Samantha Keener – @Skeener0924
Have you ever hit that plateau in your training when you don’t seem to be dropping pounds or maybe you haven’t noticed much growth in muscle mass in a while and quickly start to lose motivation? Or maybe it’s after many long days of work and you just can’t seem to muster up the energy to stop at the gym on your way home? Hell, it might be the piles of homework you just can’t seem to find time to finish, let alone make time to hit the gym for a quality training session. If you find yourself answering yes to any of these scenarios, I have the answer to your problem.
Having a support system, or in this case, a great training partner or group of people may just be the answer you didn’t know you were looking for. Many studies show that having a support system for just about anything in life is almost guaranteed to produce a positive outcome, so why not create this environment for yourself at the gym? I’m here to tell you why flying solo is ok, but training in a pair or group will increase your results from training and create a more positive lifestyle overall. Here are my 4 reasons why you should be training with other people:
Accountability: We can all find a million reasons why we’ve lost motivation or can’t find the motivation to get ourselves to the gym, but having someone else counting on you to show up, makes a big difference in your attitude. Knowing that you’re needed for someone else to also strive in their training should jump start that motivation before you know it.
As a partner, creating goals with one another and reaching them becomes a thing of beauty. Reaching goals now becomes more attainable because you’ve got your buddy or buddies to push you when you need pushed. Guess what? This is now a win-win situation because not only is that person(s) helping you reach your goals, you’re helping them crush theirs as well. Last week, after you had a couple of those lousy days when you felt weak and weren’t pushing the weight that you should have been pushing, your training partner stepped in and gave you the motivation to push through. Now, you find yourself in the same boat as they were; motivation becomes second nature.
I also believe that pushing yourself to finish something challenging on a regular basis creates a better version of yourself. On any given day, your challenge may just be to fight through the laundry list of work and chores you have to do, while still having the energy to make it to the gym to train. If you’re never challenging yourself, you will find yourself quitting sooner, becoming lazier, and ultimately becoming unhealthy. Challenges bring out the best in a person and forces you to think, create and strive. Training SHOULD be hard and it SHOULD be challenging you constantly.
Accountability shows itself in many ways, and this right here will be the reason you push yourself past the plateaus and past the excuses.
Training Intensity: You’ve made it back into the gym and the gains are so close, you can almost feel them. Now, it’s time to turn it up a notch. As humans, we have a mechanism built in called competition. I don’t care if you’ve never played a sport, you WILL find yourself becoming more competitive. Whether that’s against your buddy to see who crushes the HIIT training at the end of your workout faster or if it’s against yourself because you weren’t going to let yourself NOT finish that insane set of 100 reps of dips. It’s officially your duty as a partner or member of a group to push every person around you harder and faster. Becoming better is the name of the game and maybe you haven’t found that yet because you lacked the extra intensity you didn’t strive for when you were training solo. Don’t worry, increased training intensity happens almost naturally and without notice.
Safety in Numbers: We’ve all been in the situation when your training plan calls for a one rep max, or maybe even a set of 3 reps, and because you’re alone, you decide it will be ok to just do as much as you think you can without a spotter. Well, sure, maybe you can hit that one rep of 225 on bench, but if you had a training partner there to spot you, maybe you could have actually hit 245. So, instead, we limit ourselves to falling short of the mark and never knowing what it’s like to constantly push yourself to the max. Having a partner or group of people to train with, allows for you to ALWAYS have a spotter. Not only can your training partner spot you, but they can also give very valuable feedback on form as well. Bad form can be just as dangerous as loading up with weight that you can’t push or pull safely.
The Social Aspect: I’m not advocating for socializing in a way that deters you from the reason why you’re at the gym, but I will say that creating relationships with the people you train with will enrich you’re overall health. Think about it this way; these are the people who are grinding out tough training with you day in and day out. These people share a similar mind set of hard work and living a healthy life. You don’t get to choose the people you work with, but you can choose the gym you go to and the people you want to train with. You might have had a terrible day at work, but you know that the minute you start pushing the iron with the people that hold you accountable to reaching your fitness goals, your day does a 180 and you’re back on track. Your training partner is the first to congratulate you on that new squat PR. Humans weren’t mean to do things alone; we’re meant to be in a tribe, or a training group. We’re meant to help each other along the way, which, in our case means pushing each other to become better, stronger and faster. Rethink your decision to train alone; you might just become stronger for it.
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