s watching and judging you (I can assure you, most people are NOT) and if you’re alone, you can probably multiply the nerves and confusion by 10.
Having your friend with you just brings you a sense of comfort and if you’re both new… well, at least you can not know what you’re doing, together.
So, partner up or go solo?
To sum up, there is no “better” option. There are benefits to working out alone and benefits to exercising with a friend or trainer. In the end, the important thing is that you’re getting the motivation you need, getting your workouts in and you’re enjoying yourself while improving yourself!
Which approach do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!