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Lose Your Ego and Gain a Better Workout


Lose Your Ego,
Gain a Better Workout

You can improve the intensity and calorie burn from your next Arc Trainer workout if you compete with someone who is fitter than you. One Kansas State University researcher found that those who exercised with a teammate whom they perceived to be better increased their workout time and intensity by as much as 200 percent.

Workout with competition

Brandon Irwin, assistant professor of kinesiology, investigated whether individuals engage in more intense physical activity when alone, with a virtual partner or competing against a teammate. "People like to exercise with others and make it a social activity," Irwin said. "We found that when you're performing with someone who you perceive as a little better than you, you tend to give more effort than you normally would alone."

The Benefits of Being the Weakest Link

For the first part of the study, college-age females exercise on a stationary bike six sessions in a four-week period. They told participants to ride the bike as long as they could. On average, each participant rode for 10 minutes.

Next, the same group of participants returned to the lab for more exercise sessions, but was told they were working out with a partner in another lab whom they could see on a screen. In reality, this was only a looped video. Participants also were told that their virtual partner was part of the first study and had ridden the bike 40% longer than them.

After creating the impression that their partner was more fit than they were, Professor Irwin found that participants rode an average of nine minutes, or 90% longer than simply exercising alone.

Irwin said research has shown that if an exercise partner or teammate is roughly at the same level or is exponentially better, the motivation disappears. He and his team found that a partner who worked at a level approximately 40 percent better was optimal. The team's research findings were published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, a bimonthly peer-reviewed medical journal.


Bottom line: if you are willing to swallow your pride and be the underachiever in your group of exercisers, you may achieve your own personal best.

Holly Aglialoro
Guest Blogger and Fitness Enthusiast



Cybex is a provider and manufacturer of premium commercial fitness equipment. Content featured in the Cybex Fitness Blog is meant to inspire healthy living and wellness and should not be taken as medical advice. For medical advice please consult a doctor. 


It's important that when you step into the gym your ego stays at the door. While you're in the gym focus on why you're there, don't compete with other people. Instead of trying to punch out more weight than the next guy focus on beating your own PR's (personal records). If you look at the big picture, you will gain more strength and be able to move more weight by doing the exercises with strict form. So in the long run you will be shifting much heavier weights and will also be much stronger. Muscle building exercises are meant to be executed slowly and if you do them too fast or use momentum to move weights you rob yourself of the maximum workout and could do yourself a serious injury.Diet is often overlooked by many people trying to build muscle. But the fact is, that your diet is your key to success. 
Posted @ Thursday, September 12, 2013 5:24 AM by Jeet Chowhan
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