While blasting angry rap music through your ear buds may drive (or intimidate) you to jog that extra mile or lift those extra ten pounds, there are other ways to keep yourself motivated during your workout that don’t result in hearing loss. Because of the motivation, support, fun, competition, and positive atmosphere that come along with it, small group training has become increasingly trendy within the last year.
Working out with three to five other people has proven to create a more encouraging environment for exercisers. Oxford’s Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology reported on a study in 2010 of the university’s famed rowing team. The crew was divided into six groups with the only variable being whether the workouts were performed in a group or alone. After each workout, researchers measured the endorphins—the chemicals that produce the “runner’s high”—and the people who exercised as a group had twice as many endorphins running through their bodies, despite the fact that their workouts were equally as intense as those who did it on their own.
Researchers accredit the endorphin rush to the “evolutionary benefits” of group bonding and earlier research that suggests that synchronization leads to improved mood and altruism. They also believe that having shared goals and acting as a support system for one another could have generated the chemical surge. Many people also find that training with others constructs a competitive mindset that keeps people going when they otherwise would have quit if they were on their own.
Also, especially appealing to college students, group training is cost-effective. Often, personal trainers will charge a group rate that, when divided multiple ways, comes out to be cheaper for each participant.
Even if you’re not looking for personal training, exercising with a group can provide you and your friends with the motivation, support, fun, and competition to keep you hungry for success.
By Paige Carlotti