Why having a training partner helps you get in shape

Graham Low and his son Max.
Graham Low and his son Max.

The Sunderland Run Festival was a huge success the weekend before last. Well done to the 4,000 people who took part in the 3K, 10K and half marathon.

I took part in the 3k run with my four-year-old son, Max. We had great fun, he absolutely loved being part of the event. The smile on his face as we crossed the finish line was priceless.

He was over the moon with his first medal, and he’s been wearing it all week. His goal is to catch up with my medal tally, so it looks like I’ve got myself a little running partner and some healthy competition!

Have you got a training partner? If you haven’t, I’d definitely recommend it. There’s lots of benefits.

It doesn’t matter what your preferred method of exercise is, whether it’s running, weightlifting, cycling, walking, you could definitely benefit from having someone to train with. Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits:

1: Your Workouts Will Fly Over: If you’re having interesting conversations with your training partner it will seem like the time passes quickly, which is a massive bonus for those people who don’t enjoy working out. As long as you actually work hard while you’re talking of course. Don’t let the conversation slow down the intensity of your workout.

2: New Ideas: If you get bored of your workouts easily, ask your partner if they have any new ideas. They might have some different exercises to try in the gym or some new routes to run, which is great to freshen up your training. You could also try alternating workout plans; one week you design the workouts, the next week let your partner decide what you do.

3: Accountability: Having a partner is great for those days when you can’t really be bothered to workout. You’re less likely to skip a workout if you know you’re going to be letting someone else down.

4: You’ll Work Harder: Whenever you workout with someone else, the intensity is always going to be greater than when you’re alone. In the back of your mind, you don’t want to be the one who quits early. If you’re both on the same level, chances are you’ll both want to quit at the same time, but you’ll probably end up going a little longer if your friend is still at it.

5: Healthy Competition: Most people tend to perform better in competitive situations. Training with a partner can unlock your competitive drive, no matter how chilled-out you usually are.

6: You’ll Probably Get Better Results: Surrounding yourself with people who are active and eat well encourages you to do the same. Researchers at Harvard University found that you can “catch” obesity (along with smoking habits and happiness) because it spreads like an infectious disease. The experts found that your risk of becoming obese rises by 2% for every five obese social contacts you have. Fortunately, the reverse is true, too. If you’re overweight, you’re more likely to lose weight if you spend time with your fit friends – and the more time you spend together, the more weight you lose, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Obesity.

So, if you haven’t got a training partner then give it a try. You don’t have to do every workout with them, even if it’s just once a week, you will start to see some of the benefits above.

Your training partner could be a family member, a friend, neighbour, or just someone that goes to the same gym. It’s worth noting that you can get all of those benefits from group training too.

Your Trainer: Graham Low, owner of East Coast Fitness, is an award-winning personal trainer based in Seaham. The ex-professional footballer was nominated for the Small Business of the Year and Leisure Awards at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year. Graham won the Leisure Award at the North East Hotels Association Awards while working as gym manager at Seaham Hall in 2012. For personal training, boot camps, small group training and online programmes email graham@eastcoast-fitness.com or visit www.eastcoast-fitness.comersonal training, boot camps, small group training and online programmes email graham@eastcoast-fitness.com or visit www.eastcoast-fitness.com