If you've been trying to break through a workout plateau or you can't seem to find a way to motivate yourself, then you might need to get yourself a workout buddy.
A new study from the University of Saskatchewan shows that you can get a little bit of a boost in the gym from having a workout buddy, and not just because they'll spot you. That's a bonus really, but as it turns out they can also be a mental help to you.
In the study, two groups of people were given an exercise to do to their personal max (the plank) for two sets. In between the sets, one group was told that the other group had performed better than them, which was a lie, but it had the desired effect: in the second set, the group who had been told the lie outperformed everyone else by an average of 18 seconds.
The reason has to do with confidence, as it turns out. Speaking toMen's Health, Carly S. Priebe, Ph.D. said that "knowing that other people can do [the task] gives you the confidence to dig deeper, try harder, and recruit that extra effort", which you would not be able to do solo.
Not only that, but having people around you who are training hard is also beneficial. "They set the standard for what is normal, and we often comply with the norm without realizing it", so if your gym has a lot of people standing around texting in it, you might want to consider finding a different place to train.
You don't have to go out and start asking random people on the street to work out with you though, as you can also sign up for a class or join a boot camp, anything where other people are all in the same boat and looking to push themselves, because they'll bring you along with them. Finally, you can put peer pressure to some good use.