A man and a woman exercise together
Inside The Gym

Pros and Cons of Working Out Alone vs. with a Partner

5 min read


When exercising, some people ask themselves if they should go at it alone or with a partner, and sometimes it can be deceptive in figuring out what’s the best option. And so, with that in mind, here is a piece that lists out the pros and cons of working out with either. Hopefully, after this read it’ll be easier for you to recognize what’s best for you.

Working Out Alone

[+] Keeps Your Ego In Check …
With no one to impress or to outperform, it means you don’t have to commit to unnecessary risks and workout at your own tempo and safety. Not to mention, there’s no one to spot you, so you’re more likely to play it safe with exercises.

[+] Quicker Sessions …
More focused, time-conscious workouts become achievable as distractions are reduced to a minimum. Bonus points if you put away your phone.

[+] Therapeutic …
Time alone can be good for you and, coupled with exercising, this presents an opportunity to exit a space of negative emotions and energy as you focus on the task at hand for the next half hour or so.

[+] Builds Self-Reliance And -Discipline …
There is no one to blame or to praise for your results except for yourself. For some people this can be daunting, but for others this can be inspiring. A lot of times it’s nice to know and feel you don’t need an extra person or thing to get things done: you just need yourself.

[+] Full Flexibility …
With no one to assist or answer to, this means you can switch up your schedule as you see fit, or even introduce or exclude certain exercises however you like. Pressed for time? You can hurry things up. Having a bad gym day? You call the shots.

[-] It’s Lonely …
At times the solitude can be depressing. Everyone is susceptible to loneliness and it can affect us each differently. For some people this is a mental battle that can only be remedied by the presence of a partner.

[-] Zero Assistance …
No partner means no assistance, and this can come in all sorts of shapes and forms than just requiring someone to spot you; such as having to figure out a schedule and exercise routine all by yourself.

[-] Can Be Boring …
This ties in with loneliness, except in this instance it has more to do with falling out of love with exercising. Fortunately, boredom is an easier fix than loneliness.

[-] Can Be Intimidating …
If you’re just starting out chances are your health and fitness knowledge is basic or, even, nonexistent. If this is the case it can be hard to figure out where to begin, what to do, or even how to go about things. Fact is, you will inevitably do something wrong in your journey and it won’t be the end of the world, so don’t let failure and mistakes intimidate you from taking that step to being a healthier, better you.

[-] Your Knowledge (Or Lack Of) Is A Ceiling …
A knowledgeable partner can save time and ensure workouts are efficient. When you’re by yourself you need to educate yourself as you go so that you can continue to grow. The worst thing a solo gymer can ever do is assume they’ve got all the info they need and stop learning.

With a Partner

[+] Assistance Throughout Exercises …
You can push yourself harder having the reassurance that you have someone who can help you out with the workout.

[+] Motivation And Encouragement …
Losing that fire and tenacity to keep on working is harder when you have someone motivating you and providing encouragement, even if it is in the form of competition.

[+] Learning Opportunities …
The best part about having a partner is learning from that partner. Never feel like you can’t learn something new. No matter what your level of experience is, there’s always something new to learn from other people in all facets of life.

[+] Good Company …
Good vibe is contagious and a partner can provide that, especially if other areas in your life aren’t as great; exercising can offer a temporary escape/release and company can enrich that.

[+] Accountability …
Real friends keep each other accountable and if you have one in your gym partner you’ll go far. Accountability means making sure you stick to your commitments, helping each other out, reminding each other of goals and promises made, and all that good stuff.

[-] Longer Sessions …
Unfortunately, if there are more of you, expect your time at the gym to increase in response. Fortunately, though, there are a number of ways around this: alternate with exercises, travel together but have different work sessions, or eliminate rest times by using each other’s sets as the rest window, etc.

[-] Having An Unreliable Partner …
This can really dampen fitness goals quickly. People might crudely argue that you should know your partner before committing to working together, but sometimes you can’t vet your partner beforehand and only at the gym you find out that they’re more trouble than they’re worth.

[-] Less Flexibility …
With a partner around, you typically have to be more rigid in what you do, be that the time you set to go to the gym, the time spent at the gym, or even the exercise routine you undertake.

[-] Incompatible Differences …
This has similarities to an unreliable partner, but instead of one person being at fault, in this instance it has more to do with you and your partner having different styles or operating very differently. For example: you’re a morning person, they’re a night owl; you want to lose weight, they want to bulk up; or they like making conversation when exercising, you prefer focused silence.

[-] Promotes Dependency …
The last drawback to having a partner is that you can become overdependent on each other: if your partner can’t make it to the gym, it might encourage you to skip that day; if you have exercises requiring a partner and they’re not available, you can’t exercise properly; and if one of you is the designated driver to the gym, if they can’t make it you have to make alternative plans; etc.

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A writer, gamer, geek, and gym rat all packaged into one. I write about the things I love and enjoy sharing them with others.

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