Updated: Apr 8, 2021
As social restrictions are easing slightly, people are able to meet out doors to exercise together as long they stick to social distancing. Not only is it great for your mental health to socialise and talk to people who don't live in your house, but there is a definite difference between working out with someone or a small group and working out on your own. You've probably already noticed this in the gym already if you've gone from training on your own to training with a gym buddy. Or if you've got yourself a trainer. Even the most mentally tough athlete can still find another gear if they have someone there. So I've decided to look at some of the things that changes in you work outs when you're not alone.
Now as a personal trainer I can relate to this very well. This is one of the big reasons that people hire a trainer in the first place. Saying that you are going to meet them at a specific place, at a specific time and that they are going to put you through a work out that is designed to help you meet your goals. Sounds perfect. Now unless you are very disciplined, this is something that you will struggle with.
Some people who turn up and work hard with their trainer or in the gym will find it difficult to motivate themselves to do something in the park or at home. I know this is the case for a lot of clients who I gave home work out to at the start of lockdown, and then they just didn't do it. Some of the people who didn't do those home workouts, are now able to train with me outside and are raring to go and have been working are with me since we've started back. What's the difference? Simply the fact that I am there making them accountable. I'm putting them through a workout, I'm making sure they're sticking to their diet and I'm make sure they are doing everything they need to do to achieve their goals. This is admitted by clients too. I have had clients in the past who have stayed with me for years simply because I keep them accountable and they know that as soon as they stop training with me, they will fall off the wagon.
Good old competitiveness is hard to beat. Regardless of what form it comes in. It can be as simple as a weight loss challenge, running time challenge, or and an unknown competition that only you know about. Maybe you saw a friends 5km time on social media and you say to yourself "I can beat that". Now you are pushing yourself to beat that persons time. You are now in competition and the other person doesn't even know it. That's ok. Whatever lights the fire in your belly to get you going. I know due to social restrictions, that some teams or people who train together have set up fitness challenges. Things as simple as a body weight circuit and see who does the fastest time. Or who can do the most reps in a given time. It's all in good spirit but if you're competitive you're gonna want to beat the people in the challenge. This will make you dig deep to push hard. Maybe you saw a friends run time on social media and think that you can do better. You use their time as fuel to push you on. When you're getting tired and wanting to slow down, you think about their run and their time. They weren't slowing down at this stage. They kept going. That means you have to. That means that you have to
push harder even though your body wants to do the exact opposite. Then you can the motivator for your friend. I did this with a friend recently. He posted a 5k time which was faster than I'd ever gone. I knew I could go faster than him. I used that as fuel to run my fastest 5k time. I then sent it to him and said he was going to beat my time. Now we are pushing each other to try and set faster and faster times without even being near each other.
This can take aspects from the previous two. You don't need to be competing with your training partner, but you can push each other. A good example of this is if you are doing an incredibly hard workout routine. Something that just destroys you and you even dread the thought of doing. I know for me, it's a 20 minute body weight circuit that we would be sometimes in our Muay Thai class. It's brutal. I feel like I'm going to die every time I do it. But when you are in a class you are all doing it together. You're all in the same boat suffering as a team. So you can will each other on. Maybe you see someone slowing down and you help get them going again. Or even something as simple as you and a friend in the class stock together and go at the same time. Then the goal is to make sure you don't fall behind your friend. No matter how tired you are, you have to keep up with them and get through it together. Or if you have met friends to do an out door circuit. Will each other on. Give support to anyone that is struggling. I tried to do the killer Muay Thai circuit on my own in lookdown. First time I tried it I couldn't even finish it. It was so much harder without having the guys I train with to spur me on or have the coaches push me. Or even if you are in the gym. Maybe you're doing heavy squats with
your gym buddy and he's pushing himself and says to you something like, why not try going a bit heavier or try doing a couple of extra reps. He has the faith and belief that you don't have in yourself. Now obviously don't be attempting something silly and unsafe. But if you're doubting that you could do it, sometimes having someone there to believe in you and will you on will give you the boost you need to get it done and achieve something you wouldn't have done otherwise. Some of these things you may take for granted, but a good buddy system can get you through some tough workouts.
There are more points to this that I could dive into, but I feel that these are some key aspects that having a training partner or coach will really help with. If you've been training on your own in lockdown, look at some of aspects and see how you can use them to take you to the next level. Maybe you've always trained by yourself. You can obviously get great results on your own, but try getting a friend to go to the gym with you and see if you can motivate each other to go further or compete with each other to see who can get to that next level. At the end of the day, we should all be trying to become better versions of ourselves. Sometimes you need a little help along the way.