two women going to the gym

Why Work Out With An Accountability Buddy

So you’ve mapped out a consistent workout schedule and got stuck into training. At first, it can feel easy sticking to that routine, but after a while it may become a little monotonous. One missed workout can quickly escalate to two or three. However, no need to fear. There’s a way to keep consistent, motivated and maintain that enjoyment from working out, and it’s called an accountability buddy. 

Staying Consistent With Habit Formation 

Keeping consistent with your training is crucial if you want to see progress, and this comes down to habit formation. In his book ‘The Power of Habit,’ Charles Duhigg outlines the habit loop theory, by which habits consist of a cue, routine and reward.\

An accountability buddy can act as the cue for the habit, triggering the routine of working out together. The reward in this case would be exercise as a social experience, reinforcing the habit loop. 

The Köhler Effect: Push Yourself Further 

The Köhler effect is the phenomena by which individuals will push themselves further when working with a more capable partner or group. This is related to social comparison theory, suggesting that we as individuals determine our social worth by how we stack up to those around us, acting as a powerful motivator when exercising. When applied to a group dynamic, interdependence also comes into play, as each individual's effort contributes to the success of the group, true of team sports. 

A study published in the Journal of Social Sciences into the effects of the perceived fitness level of an exercise partner, found participants would gravitate towards the behaviour of those around them.

Therefore, the research suggests that individuals attempting to exercise more intensely could benefit from exercising with someone they perceive to be of a higher fitness level. This can be linked to the idea that we learn from observing the behaviour of those around us, so when exercising with someone of a higher fitness level we are innately motivated to work out harder due to the positive reinforcement. 

Keeping Commitments 

When we make a commitment to someone else, we often feel a sense of social obligation, and the fear of letting our friend or family member down can act as a powerful motivator. As individuals, it’s easy to engage in self-deception when it comes to personal commitments, finding an excuse to skip a workout when it’s only yourself you’re relying on.

However, when another person is involved, that self-deception becomes more challenging. An accountability buddy can act as both a reality checker and motivator. Whilst it may be easy to renege on a commitment to ourselves, it’s not so easy to back out of a commitment we’ve made to someone else. 

Increase Enjoyment Whilst Working Out 

Aside from the benefit of consistency, motivation and performance, working out with a friend is just more fun. Whilst working out is great for our mental and physical health, it should also be enjoyable rather than a chore.

A study published in the International Journal of Stress Management analysed whether the stress-reducing benefits of exercise were improved when exercising with others as opposed to alone. Participants involved in the study exercised at moderate intensity on a stationary bike for thirty minutes, either alone or with another individual. The results showed that those who exercised with a partner not only experienced greater calmness and energy but less fatigue after exercise. 

Synchronise your workout in style wearing matching L’ACTIF ‘fits. Twin with your workout buddy in the Women’s and Men’s Workout Shorts.