We all have that friend that says they’ll join us for a workout class, but bails on the morning of. Or comes up with any and every excuse why indoor cycling classes aren’t their thing. See? You know the type. But you also know this--working out with a friend is key. While a workout class may shine on its own, the accountability and motivation that naturally comes when you have a friend riding with you is unparalleled. So, if you have that friend that claims indoor cycling isn’t for them or that they’d rather get their sweat on alone than with you (rude?) send this science-backed reasoning their way and tell them you’ll see them on the Leaderboard.
Of course, we’re mindful that everyone has different wants and needs when it comes to working out. Some people use exercise as a meditation of sorts, allowing themselves to gain deeper insight about their own actions and decisions. Others are drawn to efficiency, maximizing their short-but-sweet workout time with conditioning and cardio moves, and little small talk or engagement with others around their workout routine. But if your friend doesn’t necessarily fall into these two categories, then there’s a fair chance — whether they’d admit it or not — that taking a cycling class with you will actually help them meet their fitness goals. At the very least, it’s an excuse for more quality time together, and what true friend can say “no” to that?
So the next time they voice their reservations about indoor cycling classes, or have something to say about your love of Peloton, walk them through this list of all the reasons why they should join you in class sooner rather than later.
Working out with a friend makes you exercise more
It’s easy to get in an exercise rut — but that’s where friends come into play. When you have a buddy by your side to push, motivate, and inspire you, you’ll feel more inclined to stick with the workout. And even better, no two indoor cycling classes will ever be the same (instructor, music, and class type aside) because you’ll have your friend to turn to and maybe even eye roll with via text afterwards about those extra-tough hills or that instructor you both love telling you to pump up the resistance. A 2016 study by the University of Aberdeen says there’s more to it than just that: Having a consistent exercise buddy actually encourages you to emotionally commit to workouts. “Once we found that having a new exercise companion increases exercise frequency we wanted to find out why this is beneficial and what quality of support they offer that has this effect. Our results showed that the emotional social support from the new sports companion was the most effective. Thus, it is more important to encourage each other than doing the actual activity together,” Dr. Pamela Rockow, who led the study, explained.
Working out with a friend makes you work out for longer periods of time.
With all those benefits in mind, working out with a friend also provides accountability during class and encourages you to commit to a full indoor cycling class — without skipping out halfway through. A study by the Society of Behavioral Medicine examined the time spent performing an aerobic exercise, and found that those who were working out with a partner committed to their exercise for longer, compared to those working out alone. In the class atmosphere, especially, the workout buddies improved their overall performance and doubled their workout time compared to those who exercised by themselves.
Having a fitness buddy inspires healthy competition.
Encouragement and positivity go a long way, but not nearly as far as friendly competition. At least that’s what a study published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania says. The study, which tested 800 students over an 11-week period, ultimately found that the sense of competition was much stronger motivation for exercise than friendly support. In fact, that level of support actually made participants go to the gym even less than if they were left alone in the first place. So, what does this mean for you and your soon-to-be-cycling bestie? When you go to indoor cycling classes, don’t be shy about your highs, lows, and stats. That way you can keep each other in check during your workouts — in a loving and supportive way, of course. In the era of social media where people are consistently critiquing and comparing, it seems counterintuitive to think of competition as fuel, but according to lead researcher Jingwen Zhang, it’s exactly that. “Framing the social interaction as a competition can create positive social norms for exercising. Social support can make people more dependent on receiving messages, which can change the focus of the program,” he explained. But before you dive right in, discuss your goals and intentions with your friend. If you’re just there to have a good time, then keep the vocal support and competitive stats to yourself. If you’re both there to amp up your endurance, heart rate, and overall cycling skills, then share, share away.
Indoor cycling classes are an easy way to boost your mood.
News flash: Exercise makes you happy, but actually, science says so. When you add a social element to exercise, studies show that you can see even more positive changes on someone’s overall mood and stress levels. A 2017 study by American Osteopathic Association found that working out with a friend — or groups, for that matter — on a regular basis drastically improved the emotional and mental health of participants by 26 percent, even more so than the physical health benefits (24.8 percent). But that’s not all: These participants also reduced stress levels by 26 percent compared to those who exercised solo. “The communal benefits of coming together with friends and colleagues, and doing something difficult, while encouraging one another, pays dividends beyond exercising alone," says Dayna Yorks, DO, lead researcher on this study. There’s something to be said for the “we’re all in this together” mentality that you and your cycling pal have in the midst of a tough sprint. And according to Yorks, there’s no way to get that feeling on your own while working out.
Last but not least: Working out with a friend is way more fun.
By taking a cycling class with a friend, you can tackle your social and exercise needs in one go. Along the way, you’ll make new memories — there will definitely be a hilarious, inside-joke-worthy moment here and there. — and see each other for what you really are: strong, confident, athletic, and downright amazing. With this newfound perspective, it might even propel your friendship to new heights, inspiring you to be more adventurous with your decisions or even try out different workout classes beyond your tried-and-true cycling. Now that’s all the convincing anyone should need, don’t you think?