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Broscience Part #5: Training partners – gain or a pain?

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Part #1 – Myths and sports supplements
Part #2 – Protein and creatine supplementation myths explained
Part #3 – Do you even run, bro?
Part #4 – Protein shakes – milk or water?

Having a training partner to assist you with your workout can be the helping hand that every bro needs in the gym. But just like every good relationship, the perfect gym buddy can be hard to find. Not sure if sharing your training regime is for you? We take a look at the pros and cons of having a gym partner to share your workout with.

PROS

If you’re currently a solo bro, there are a few good reasons to get yourself down the gym with a friend in tow. We take a look at the most common things people have to say about their gym buddies:

“A good training partner is a lot more than a spot. If they’re knowledgeable about lifting then they’ll help you progress by suggesting technique and programming improvements, and even if they know nothing they’re friendly company and encouragement.”

Commitment

Once you commit to a friend that you’ll be at the gym, you better be at the gym. Having someone relying on you to be there should spur you on to attend even on those days when laziness seems to be winning.

Motivation

Lifting weights might be increasing your strength physically, but lifting with a friend can increase your mental strength too. If you see your bro lifting harder, longer and heavier, odds are you’ll push yourself to reach the same standard. We’re not talking about an ‘annihilate the competition’ kind of attitude – it’s more about helping your buddy to push themselves when you have a good day and vice versa.

Time

Ever get stuck in your own head and limit the time you work out? If your mental focus is drifting then working out with a friend can keep your mind off life outside the gym and help the time you spend working out fly by.

Lifestyle

If the rest of your friends are sick of hearing about your paleo diet and the amount you can deadlift, your gym buddy will not only love to hear about it, but also want to share their own experiences. It could be a broscience overload, but if they’ve tried and tested a new product you’ve been thinking about or have followed a particular diet you like the sound of, you might find it helpful when making your own informed decisions.

Companionship

Sick of having to interrupt someone else’s workout to ask them to spot you? Feel awkward in the time between sets wondering whether to stare at the ground or make accidental uncomfortable eye contact with the loudest grunter in the gym? Need a hand when switching or racking weights? Want an opinion on how to change up your workout or what to add? A lifting buddy is the answer…

CONS

Although the plus points above make a training buddy seem like the perfect solution to your workout woes, some people find that having a friend around is not all is cracked up to be. Some bros will see you choosing them as your gym buddy as just another chance to hang out. If your bro is too chatty or not in the same mindset as you, you may see your determination to push yourself during a session tested.

“I have a friend as my gym partner and I feel my progress slowing down”

“I used to train with my friend but I could never concentrate when we were together. I’d always talk far too much between sets”

Distractions

From needing to change the weights frequently to lifting with the class clown, spending your workout time with someone else can take the edge off your focus and become a distraction. You can find yourself with a workout buddy who talks too much and lifts too little, or you could end up being the bad influence on someone else’s workout…

No focus

Getting your mind in the zone to train can sometimes be tricky, but most people find comfort in their routine or workout prep. If plugging in your headphone and getting your head down is what works for you then don’t sacrifice your gym alone time to lend a hand by keeping someone else company.

Working out at the wrong pace

Working out with a friend can be tough if you have different ideas about what constitutes a session. If your buddy likes to spend half an hour working and half an hour taking selfies while you struggle on alone, it’s probably not going to blossom into a great gym relationship. And even if you agree on the length of a session, if you aren’t at a similar rate of progress then things can get a little tricky.

Slowing down your workout to help out your buddy who hasn’t quite come as far as you is a really nice thing to do, but it could see your progress slow or even stop. Exerting yourself to train with a friend who has progressed further could see you strain and injure yourself, or become despondent that you aren’t making the same steps forward as they are.

So if you can find the perfect gym buddy then you may see your workouts enhanced, but there is still a lot to be said for enjoying a gym session as alone time with the peace and quiet needed to focus. We’d love to hear how you feel about training with a friend – so get in touch via Facebook or Twitter and let us know!

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