There are five little words that always put me in a cold, horrifying sweat: “We should workout together sometime.”
Upon hearing these words I always manage to slap on a forced-eager smile and lie through my teeth: “Yeah, that sounds great. Maybe sometime next week.” However, next week never seems to work out because the truth is I despise working out with people.
I’m not into group classes where motivational yelling is encouraged or hour-long elliptical sessions filled with gossip and chit-chat. I prefer quiet runs or self-motivated, Ice Cube-filled weight lifting sessions.
A simple Google search will tell you that working out with a friend or with a group results in a better workout. Articles on top of articles will say a running buddy or a gym partner will keep you motivated and hold you accountable. On the other hand, there is slim to no information about the benefits of exercising solo. But I’m here to tell you there are limitless benefits to working out alone.
My friends who swear by group fitness classes always say they work out “so much harder” with other people. They promise working out alone is simply an excuse to slack off. While I think it’s good that my friends recognize what they need in a workout regimen, I also think it’s important to learn how to conquer and push yourself without needing another person to hold you accountable and encourage you.
There is something very validating in pushing yourself to the limit just for the sake of showing yourself what you can do. Mastering yourself at the physical level can translate to other aspects of your life. According to an article on www.briancalkins.com, improved focus, confidence and the ability to complete tasks directly linked to improved fitness levels.
An article on www.fitsugar.com sang praises about solo workouts. The article stated a positive part of working out solo is that the type and intensity of a workout can be completely personalized and conquered. I’ve been on countless runs with friends where I constantly worried about whether or not I was running too slow or too fast, thinking “How much longer?” and “Kill me now!” instead of focusing on my body and the task at hand.
Me-time is rare. Most of us are rarely alone. Me-time, though, tends to result in reflection, and reflection can result in growth and change. When I’m in the zone on the treadmill, there is no room for anyone or anything else so I am able to narrow in on my mind, body and soul. When people hear the word meditation, cross-legged hippies usually come to mind, but really, solo workouts can be a form of meditation and can provide a sort of spiritual experience.
People should find an exercise program that fits their life and personal needs, but I’ve observed solo workouts to be the unsung hero of the fitness world. So I encourage everyone to try to incorporate independent workouts and see how it can help improve not only your health, but all areas of your life.