Thursday, March 14, 2013

Having a Partner vs. Working out Solo

You may be trying hard to get regular exercise and make healthy food choices, but if you don't have like-minded friends, this can be hard to get into. Working out by yourself can be pretty difficult. I highly recommend finding a workout partner to maximize your program. When it comes to exercise, you don't have to go it alone. In fact, studies show you'll improve your overall results by working out with a partner. It's why Lance Armstrong and Matthew McConaughey team up for athletic challenges, and why Madonna and Gwyneth are forever together at the gym. Even Barack and Michelle are known for sweating it out together. Yet, sometimes it’s not for everyone. There are some benefits to working out by yourself as well as with a partner.

There are 5 key reasons why having a partner is a good course of action:

1.    They provide motivation. Having a partner helps for the days when you don't want to work out, they will be there to get you out the door. And for the days they feel like skipping, you will get them to the gym. When you want to give up completely, they will talk you into sticking with your plan.

2.    They serve as spotters. When you do exercises such as bench press, squats, military press, etc. Your partner can help spot you. They will keep your workouts safer yet more challenging at the same time, along with checking your form to make sure it is proper the whole time. By having a spotter you will be able to push yourself to new peaks because you will have them to help you.

3.    They increase your exercise arsenal. There are numerous strength moves you can do with your partner, like crunches with a medicine ball, partner pushups and leg tosses. These are fun and very effective.

4.    They provide companionship. Misery loves company. Working out can be lonely, especially long cardio sessions. Having a friend next to you to talk with while you slave away on the elliptical can make the time fly by and actually make it fun rather than a chore.

5.    They provide competition. There is nothing in this world that makes us as human beings push ourselves to new limits like the thrill of competition. If you have a partner who is slightly stronger than you, it can be surprising to see how hard they will push themselves to surpass their partner and they joy they would get from doing so.

Some reason to go solo:

1.    Nothing but time. When you work out by yourself there is nothing holding you back except you. You don't have to wait for anyone to work out just when it is convenient for yourself and you can make your workout as long or as short as you want it to be.

2.    Speed efficient. Generally working with a partner takes longer do to the waiting time in between set. If you just want a quick workout you are able to power through it without a partner holding you back. Especially if you and a partner are at different strengths, you lose a lot of time simply changing the weights.

3.    Less distractions. Working out by yourself also takes out distractions. It allows you to focus on your workout and tune the outside world out. Too often there are just workout groups standing around and talking rather than actually working out.

Moral of the story is plan to see that having a partner is in most cases seems to provide more benefits than working out by yourself. I personally work out on my own normally only for the reason that my schedule doesn't allow me to really link up with a partner. I would work out with a partner if I had the option. Working out by myself is annoying sometimes because I can't push myself to my max potential in certain areas without one. Plus it's nice to see gains as a team; it makes the sense of accomplishment greater. So if having a workout partner is not for you, that’s fine, but at least consider giving it a try.

-Will Perdue
AFFA Certified
U.S. Marine

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