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The Number One Source of Workout Motivation: Can You Guess What it is?

We all face challenges getting the motivation to work out. Between our busy lifestyles, it’s hard to imagine even the effort sometimes of having to having to exert more energy and work out, especially when we’re already doing so much. With the disconnect in trying to take care of our obligations, stay social, while also finding what’s barely left in time to take care of ourselves, It’s no wonder that exercise and losing weight takes a lead of 87% of New Years Resolutions leading into 2020, according to a study from You.Gov.

For some, keeping in mind the many benefits fitness can bring is one of the main catalysts that helps push aside that nuancing overwhelm of the idea of just getting started. We can cover all the amazing health benefits you can reap from physical exercise in great extent, but one element takes the top of the cake as a prime driver for people to workout, so if you struggle with finding the motivation to move, read on to see what could help you take the plunge.

A Little Healthy Competition Never Hurt Anyone

According to an extensive study from the Journal of Preventative Medicine Reports, a parallel was found between an increase in physical activity and competition across online social networks. The study was conducted over an 11 week period of an online social network based program. Casual social support and competition were both measured across different groups – top performers could win prizes. a control group could sign up for classes online, but wasn’t aware of what anyone else was doing. A competitive group was able to see the activity of 5 other anonymous participants in their group. A third group support were put into teams and earn rewards based on their collective activity, incentivizing their support as the motivation. Lastly, a group with both competition and support as a motivation were in teams which were rewarded based on support, but could also communicate with each other and see the findings of the other teams they were up against. The results overwhelmingly demonstrated that in both team and individual settings, members part of a motivation of competition were far more likely to participate and push themselves harder. The study noticed an adverse reaction however for social support, where people making little to no effort were seen by their peers to then de-motivate the other members who in turn were less likely to show up and commit. However, in further different studies, social settings still showed to play a factor in showing up.

Group Settings Provide Enough Competition to Stay Disciplined, According to the Köhler Effect

The idea that no one wants to be the weakest link is the paramount of the Köhler Motivation Effect. As it applies to fitness, people tend to be more motivated when working out with people whom they perceive as more fit than they are. In another study summarized by NBC News from the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, participants were prompted with partners to hold a plank position. As part of the control, participants who were paired with a more capable-deemed partner had a lengthier plank time by 24% compared to those who were not with a partner they perceived as more capable.

No Competition? Even a workout partner will do.

Deborah Feltz, a professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University, shared her insights in a post with AARP, where she states that you’re still far more likely to work out consistently if you’re working out with other people. “It holds you accountable, because you don’t want to let them down by not showing up, and you’ll also have more fun,” she notes. In addition to simply showing up, she has also learned in her experience that people tend to spend much more time exercising when they have a partner to work out with them and keep them accountable, and they’re also more likely to put in harder effort.

Feltz’s experience is also backed by separate finding from Kansas State University, linking both the social and competitive aspect. In their research, members who worked out with someone who they perceived as better than they deemed themselves showed an increase in workout time and intensity by as much as 200%.

Social Connection Extends to Being Linked to Improvements Around Dietary Goals as Well

In a separate study around weight-loss from the National Library of Medicine, findings shows that recruiting participants with friends to a new weight-loss program had greater success than their countertparts who attempted the same regimen alone. 76% who partnered up completed their goals, while only 42% of single members were able to meet theirs.

Easier Ways to Apply In Your Own Life

So now that we know without a doubt it can be more effective to work out with a partner, where do you begin?

Virtual group fitness classes are an easy way to start if you can’t seem to match your time or needs with a friend or partners fitness goals. It’s easy to feel intimidated when you begin, which is why with the age of COVID, it can be a great time to ease yourself into a new routine as virtual platforms are offering more fitness plans now than ever that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home without worrying about judgement of being a beginner. If you aren’t sure which type of workout class is best for you, check out our post on 10 Popular Types of Fitness Classes, and What to Expect From Each One.

As a nationwide provider of health and wellness amenities, we’re proud to work with Property Management groups to bring both virtual and on-site group fitness classes to communities around the country. To get your community enrolled, visit us here today!

Catherine Rotman