Endless research supports it – working out with a friend leads to better results. Setting a day and time to sweat with a friend is a great start, but that doesn’t guarantee success. There are a few ways to make the most of your two-person workout team and be the best exercise buddy the world’s ever seen.
1. BE EMOTIONALLY SUPPORTIVE
It’s important to actually show up when you have an exercise date locked in with a friend. But as it turns out, consistent emotional support may be more important than a perfect attendance record. One study found that “people exercised more when their companion offered emotional support and encouragement and rather than practical support like never missing a session.”
2. BE COMFORTABLE WITH SILENCE
Providing solid emotional support doesn’t mean spouting out a constant flow of praise. According to one study, “Individuals tend to work out longer when their partner… kept verbal encouragement to a minimum.” It’s a common thing – saying things like “you got this!” or “keep going!” is something you’ve probably done or witnessed many times at gyms, marathons, group training sessions, etc. But as it turns out, silence may be an important part of a workout buddy dynamic.
3. BE YOUR VERY BEST
This one is a little bit… awkward. Research suggests that people may work harder and burn more calories when they’re exercising with someone that they perceive to be superior to them. A study from Kansas State University found that “those who exercised with a teammate whom they perceived to be better increased their workout time and intensity by as much as 200 percent.” The take away from this? When you’re working out with a friend, be kind and be considerate but don’t hold back!
4. BE COMMUNICATIVE
This is particularly important for couple who want to exercise together but it applies to any workout buddies. Research suggests that couples who want to work on health goals together need to align their strategies. In one study report, Dr. Renee Daily explained, “For example, a person who wants to focus on diet but their partner focuses on exercise might see the partner's suggestion of going for a walk as intrusive and unhelpful. By contrast, a person who feels they and their partner are on the same page about how to lose weight could welcome the suggestion.” If you’re open about your preferred strategy and approach from the beginning, you and your workout buddy will be able to align your approach and ultimately, get better results!