There are many benefits to working out with someone, whether it’s a friend, partner, or loved one. It doesn’t matter if you are doing a cycling session that is cardio heavy, a workout using your body weight, or a lifting session. Having support and encouragement can make a huge difference in your training and make the exercise more fun.
Research has been done at the University of Aberdeen that found that having an exercise buddy increased people’s motivation, which leads them to do more exercise. One of the things that often deters people from working out with others is that it’s hard to find someone who is at the exact same fitness level as you are. However, this shouldn’t be a deterrent, instead view it to get creative with how you are exercising. Here are four great ways to mix movements when you train someone at a different fitness level.
#1: Add in a Bonus Round with Your Partner After Doing Your Workout
If you are more advanced than the person you will be working out with, consider completing your workout before pairing up to burn additional calories together. For example, if you pair up with someone to run, you can do a few laps before meeting up and then finishing off together. If you are someone who likes to use weights and get cardio every day, and your partner only wants to do cardio, you can do your weight training on your own and then get together for the cardio portion of your workout.
#2: Consider Participation in a Step Challenge Together
Although you might have different strides and speeds, steps are a common factor that anyone can count and be equally challenged. The great thing about a step count challenge is that it is something that you can get the whole family into. You can set the goal as high or as low as you want to, and you can expand the challenge to include many different people. It is a great way to get more active and moving around!
#3: Do Different Forms of Cardio Than Your Workout Buddy
Just because you are a runner doesn’t mean that you need to partner up with someone who also runs. Provided that you choose trails that provide a good surface, you can also pair up with someone who is riding a bike or rollerblading. Another advantage to running while someone is on a bike is that frequently bikes come with a basket, making it easier to carry water bottles and wallets. This is especially great if you are looking to work out with your spouse since it will give you time away from all of your responsibilities and interruptions.
You can also use this strategy to include children. You can either jog alongside them while they are biking or use a bike trailer to take them along while you are biking. You can also incorporate yard work into getting a cardio workout with your kids and spouse. Things like raking leaves, shoveling snow, and gardening are all great ways to increase your cardio.
#4: Mix Up the Weight and Reps
Working out in the gym is the most comfortable place to adapt your workout to different levels. If you and your workout partner are following the same workout program, you can each load your weights to match your abilities. If you are doing a circuit workout, those less experienced can focus on doing one round of the circuit, while those who can, can do two rotations. You want to remember that even you are working with another person, you don’t want them to be standing around for long periods watching you workout.
If your goal is to train hard and fast, then it is best to choose to work out alone or with people of a similar fitness level to your own. However, you can definitely find ways to include those of different athletic backgrounds. It is essential to always be respectful, stay together, and keep the lines of communication open. You don’t want the person who has a lower fitness level to feel as though they are being judged by you.