Science of a Workout Partner

Science of a Workout Partner

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Whether it’s a friend, a trainer or your significant other, science tells us that workouts are always better when we’re together (Jack Johnson reference totally intended).


Working out with someone else is simply more fun than doing it alone. You can focus on the conversation rather than the discomfort of your workout and solidify a social bond that is important to you. This means that the dopamine and serotonin levels are getting a double whammy – one from your workout and one from your bonding session.


When your bed is warm and toasty it’s really easier to hit snooze if no one is waiting for you at the gym. Making your appointment into a ‘date’ with another person makes you far more likely to honour the commitment. The reason for this is human beings are wired to value external motivation and to be concerned by what others think of them. This is usually not such a good thing but in this case, it works in your favour.


Having a workout partner is a smart thing to do. There’s someone to spot you on a heavy lift, let you know when you are pushing yourself too far or keep you from looking vulnerable if you’re outdoors. For workouts that have increased safety risks for women alone, like road and trail running, it’s particularly important to remember that there’s safety in numbers.

Healthy Competition

No one likes to come up second best, even if it is to the love of your life or your BFF. Studies have shown that people are far more likely to exercise closer to their maximum rate of exertion when they are with others. A study from the University of Michigan claims that you’ll exercise up to 200% harder. We all feel the need to keep up with our workout buddy rather than admitting we’d rather slow down. This is great motivation and will stop you from slacking off – just remember not to push yourself beyond your own capabilities.

Efficient use of time

You want to workout but you also want to spend some quality time with the important people in your life. Who said those have to be two separate activities? A run or a gym session is definitely cheaper and healthier than a few cocktails and could actually be better for the relationship. Setting and achieving goals, overcoming obstacles and trying new things are all things which have been proven to strengthen relationships. A catch-up over coffee is always great but adding some sweat can actually mean more for your relationship in the long term.

You might actually see better results

So you’re more likely to show up, work harder and get the hormones that make you feel good and lose weight if you share your physical activity time with someone nice. That means that you’re also more likely to lose the fat, gain the muscle or increase the fitness as you set out to. No interested workout buddies? Find other ways to make social connections a part of your fitness routine; join a running club, go to a pilates class or get social on an app like Strava. Anything that adds a sense of community to your workout will be beneficial. But before you write off your friends as couch potatoes consider just inviting them for a walk in the forest for your next date before he or she suggests the usual spot.

Alexa is a wellness blogger and holistic lifestyle educator. Read more Ally Cat Wellness tips here.