Why Personal & Small Group Training Is for Everyone
Research shows that the healthy actions of others rub off on us. A study published in the Journal of Social Sciences found that participants gravitate towards the exercise behaviors of those around them. A 2016 study published in the journal Obesity found that overweight people tend to lose more weight if they spend time with their fit friends — the more time they spend together, the more weight they lose.
Which makes a pretty strong argument for making your workouts communal. But it’s just one of many reasons why it may be easier (and more enjoyable) to get fit in a pack.
Exercising With a Group Can Take Your Workouts Up a Notch
Whether it’s a group fitness class at the gym, a run in the park with some friends, or a small group session with Traveling Trainers, here are some of the specific benefits you can glean from working out in a group.
Increase your commitment to a fitness routine: “Working out with a crowd carries a plethora of intertwined benefits that include enhancing consistency, motivation, conversation and inspiration,” says Dian Griesel, Ph.D., co-author of the book, TurboCharged. “Workouts with others improve consistency because they involve a commitment. ‘No shows’ and cancellations get noticed by others and positive peer pressure can help curtail the urges to skip a workout … or quit.”
One study found that 95 percent of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program, compared to a 76 percent completion rate for those who tackled the program alone. The friend group was also 42 percent more likely to maintain their weight loss.
“For most people, it’s difficult to stay consistent with workout routines, but having a certain group there waiting for you provides you with the motivation and accountability everyone needs to be successful,” says Michael Yabut, Training Manager and National Trainer at TITLE Boxing Club International, LLC.
Push yourself harder: The Köhler Effect is the idea that no one wants to be the weakest link in a group setting. When it comes to fitness, this translates to pushing yourself harder when tasked with working out with people who are fitter than you.
A study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology set out to examine how true the effect really is — having participants perform a series of planks both alone and with a partner (whose performance was manipulated to always be better than the participants). What they found was that working with a partner produced a motivation gain that allowed the participants to hold their planks for a longer period of time. In fact, those who exercised with a more-capable partner increased their plank time by 24 percent.
Other studies confirm that working out with a partner significantly increases time spent exercising. A study by the Society of Behavioral Medicine showed that working with a partner, especially in a team format, improved performance, doubling the workout time of those who exercised alone.
It seems that opting for a group setting for at least a few workouts each week may help you push yourself past the threshold you tend to hit when working out solo — whether that be in time or intensity.
Get a competitive edge: One reason why you may push yourself harder when others are grunting alongside of you is the innate competitive streak in all of us. “Group settings can lead to a positive competitiveness. For instance, wanting to keep up with those around you can make you push yourself harder than you would on your own. Seeing what others are capable of doing can inspire you to do more.
Researchers at Kansas State University found that people who exercised with someone they thought was better than them increased their workout time and intensity by 200 percent.
“We found that when you’re performing with someone who you perceive as a little better than you, you tend to give more effort than you normally would alone,” says Brandon Irwin, assistant professor of kinesiology, and principle researcher in the study. “In certain fitness goals, like preparing to run a marathon, consider exercising not only with someone else, but with someone who is that much better.”
Capitalize on endorphins: Group workouts can have a couple of mental advantages over solo workouts. While it’s true that working out releases endorphins (think of all of that talk of a runner’s highs), a group setting can lead to the release of endorphins outside of just physical exertion. One way is through smiling. Smiling has been shown to increase endorphin levels in studies. So when you’re in a great class or with a great bunch of people working out, that kind of conviviality can really make you feel great outside of just your runner’s high. An added benefit of this mood boost is that when you’re pushing yourself hard and struggling through more difficult parts of your workout you’ll feel better and more energized to complete the exercises.
A study published in the International Journal of Stress Management found that people who exercised on a stationary bicycle for 30 minutes with a friend said they felt calmer after the workout than those who cycled alone. And it’s also just more fun!
Get external motivation when you’re dragging: Being a part of this type of community can provide a huge boost of motivation beyond the one that comes with the physical benefits of a workout. Motivation improves because group workouts are often filled with encouragement; ‘You can do it!’ cheers and other accolades from others keep the energy and motivation high. Inspiration benefits because in a group there is always the one who ‘seems to do it best’ and becomes the ‘reach’ for the group.
Working out with other people creates a high level of motivation among one another, especially when someone has a good day. The positive vibes are infectious and spread throughout the class like wildfire, creating a positive attitude and environment for the whole class.
Think of how much you could benefit from a little encouragement when dragging yourself through those three miles on the treadmill. When you work out with the right people or in the right class you get uplifted and encouraged to be your best. All those shouts to do one more, or push to the finish line, plus the high fives and pats on the back for completing sets and accomplishing personal bests create amazing positive feedback loops. And just like with smiling, trigger the release of hormones that make you feel good. All these things can make sure that you stick with your workouts and wellness routine.
Choosing between hanging out with your friends and working out does not have to be mutually exclusive options. Whether it’s a gathering of friends, a mom’s support group, or a team of athletes on their offseason, working out together is a great way to spend time with like-minded peers. Traveling Trainers can meet your group in a time and place that is accommodating to everyone’s schedule. We will provide all the exercise equipment needed, and all the members of your group need to supply is water, workout attire and a willing attitude.