A solid gym buddy will help you get the best results from your exercise plan.
It’s easy to ditch the gym when you’re on your own, but it’s a lot harder to walk out on a mate who’s expecting you to show.
Plus, a training partner will push you to work harder. Hitting the gym with a mate can double the length of your workout, according to researchers at Michigan State University.
But the trick is finding the right partner for the job. Here are five qualities of the perfect swolemate.
1. He’s reliable
There’s no use making a bromantic gym date if your partner doesn’t turn up. Pick a friend who won’t bail on you – or better yet, find someone who will text you on leg day to make sure you're not thinking about bailing.
After all, it’s better to have a barbell on your back than your gym buddy.
2. He knows your style
A spotter who knows that you like to pause at the bottom of a rep won’t throw you off by rushing in and grabbing the bar too early.
3. He’s stronger than you
A novice won’t help you hit a new PB, but someone who outlifts you will spur your efforts.
Aim for a partner who is 40 per cent stronger than you and you’ll push yourself 90 per cent harder, says research from the University of Kansas.
4. He keeps his mouth shut
In a study at Michigan State University, some people performed planks while their partners shouted generic motivational phrases like, “push it!” As it turns out, they couldn’t hold the planks as long as participants who exercised without encouragement.
Why? Even though he’s just trying to help, it’s easy to interpret your partner’s good-natured shouts as patronising or condescending – especially when you’re the one doing all the sweating.
5. He supports you – to an extent
Leave your cheer squad at home. Over-supportive friends may actually decrease your motivation to chase your goals, according to research from the Association for Psychological Science.
Blame something called “self-regulatory outsourcing” – you subconsciously substitute their support for your actual effort. As a result, you feel less driven to push yourself.