Today’s topic, like some others on this blog, would be one that can polarise opinions. It is one of those “pick whichever option works best for you” topics. Although we have already laid down the conclusion that will come out of reading this article, the body of this article will focus on the advantages of each system and help you pick the best option. Ready to get enlightened? Good.
Here are some reasons for working out alone:
Your Body, Your Rules:
Isn’t it empowering to think that you can work out the way you want? If you are working out with a buddy or in a group, you might be limited to mob mentality rather than being able to work on a customised routine. This is especially relevant if you have specific fitness goals that warrant a specific set of exercises to get there. Ain’t nobody gonna tell you what to do, dawg!
Your Time, Your Rules:
This is very similar to the first reason. Without being accountable to anyone, you can set your own time and schedule. Sure, it does require discipline to do so, but this method allows for the most flexibility. After all, you never know when your normal schedule will be interrupted by a business meeting or last-minute emergency right? Also, some people randomly get the craving for exercise, so if this is you, then working alone might be the best.
Not A Mouth Workout:
What do you think happens when buddies exercise together? That’s right – they chat and chat and chat. While some might enjoy the social aspect of it, such workouts will probably be less efficient than working out by yourself. Basically, if you workout alone, the objective is simple – get dressed, get to the location, perform the workout, then get out. As long as you don’t muck around, you will definitely save time working out alone.
Control “The Other Things” That Can Motivate You:
Apart from the workout itself, there are other things that you can control more when you are exercising alone. For example, you can put on your headphones and listen to that mix that you put together, tailored to excite and motivate you! You can also wear the same outfit for two days in a row without a workout buddy to judge you. Think about it!
You’re Not Relying On Someone Else:
Let’s face it – if you have planned a workout which involves another person, and the other person suddenly bails on you, won’t you feel demoralised and come up with an excuse not to exercise as well? Come on, that’s human nature, right? If you are used to exercising by yourself, this wouldn’t be an issue at all, would it? Similarly, if you are feeling ill or unable to exercise for whatever reason, no one will give you grief for it either.
Now let us look at the other side of the coin i.e. working out with a buddy or in a group. Of course, there will be minor differences between those two scenarios, but I’m sure you will figure that out as we cover these points. Here goes:
Peer Support Enhances Motivation:
This is the most common one that is cited. When you are working out with a buddy, you can encourage each other and push each other to the limit. In a group setting, seeing others perform well also psychologically motivates you to go the extra mile and complete the exercise in times of fatigue. Furthermore, a group session early in the morning will not fail to charge you up.
Helps You Reach Your Potential:
Oh yes it does – but only if you allow it to! This one really depends on the fitness level you are at. For example, if you are at a level between “medium” and “high” intensity, forcing yourself to go to the high intensity class will help you improve your fitness-related craft. It will really make you step up your game. However, the reverse can also be true though.
Puts The Fear Of Accountability In You:
Okay, maybe I have exaggerated slightly here. But I think you know what I’m actually getting at. If you have scheduled several workouts with a friend, you have an obligation not to let them down. Depending on your personality, habits and values, this might be the difference between working out and slacking off. The pressure is far less with group exercise, but it is there to a certain extent; it depends.
Incorporate Socialising With Exercise:
Okay, let’s say you really hate exercise for whatever reason, or you are a total beginner hoping to ease into it slowly. If you also happen to be an outgoing extrovert, mixing exercising with socialising can be a good move because it distracts you from the unpleasantness of exercise that you hate. This only works if you are not “striving to be your best”, but rather “struggling to get any exercise in”. Hey, a little bit of exercise is better than nothing, so sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
So what is the final verdict here? Is it better to work out alone, with a buddy, or in a group? Hah, as if I have a standard uniform answer for you. You have to look at all the reasons above and your intuition will tell you which way to go. If in doubt, you can start off trying a mixture of both and see which one works. Hint: Which ones give you a more regular or more intense workout.
But one thing you must know is this – your fitness and your goals are your responsibility and no one else’s! I talk about this extensively in the Lifelong Fitness Blueprint. If you make a promise with a mate and s/he bails on you, it is not his or her fault. S/he may have made the decision not to honour the commitment, but it is not a two-party covenant. You can still own up to and fulfill your part of the agreement. Because at the end of the day, personal responsibility are the keywords here. After all, you want to gain the benefits, don’t you? So take action and get down to it!
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