Having a workout buddy has plenty of advantages. You keep each other company. In addition, you motivate one another to work harder. You provide moral and physical support during workout routines. But sometimes it can be a little difficult to keep your exercise partner focused and driven. This makes it your role as their counterpart to get their head back in the game… so to speak.
So, to help you along, here is some advice. It is based on motivation types found in various studies on peer motivation in workout groups.
The Drill Sargent and the Motivator
There are those out there who find demanding, semi-aggressive motivation to actually work for them. We suppose it is the pre-war amp-up affect it has on some people while working out. However, there are quite a few people who find such tactics intimidating and off-putting. This may actually not motivate them and – ultimately – decrease their performance.
This is why a lot of gym buddies prefer partners who take a softer approach by using terms such as ‘you can do it’ and ‘you’re almost there’. A recent study conducted by kinesiologist Dr Brandon Irwin at the Kansas State University suggests that the silent partners are the ones that get the best results and motivate the best:
- In his study, Irwin found that partners who were given regular vocal motivation were less likely to perform well. This is versus those who were not verbally encouraged. Irwin suggests that this might be because they feel belittled which demoralises them.
The Friendly Competition
Instead, Irwin suggests that gym partners keep vocal encouragement to a minimum. Or at least they need to know when it is best to keep quiet. A far better strategy is to create a little friendly competition. In such instances, Irwin suggests that the best results occur when one gym partner is roughly 40% fitter than the other. That way they can keep pace while still being pushed to motivate themselves to keep up with their partners.
Irwin’s study found that people are likely to push harder when working out with a partner who is slightly better than them. This is especially when no verbal encouragement is given. It creates an environment of friendly competition that both partners can enjoy since they are in a similar (but not the same) fitness range.
For more tips on how to become a great motivator, and motivate others well, watch the video below.=:
Of course, the approach that works best for you and your workout buddy has a lot to do with what you two ultimately prefer. But, if you have been finding motivation a little difficult to come by, then changing it up with the above tips might be quite useful to you and your partner.
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