I know that for some people including a partner in their work-out routine can make it a little more fun and possibly make the time pass faster. When done the right way and both people stay engaged and in constant motion it can be a good thing.
The problem that I see when I look around most gyms though is that usually when one person is working a set or routine the other is often standing around waiting to use the same equipment or perform the same routine. This essentially cuts your productive time in the gym in half and also makes it difficult to maintain the intensity and heart rate that is necessary for a beneficial work-out.
Most studies show that for the best fitness results we need to maintain an elevated level of intensity for 30 – 40 minutes per work-out 3 – 5 times a week. If you are just starting a fitness program you can probably achieve this while including a partner but after a month or two if you’re really sticking to it you’ll find it takes more effort and increased intensity to get to the same heart rate. This is a good thing, it means your body is able to do more with less excursion. Your cardiovascular system, heart and lungs are improving. The flip side to this is that you will have to step up your program to get greater gains, this means either spending more time in the gym or being more productive with the time that you’re already spending there. I prefer the latter.
Interval training is my solution. Interval training involves staying in constant motion during your work-out, alternating between low and high intensity routines. This can be done with a partner or group but it would require the use of two or more pieces of fitness equipment at the same time. This can be difficult to arrange if the gym is crowded unless you’re participating in a class that has the equipment reserved for an hour or so.
Working out alone you can easily move from machine to machine and get a great interval workout in 30 minutes. Some studies show that 15 minutes of interval is just as effective as 45 minutes of a normal workout that includes rest periods between exercises.
So you see while training with a partner is a good way to get started on the road to better health it might be a good idea at some point to cut the cord and go solo. Are you ready?