Starting a fitness program can sometimes take a huge amount of self-discipline, and most of us will encounter constant setbacks from the distractions of everyday life. Going at it alone, without an outside influence to hold us accountable for making our daily (or weekly) goals, it's far too easy, during those especially challenging moments, to simply set the bar lower or give up entirely. But turn that self-discipline into group discipline and you may find yourself reaching far beyond your initial fitness goals and actually finishing what you started!
Some goals in life can be so challenging that we can benefit tremendously from working at them as a team. Think a group of monks meditating at the same time. In a group each of their individual members benefits by having a constant, and intimate system of accountability - the person literally to the left or right of you has the same goals in life and as a result they become a 24-hour support system to help you be your best. When everyone around you is working towards the same goal, you're more likely to strive to accomplish what your partners are also achieving - think about it: there's inspiration all around you!
This study from the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology for instance, found that partnering up improves your likelihood of completing a program and also of maintaining your fitness goals moving forward.
- In the study, 95% of partnered participants finished the program and 66% of those participants kept the weight off! (Compared to only 76% and 24% respectively for those who did it alone.)
- The participants with partners had a higher average weight-loss over all. So not only does having a partner (or a group) to work out with improve your chances of sticking with the routine, it can also improves your overall fitness results!
Additionally, The American College of Sports Medicine tells us that:
- Having a partner can keep you from skipping parts of a workout that you either don't enjoy as much or have less knowledge about. Your partner may know more about certain workout techniques and also may be more motivated than you towards certain activities. While you may have skipped some exercises on your own, you're more likely to give them a shot if your partner is going for it.
- Having a partner is just more fun. One of the most common reasons for giving up on a routine is boredom. Having a partner provides a social outlet and having an instructor provides direction, accountability and the possibility for learning new and stimulating exercises that keep you engaged.