We recently wrapped-up a private, group-based, Weight Loss Challenge for a local organization. We finished the final session with an exceptionally difficult workout. Afterwards, everyone (including myself!) spent some extra time on the ground, recovering and talking about general health & wellness. Just as we were about to collect our debris, one of the challengers quietly asked:
Could I have completed the challenge, myself, if I did it alone?
Queue the slow-motion, movie-style flashback to 2009 when I was desperate to fix my own deteriorating health. Fifty five pounds overweight. Pre-diabetic. Pre-hypertensive. Weak. Lazy. Depressed. At that point, I was too embarrassed to trust anyone to see me struggle, let alone ask for help or join any sort of group. So, back then, I did it alone. But it took me years of experimenting before I was able to make what I considered enough progress to declare a minor victory. By myself, I did most things wrong. By myself, I injured myself. By myself, I didn’t hold myself accountable. By myself, I didn’t have any sort of support or positive influences. So, while I did manage to make dramatic changes alone, it was deeply draining on multiple levels and I would not recommend my previous path to anyone.
Back in 2018, amid my lean, mean challengers, here’s my experienced and seasoned answer:
I could not do it alone, as well as I could do it with a group. I find more encouragement and accountability when I train with a group. We support one another, try to bring out the best in one another, and as long as one of us is able to step up to the plate for a challenge, everyone is energized to do the same.
If you are a facts-based person, there are several studies, summarized by Frontiers in Psychology, which support my experiences and find that: group exercises improve the exerciser’s satisfaction with their performance, increase individuals’ intensity during exercises, and improve individuals’ adherence with their programs.
If you are a TLDR-based person: No, I could not do it alone.
I’d invite you to try a group-based activity to see if it helps your performance.
And I’d welcome your feedback!
In the meanwhile:
Be brave. Challenge yourself. Know no limits.