When it comes to training do you like to go it alone or are you more driven to push yourself when there are others around?
Sometimes heading out for a solo run can be just what is needed. An individual effort can provide time to process, take stock of what is happening in your day-to-day life and just generally a chance to embrace the silence.
But it can be hard to push yourself out of your comfort zone when alone. A group workout with a watchful instructor and the support of others can instead prove a driving force.
In what has been a weird and unusual past 12 months, there is no way I would have kept running consistently if it wasn't for the social contact and accountability of training with others.
It was that not wanting to let the other person down by bailing on them when the alarm went off, something much easier to do when it is a solitary effort.
With the mornings staying darker longer, I have made a return to indoor group training in recent weeks instead of doing my own session at the park and it has provided the kick I needed.
Partner workouts have become popular in recent years and it was during such a session the other morning that I really appreciated both the support and encouragement to push harder.
A partner workout usually means teaming up with another to complete a set amount of repetitions of several exercises in an allotted period of time. I really like this format because it makes you work harder with the added pressure of not letting your partner down, especially if you are trying to beat the clock or achieve a certain target in the session.
When choosing your partner it is good to go with someone you know is going to push you and keep you honest. You both get the best out of the workout then.
Here are a couple of examples for partner workouts, based on a 30-minute session.
Option 1 (cardio): In pairs, alternate running, cycling, rowing or skipping for 30 seconds, 60 seconds then 90 seconds while your partner rests. Do 4-5 times through each. Make it more challenging by setting a distance target to achieve.
Option 2 (strength): Alternate 30 seconds of squats, push-ups, lunges, bent-over rows and plank. Each person completes five sets of each exercise.
Option 3 (combo): Combine the two. While one runs, skips, rows or cycles for 30 seconds the other performs squats, push-ups, lunges, bent-over rows and plank for five sets of each.
Option 4 (share the load): Between you try to accomplish, for example, a two-kilometre run, 100 squats, 50 push-ups, 400 skips, 100 lunges, 50 bent-over rows and a five-minute hover.
It does not have to be a partner workout though. Teeing up to meet someone else for a run, walk or game of sport can be enough motivation to get you out the door and active. Signing up for a team event, such as a triathlon, trek or adventure race, could provide motivation. A virtual challenge where you and others set daily, weekly or monthly team goals is another option.
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Renee Valentine is a journalist, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.