*cue inspirational quote about working out*
In theory, working out has always been a priority for me. HOWEVER, given the fact that not once have I had a consistent workout routine…you’d be correct in assuming it actually isn’t a priority at all. I think middle school P.E. was the most I’ve ever consistently exercised. Discipline WYA?!
MY best-intentioned workout routines NEVER LASTED.
We all have our excuses as to why we don’t work out, but anytime I did make up my mind that I would start a routine, I’d quickly fall short because other things got in the way and the reality was it actually wasn’t high on my list of priorities. Even something simple like getting up and walking for 10 minutes, or doing 30 squats every hour was somehow ‘too difficult’ for me to squeeze in. *eyeroll* There are so many ways we can incorporate exercise into our daily lives, but most of us don’t make time for it. That all changed once I started working out with friends.
My Experience Working Out with Friends
My realization began after a few friends invited me to attend a Fit Camp held by a local trainer. It was $50 for four weeks (two nights a week). I figured, ‘why not?’ Having to pay for something makes you value it more and, in this case, it was just another incentive to attend class. I couldn’t just WASTE this money! Not only had I made the commitment to my friends to attend the class for a month, now I was paying for it.
On my first night attending the class, it was a packed house. Since my body was so used to being in a desk chair, on a couch, or in the bed…it was stunned.
MY. BODY. WAS. STUNNED.
I got sick and immediately began contemplating how embarrassing it might be to ask for a refund LOL. However, my friends encouraged me by saying that it was normal and I’d feel better the next time and so forth. And it turns out they were right.
Had I been at the house working on my own and gotten sick…well..first off, I never would’ve even attempted to push myself like I did when everyone was around so I probably wouldn’t have gotten sick in the first place. The moment I felt myself get winded, I would’ve called it a day. I told y’all I don’t have discipline in that area! There are several fantastic reasons to work out with friends, but the encouragement alone is enough for me. Let’s go over a few more..
The Perks Group-Based Setting
We all need at least one accountability partner, and that’s one reason why working out alongside others is such a great habit to get into. When you’ve made a commitment to others and they’re counting on your attendance, it makes it waaaay harder to skip out on your workout and vice versa.
The reason I never stuck with a routine on my own is because I had no one counting on me. I wouldn’t be letting anyone down, and no one could ever call me out for not doing my body a favor. I viewed this as a perk of working out alone, and I suppose it is a perk, but it isn’t doing me any good whatsoever. In a group setting, you all hold each other accountable and therefore are more likely to have a healthy, consistent routine.
When working out in a group setting, we’re more likely to show up and push ourselves more than if we were working out alone. Not only does the encouragement of others help motivate us to do more, but that little dash of competitiveness that’s in us all makes us strive to push ourselves harder, too. When we’re side-by-side with a group and see everyone around us, for example, holding their plank, we’re more likely to hold ours longer than if we were alone. You don’t want to be the first one to drop! No one wants to be the weakest link! (This is called the Köhler Effect and it really is true!)
Instead of giving up right when you start to ache, noticing others can give you that extra pep or burst of energy.
Form is important when working out, especially strength training because if you’re not careful, or don’t have the technique mastered, you could end up not getting much out of the workout, or injuring yourself. That’s why it’s extremely helpful when you’re surrounded by others that can advise and help you correct yourself, or assist in particular workouts.
Working out in a group-setting is also known to be great for your mental health as well. See, not only does exercise release endorphins, which are the mood-boosting chemicals your body naturally releases, but smiling releases those endorphins as well! And when you’re surrounded by people shouting words of encouragement to finish the lap, round, or set, you’re going to laugh or smile all while pushing yourself to finish. It’s a win-win situation. What a beautiful cycle lol
Additionally, working out with others is an excellent way to bond and develop or strengthen friendships. For instance, if you and a group of friends decide to work out for an hour several days a week, you’re getting physical activity in while venting, laughing, or sharing ideas and that’s definitely something everyone needs.
(It’s also a nice distraction from the pain a workout may be providing).
All of these factors combined will more than likely lead to a more consistent workout routine. People are holding you accountable, you’re more motivated when surrounded by others that are pushing themselves, and the bonding experience it creates all point to a healthy routine you won’t dread.
My suggestion to you is that you:
- Make a commitment to your friends.
*Y’all have GOT to hold each other accountable, though. You can’t let each other slack, because you’re not doing them or yourself any favors. Be strong for each other!…(as cheesy as it sounds).
- Figure out what exercise and time of day is best for you.
- Consider getting a membership to a gym or pay for a trainer (since you do value what you pay for).
- GET GREAT RESULTS (in your body, stamina, and friendships..awww)
If you’re new to your town, don’t have friends, etc., signing up for a class is a great way to connect and befriend others. You’re all in the class to better yourselves and you have that in common. There are classes offered in most gyms and studios. Try a few out and see where you feel most comfortable. A spin class? Yoga? Boxing? The list goes on and you’ll find your place eventually.
Give it a try!
Also, if you’re trying to get an overall, healthy routine going, don’t forget the importance of sleep!
What do you think?