We’re not going to beat around the bush here — losing weight is hard, maybe one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. The world is full of chocolate bars and fast food that helps you pack on the pounds, but very little in the way of support to help you shed a few.
It gets even harder if you’re getting up to go to the gym every morning by yourself. Group exercise can help keep you motivated and make it easier to reach your weight loss goals. Having a group of like-minded people around can help everyone reach their fitness potential. Here are some great reasons why you should consider exercising in a group or with a friend instead of going it alone.
1. No Excuses
How many times have you said this? “I don’t feel like it today — I’ll do my workout tomorrow.”
Does that sound familiar? It’s easy to procrastinate when you’re working out by yourself. You don’t have anyone to hold you accountable except for the monthly auto-draft that pays your gym membership. If you’re working out with friends, you don’t have any excuses — other than injury or illness. You can’t skip the workout and let down your fitness family, so you get out of bed and start moving even if you don’t really want to. Your workout friends are there to support you, just like you’re there to support them.
2. Exercise Variety
Going to the gym a few times a week and doing the same workout every single time is just plain boring. If you get tired of your workout, you won’t be able to motivate yourself — no matter how much weight you’re losing — so you’ll start skipping workouts or quit altogether. Working out with friends means you’ll always have something new to do, keeping your exercise routine fresh and interesting while you gain strength and lose weight.
In addition to keeping you from getting bored, changing up your workout routine can prevent you from hitting a weight loss plateau. If you’re using the same muscles every time you work out, they’ll get stronger — at the expense of the ones you’re not using. Eventually, you’ll just reach a point where you’ll stop losing weight no matter how much you exercise or how well you eat. Keep changing things up or ask your workout buddies for their suggestions.
3. Friendly Competition
Human beings are inherently competitive. We’re unconsciously obsessed with being just a little bit better than our peers. Working out in a group lets you leverage this instinct to your advantage. Even if it’s a friendly competition, you’re still pushing yourself to be just a little bit better than your workout buddies. Use this motivation to push yourself a little bit harder. That’s not something you can get when you’re exercising by yourself.
This friendly competition has physical benefits as well. Studies have shown that when you’re exercising in a group, your pain tolerance increases, as does your performance.
4. Improve Your Form
Using correct exercise form doesn’t just make you look better in the mirror — it can also prevent injury, especially if you’re lifting heavy weights. If you’re not holding your weights correctly, it can cause muscle strains or even tears. That would bring your fitness routine to a stop in a hurry.
If you’re working out by yourself, you’ve only got your reflection in the mirror to guide you unless a sympathetic trainer takes pity on you and helps you correct your form. In a group, you have a fitness family to help you if you make a mistake — and if no one knows how to do an exercise correctly, you can all learn together.
5. Classes to Learn New Skills
Fitness classes are always fun, especially if you’re in a group, and they can be an excellent way to learn new exercise skills. If your group is starting to get bored with your current workout arrangement, change things up with a class. Zumba is fantastic for cardio. Circuit classes can help you learn how to strength-train. If you really need a challenge, sign up for a martial arts or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class and push your body to its limits.
Find Your Fitness Family
Whether you’re trying to lose a little or a lot of weight, having a group of friends or acquaintances to work out with can help keep you motivated — even on those days when you’d rather stay home with Netflix and a pint of ice cream. Find your fitness family and let them motivate you to reach your goals and beyond. You might be surprised how much different your workout is with friends on either side of you on the elliptical or stationary bike, urging you to be your best.