group of adults exercising indoors

The Benefits of Working Out With a Crowd

You probably find yourself squeezing in a few extra reps or hitting that six a.m. class more often when you are working out with a friend or a group. There is truth to the old adage ‘strength in numbers’ when it comes to fitness – but what is it about exercising around others that really motivates us?

Why is there strength in numbers?

people lining up to race outside

Research clearly shows that being around other healthy people will affect our lifestyle choices. A study published in the Journal of Social Sciences found that people gravitate towards the behavior of those around them. Meaning surrounding yourself with people who are highly active will change your behavior to become more active and vice versa.

Another 2016 study published in the journal Obesity found that overweight people are more likely to lose more weight if they spend time with their more active friends – the more time spent together, the more weight lost.

How it can elevate your workouts

Whether you are doing a group exercise class or a bike through the park with your friends, here are some specific benefits that come with working out in a group.

Increases your commitment to a workout routine

line of people holding kettle bells

Working out with a group has a wide variety of benefits, including enhancing consistency, duration, motivation, conversation, and inspiration. Working out with others will improve your consistency because ‘no shows’ are noticed and canceling on friends will earn you an earful. Positive peer pressure can help cut the urges to skip or quit your workouts.

One study found that 95 percent of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed that program, compared to 76 percent of those who completed the program alone. The participants who started with friends also maintained their weight loss in the long run, 66 percent compared to 24 percent.

You will push yourself harder

people in a circle plank

The Koehler Effect is the concept that no one wants to be the weakest link in a group. Applying this concept to fitness means you will push yourself harder when you workout with people who are fitter than you.

A study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology found just how true the Koehler Effect really was. The study had participants perform a series of planks alone and then with a partner – the partner’s performance was designed to always be better than the participant. They found that working out with a partner provided a motivational gain large enough that it allowed the participants to increase their plank time by 24 percent.

Another study, by the Society of Behavioral Medicine, found that working out with a partner, especially as a team, improved performance, doubling the workout time of those who exercised alone.

Working out in a group setting a few times a week may help you increase your time and intensity compared to when you workout alone.

Ignite your competitive edge

man and woman ready to pick up weights

Pushing yourself harder in a group setting could be attributed to our innate competitive nature. Researchers at Kansas State University found that those who exercised with a teammate who they perceived to be better increased their workout time and intensity by as much as 200 percent.

Get more endorphins

group of people smiling after exercise

Working out releases endorphins whether you are exercising alone or with a group. But, working out with a group can lead to the release of hormones that have nothing to do with exercise. One way, for starters, is through smiling. Smiling has been shown to increase endorphin levels. So if you are in a fun class or working out with your best friend, you may find yourself smiling a bit more while exercising. The added benefit of this mood boost is that you will feel better and more energized when working through a particularly difficult part of the workout.

A study published in the International Journal of Management found that those who exercised on a stationary bike for 30 minutes with a friend said they felt calmer compared to those who cycled alone. Researchers from the University of Southern California found that those who workout with other people said they enjoyed the exercise more than those who worked out alone.

Switch up your workouts

man and woman passing medicine ball back and forth

Having a partner when you workout means you can do exercises you may not be able to alone, like those that require a spotter. A partner can also help with form as they are able to see you from an outside perspective.

Find support and accountability

group of people doing pull ups

Working out as a group creates a sense of camaraderie because everyone involved is working towards the same goal. It is a lot more difficult to hit that snooze button or go straight home to your couch when you have people that have come to expect you at a class.

Get external motivation

men and women cheering on woman lifting weights

Some people are blessed with being internally motivated. However, even the most dedicated run dry on self-motivation every now and again. Staying committed to a workout regimen can be extremely difficult, but when you are exercising with a group there are a lot of words of encouragement being thrown around the room. These positive vibes are infectious and can create a positive attitude and environment for the whole class. A little encouragement can go a long way and may be all the difference in the effort and time you put into a workout.

Why you should be working out in a gym

man and woman using a rowing machine

Working out in a physical gym with other people striving to meet their fitness and health goals is remarkably motivating. This month, it is ZERO down to join Xperience Fitness. Zero down. Zero contracts. Zero reasons not to join.

Find your motivation, experience the benefits of working out in a group. Join Xperience Fitness today.