In the traditional image of this holiday with pairing up in mind, I would like to take this week’s post to discuss some of the psychosocial benefits to pairing up with a workout buddy, as well as some of the benefits to working out with your significant otter! I mean, other (sorry, small mammal joke, you know how it is.)
Benefits of Bringing a Buddy
Let’s face it… When starting a new routine, especially a physically demanding one that leaves us feeling sore and battered, it can be MISERABLE. But, when you’ve got a friend beside you experiencing the ups and downs with you, suddenly, with some perspective, things don’t seem so bad. You get to share in some jokes, poke fun at each other, and overall form a bond during something that most people consider personally torturing yourself.
Ever work a job that was just plain crummy? Underpaid, underappreciated, and a boss that put all of their short comings on the employees? Perhaps it was solely the money that kept you coming back, but perhaps there was something else … a comradery you formed with your co-workers who also experienced “the suck.” A bond, through an experience that only those involved could understand.
Perhaps you were close to a sibling, or cousin growing up, and at family gatherings the two of you could escape the ridiculousness of your relatives and marvel at what a mess your domestic structure was, but again, a bond and understanding was formed through the similar experience.
Maybe you were on a sports team; remember training camp? The endless suicide drills and practices that dragged on so long you thought you were going to puke? Having a group of people to commiserate with always seemed to make it worth it and gave you great stories to exchange after the grueling workouts and friendships were formed through hardships.
The point here, is that “Misery loves company” and having someone to share in the strife makes it easier to deal with and treat as just a bump instead of a monumental poo-storm threatening to destroy the very fabric of your humanity. Plus, there just is no replacing the bond formed by individuals who have shared a common strife.
Another good reason to grab a buddy for the gym haul is the effect of healthy competition. As human beings, we tend to measure ourselves against others without even meaning to do it. This is the foundation of competition and a good way to keep you pushing harder than you could on your own.
If they put up the 20# dumbbell, why shouldn’t you be able to? 20 Pushups? Bet I can do 25!
So inevitably, just in conjunction of another individual performing the same routine, we want to be better, and there is nothing wrong with that!
Just remember to check your ego at the door. Competition is supposed to be fun and rewarding. As well it can help teammates push harder to match each other’s stride because let’s face it; no one wants to be the dead weight.
So don’t forget, no one likes being around a showboat or braggart, especially at the gym.
Not be confused with competition, inspiration can also be a benefit of working out with a friend. When on the bench press and you’re pushing as hard as you can, you’ve got a cheerleader pumping you up and demanding your best.
Bonus: That person spotting you with that heavy weight over your head that could crush your throat? Not only are they your cheerleader, but if your muscles fail, they are your guardian angel. They will protect you, and pull you out of a potentially lethal situation. That workout buddy, very well may be the person who saves your life one day! Trust is earned, bonds are formed (Am I repeating myself?)
Perhaps your workout buddy is a bit more experienced than you. That’s great! Working out with someone who has more experience (Don’t confuse experience with big muscles) will give you a verbal and physical guide through exercises including their proper form (Not to be pluggy … but you can also consider getting a trainer for this perk!) helping you achieve maximum benefit and get you on the road to being your own guru. As well, with a more experienced partner you’ll be more apt to work harder to “get on their level.”
This is the big one folks. Accountability. One of the easiest ways to start a routine, and to stick to it, is to have what I like to call an accountabilabuddy. Having an accountabilabuddy will make your decision to skip out on your routine that much more difficult because it wouldn’t be just yourself you are letting down, but another person, and hopefully a friend (no one wants to let down their friends!)
Accountabilabuddy’s will keep you honest, not just to your routine, but to your form, and your reps as well. If you aren’t going all the way down into that pushup, who’s going to tell you to cut that crap and stop cheating yourself? Clearly not you, because you did it in the first place, but with a buddy to tell you to stop cheating yourself, suddenly it’s more important, because it isn’t JUST YOU.
As a parting thought to this section, we are social creatures by nature. Remember, no man is an island. Almost any activity becomes that much better when you’ve got a friend by your side.
*Que Randy Newman: You’ve Got a Friend In Me.*
Next, I’d like to talk briefly about the benefits of working out with your significant other for all you love bugs out there.
On top of everything you can get from working out with a friend, there are some special benefits reserved solely for couples hitting the grind together.
Bonds and Trust
Relationships, like training, can hit plateaus and at times be incredibly difficult to persevere through. But as you will learn in the gym and in life with your partner, any obstacle can be overcome. Sometimes it requires an outside perspective, a cheerleader, someone to impress, or two minds (and bodies) tackling a goal together.
Couples who work out together also gain the benefit of having a common activity they both enjoy which can lead to other active shared interests. Nothing better than enjoying something you love with someone you love.
Don’t forget spotting. You’ve got to trust that your partner won’t let that weight crush your throat. I just hope you didn’t forget your anniversary … They might remember that the next time you’re pushing that set to failure.
Yep. That is 100% correct. Fit couples will have the tools to increase the duration and “fun-factor” of their whoopee sessions, be it trying new and complicated positions, or the sheer fact that if you can throw your bodyweight around … imagine what you could do with someone else’s body weight.
As well, the release of endorphins from working out can put you in just the right mood,
Abdominal fat is one of the leading killers of libido! Reduction in abdominal fat (which means being fit, seeing as spot training is a myth) will increase your libido!
Last but not least, being physically conditioned and limber from stretching will help to prevent some of the associated aches and pains of love making due to the physical demand it places on the body.
Gentlemen, suffering from ED? Exercise in males has been linked to correcting and preventing this affliction.
Longer Life; More Time To Grow Old and Senile Together
Yes, you heard it here. Exercise has been known to increase your life span and quality of life in the twilight years by reducing risk of many afflictions. What better reason to stay in shape than to know that you are increasing your odds of living out an even longer, fuller, healthy life with the person you love.
Imagine being healthy enough at 90 to still enjoy a nice walk together.
So go get em tiger!
And help your buddy, or your significant other to be the best they can be. After all, you’d want the same right?