There's A Difference Between Working Out With Your SO & Your BFF, According To Experts

If you're the kind of person who prefers to work out with someone by your side, who is it exactly that you like to bring along? Personally, I've only recently learned how much fun it is to work out with friends, and I frequently coerce my pals into joining me for fitness classes all over the city. Working out with an SO, on the other hand? It's not something I've tried, and perhaps it's because I sometimes feel like a sweaty troll when I exercise. But are there different benefits to working out with an SO versus your BFF? For instance, is it possible that you push yourself harder with one than you might with the other?

I asked a couple fitness professionals for their take on these questions, just so we can all be clear on who makes the best gym buddy. For what it's worth, though, keep in mind that you can, and should, work out with whoever you damn well please, my friend. It's definitely a matter of personal preference, and hey, maybe you like to sweat it out solo. Do you, girl.

With that being said, Jonathan Tylicki, master trainer and director of education at AKT, a dance-based fitness boutique franchise, says that working out with either your SO or a good friend can both be great in their own ways, but from his perspective, it really depends on what kind of workout you're looking for, and how you want feel while you do it.

“At AKT, we see a lot of friends who do private training together," Tylicki tells Elite Daily over email. "For them it's a way to bond outside of their hectic lives with work and family life."

However, Tylicki adds, working out with a close friend can sometimes pose the challenge of wanting to have more of a "social hour" instead of a legit workout. So, he explains, it's important to do something that keeps both of you mentally engaged in the workout. "We tend to see that friends prefer more of a fun, encouraging atmosphere, rather than a competitive one," Tylicki tells Elite Daily, "which means a session where they can let loose and enjoy being together while having a good sweat." He suggests aiming for something like Zumba or boxing with your BFF, as both types of workouts require you to really concentrate, but they're still really fun.

As for lovers? Tylicki tells me he's noticed that couples who work out together usually enjoy a HIIT- or circuit-based workout. "There tends to be more of a competitive edge with couples, especially if they both have workout experience," he explains. "Their private sessions may incorporate partner exercises or exercises that require teamwork, which can help lead to a new level of communication between the couple."

When it comes to both friends and couples who work out together, Tylicki says, one of the biggest challenges can be when the two of you are of very different fitness levels. (Been there, BTW: I once went on a hike with someone who runs marathons. It was... rough, to say the least.)

Another possible issue here, says Jacqueline Kasen, a personal trainer at Anatomy Fitness, is having to rely on another person in general to get you into the groove of your routine. "The only drawback with working out with someone is if you are relying on someone else for your motivation," Kasen tells Elite Daily in an email. In other words, if your gym buddy cancels, shows up late, or has low energy, all of these things can potentially hold you back.

But for the most part, Kasen says, exercise almost always brings people together. "You are going through it together and share the feeling of accomplishment together, which cultivates camaraderie," she explains. "You hold each other accountable."