why do people work out together?
September 22, 2007 6:45 PM   Subscribe

why do people work out together?

I'm trying to convince my buddy to start running with me. he currently runs alone with his ipod and so do I but we are at similar levels and I think we could push each other all the more. I need arguments to get him to try this out. so why is working out together better than doing this alone? what are you missing out on by going it alone?
posted by krautland to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For me, having a workout partner was a source of accountability. I don't have a problem getting up and out of the house in general, but that first cold day? That day when the glooming is oppressive? When I didn't eat well and just feel lazy? A workout partner is the only thing, for me, that separates those days from the first day of a rapid decline into sloth.
posted by janell at 6:53 PM on September 22, 2007

I think we could push each other all the more

Have you tried that line of reasoning? It's one the main reasons people work out together.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:56 PM on September 22, 2007

Accountability, as described by janell.

Companionship. It's nice to have a conversation while running or biking along. It's nice to sit at a a bar laughing about how you finished that 3 mile-run in the pouring rain. Humans are social creatures.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:58 PM on September 22, 2007

Perhaps that is your buddy's alone time. We all need that at times.
posted by JayRwv at 7:06 PM on September 22, 2007

It makes me work harder. I find I push myself more when I have somebody to compare myself to.
posted by Khalad at 7:18 PM on September 22, 2007

You'll promise to call an ambulance for him if he's dying in the gutter, having over-exerted himself and had a heart attack?

(I'm assuming jokey reasons with be useful too :)
posted by -harlequin- at 7:31 PM on September 22, 2007

Yeah, sell him on motivation. Your ego tends to flare up more when someone runs beside you, so you'll push yourself harder (and usually feel less pain) than when you work out alone. Even if you both have your iPods running and aren't talking, running with other people makes the time go by faster and the running more pleasant.

*is dreading his solo 16-miler tomorrow morning*
posted by middleclasstool at 7:50 PM on September 22, 2007

Working out alone is boring. It's not mentally stimulating. Working out together offers companionship and a sense of being in it together, and the option for conversation and someone to relate to and spend time with. It also helps make the whole thing more fun and motivation easier if you know someone is awaiting you..
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:01 PM on September 22, 2007

There's a great article in Sunday's NYT about group running. Check it out.
posted by jourman2 at 8:13 PM on September 22, 2007

Don't push your buddy into running with you if he doesn't want to. Running can be very potent brain-off time and having to deal with another person can ruin that. Some people might call that "not mentally stimulating", but for others being able to do something without having to think at all is important.
posted by ssg at 9:27 PM on September 22, 2007

My workout is my escape. It's my time, my equalizer. It is my peace.

In general I think it's better to leave people alone while they work out, unless they are obviously looking for a partner.

It's not hard to find a partner. If you want one, ask around.

I know I'm not alone in wanting everyone to GTFO while I'm doing my thing. Thats why I work out at 5AM.
posted by sanka at 9:47 PM on September 22, 2007

You can try and sell him any way you want to, but I exercise alone. Period. Unless the sport requires a partner, I don't want to have to schedule with someone else, negotiate routes, share the decision on exactly what form of exercise to do, or any of that stuff.

If your selected buddy is anything like me, your only option is find some other buddy that wants to work out with someone else.
posted by caitlinb at 11:38 PM on September 22, 2007

moral support. i worked out with a good friend and it was great--we weren't competitive (we were a couple of girls going to the gym) but knowing the other one was going to be waiting for me helped me motivate in the morning on days taht i would otherwise have blown off.

i don't know if we worked out any harder than we would have alone, but we did work out more frequently.
posted by thinkingwoman at 12:16 AM on September 23, 2007

I guess it depends on him, really. I know personally I have to run alone because I'm very sporadic about how I pace myself. Some days I just feel like running hard the whole way, other times I feel like jogging and doing little wind-sprints. And my music is the only thing that can save me from the boredom. Talking to someone else would take away from the workout.

That said, he's your way to win him over: invite him to come jogging with you at some new environment. "Hey, wanna come jog with me in the hills?" Most everyone who enjoys running will accept the challenge of a new locale. Let it become a habit for the both of you. Guaranteed to work.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:58 AM on September 23, 2007

As others have said, some people don't like a partner for working out. I don't. I'm introverted by nature, and when I'm running, that's time for me. I run after work, and it's a good time for me to work through in my head everything that happened and what it means, what I'm going to do, etc. Extroverted people do that by babbling at each other, but that irritates the crap out of me.

Offer to go together, but it's either going to sound good or not. That is, your friend is either going to need no convincing, or no amount of convincing is going to work.
posted by ctmf at 1:20 AM on September 23, 2007

I guess the question is whether you want a running partner, or whether you want to run with him in particular. I love company when I'm cycling, but I like to run alone as I get to spend time in my head working stuff out. As the answers here show, it totally depends on the person. If he's not up for it, try a running club, or craigslist (if you have one) - you should find plenty of potential run buddies there.
posted by poissonrouge at 2:34 AM on September 23, 2007

So why is working out together better than doing this alone?
Misery loves company?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:38 AM on September 23, 2007

Maybe he is reluctant because he has had injuries from competition? "I'd go and then he would put another plate on, then I would go and I'd try to slip one on, and the next thing you know we're like blown out," Chris Duncan said. "We can't work out together, it gets too competitive."
posted by philfromhavelock at 9:19 AM on September 23, 2007

I'm coming around to the "don't push him" camp. I just did my longest run ever today, and it nearly killed me, but there was something (call it corny if you must) like a sort of "solo expedition" quality to the whole thing that I quite enjoyed experiencing alone. I ran the local river trail, which takes you from pretty isolated places where you're the only person around for half a mile to busy public parks and even the heart of downtown. It was my first time running the whole trail, and it was like exploring a new country. I don't think it would have been the same if I hadn't been alone to let my mind wander where it liked.

Plus I totally rock out on "Sweet Child O' Mine" and do some Eye of the Tiger type shit that could potentially injure someone running next to me.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:01 AM on September 23, 2007

I have missed five days of running in over 30 years and I can't imagine a more intrusive thing than sharing it with some one. People regularly ask me to run with them and my answer is always the same--thanks for asking but it is my private time. If they push I simply say "No thanks and it is not negotiable". Once while traveling with two other couples on of the gentlemen insisted on getting up and going with me--after a brief friendly chat I told him absolutely no. I do not expect to share other persons private experiences except as they choose and volunteer and I expect reciprocity.
posted by rmhsinc at 6:58 PM on September 23, 2007

Nthing the "alone time" concept - I like running primarily because it gives me time to deal with my mental shit. However, for a while I was running with a buddy of mine one day a week, and that worked well - the majority of my workouts were alone, but on Sundays we'd hit the track and do a couple miles together, catch up on gossip. It was a successful compromise.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:54 AM on September 24, 2007

Late to the party, but I can see why at times you'd want a buddy. Depending on the day, I'm somewhere in that spectrum.

Sure, some days I want only "me time" but sometimes I'd love someone to be out there drill-sergeanting my ass to move it move it move it!!

Or letting me be the drill sergeant for them. Helping someone else achieve a goal makes you feel better and more accomplished.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:31 AM on September 29, 2007

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