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The Psychology of workout Partners

Fitness Feature

Written by Lauren Hunsberger

Maximize your workouts by choosing the right number of peers. 

Solo Workout

For those with packed schedules, working out alone can serve as a rare time to decompress, think and even drop into a meditative state. Less conversation can mean less distraction, and therefore greater concentration on what’s going on with your body. Other benefits to sweating solo include being more flexible with the time and place. Sometimes the ability to be spontaneous can serve you better if you’re trying to squeeze in a session. However, if accountability is important to you, this isn’t your best option.


Friend Workout

There are many reasons to find a consistent workout buddy. In fact, experts say this might be the best option in terms of accountability. A 2016 study published by University of Aberdeen reports, “a new exercise companion increased the amount of exercise people took. This was increased even more when the new partner was emotionally supportive.” Finding an exercise partner you enjoy can also bolster inspiration, creativity and a healthy competitive spirit that can push you harder.

How to Pick a Partner

Same schedules

Because accountability is one of the greatest benefits of working out with a partner, finding someone with a similar schedule is crucial to making the relationship work. If either party is constantly cancelling, it can work against you and leave you frustrated.


Whether you’re a glass half-full person or not, it’s important to enjoy the temperament of your partner. You don’t want to spend your time with someone who puts you in a negative state of mind.

Similar Goals

You don’t have to share the exact same goals, but it helps to be working on similar skills or with similar equipment. This will maximize your time spent together.

Different strengths

While your goals might be similar, it helps to train with someone who has different strengths. Then you can learn from each other and
be inspired.


Group Workout

Working out in a group offers slightly different perks than working out with one partner. Having an instructor put together a plan is one of the biggest benefits. Plus, they can safely take participants through progressions. This exposes beginners to advanced practitioners, which aids with motivation. The social component of group classes is notable as well. Oftentimes, people who struggle through a tough workout form strong friendships that can go beyond the gym.

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