Research proves “the power of two”, revealing the key to effective training is a Movemate

With the UK gearing up for the reopening of gyms on the 12th April, Brits reveal how their motivation to workout – and the results when they do – have been impacted by the multiple lockdowns of the past year. 

A study by Sure has revealed the top motivators for exercising as wanting to beat a partner’s personal best, fit into old clothes, and to shake off a bad mood. Those wanting to workout are also encouraged by wanting to keep up with a training partner, not wanting to let down a workout partner, and the social element of training with a friend. 

Mental health also has an impact, with increasing confidence, taking their mind off other things and achieving something topping the list, taking a higher priority over physical goals and accomplishments. 

With the research proving that workouts are more effective when completed as a pair, Sure is making partnered exercise accessible to all with its new Movemate Content Series - an online content hub helping Brits to make their workout routines twice as effective, simply by buddying up. The launch follows research revealing that a quarter of the nation has lacked motivation since the lockdowns began compared to previously, with 23 per cent putting this down to not having anything to train towards. 

A further fifth attribute this on not being in a gym environment, while 15 per cent have struggled because they haven’t been able to work out with friends. But 29 per cent have turned to online workouts during the lockdowns, with a fifth believing they exercise best when someone is telling them what to do. 

The research, which was commissioned by Sure to launch its Movemate Series, found one fifth (20 per cent) are boosted or spurred on when working out with or around others, and more than a third admitted they don’t often push themselves as much as they should when exercising and a quarter don’t put in as much effort when working out on their own. In addition, the most encouraging things a fitness buddy or personal trainer can say were revealed to include ‘keep going’, ‘little but often can make a huge difference’ and ‘don’t give up’. However, of those polled, only 13 per cent say they are the ‘motivator’ when they work out with others, while 30 per cent admit to being the one who needs motivating. 

With 14 per cent of adults ‘always’ losing enthusiasm to work out and 29 per cent often losing enthusiasm, Sure’s Movemate Series provides virtual workouts curated and demonstrated by some of the leading fitness influencers for those looking to partner up and make their workouts work harder. 

To provide inspiration and encouragement as part of the series, Sure has onboarded a diverse range of content creators from across a selection of sports and abilities. The ‘Movement Champions’ will be ambassadors and advocates for movement, led by Wheelchair Basketball Athlete, Sophie Carrigill; showing that whatever your fitness level, movement is achievable - and it can be enjoyable too.

Alice Duffill, Senior Brand Manager at Sure Women, said: “It’s easy to lose motivation when exercising, especially at this time of the year and during the current climate of lockdown. People have lost the routine of exercising with friends, partners and even personal trainers, which has had a knock on effect. It’s clear that team workouts require the least motivation, showing how having someone else cheering you on or working towards the same goal has a positive impact.

“But in lockdown, it’s been hard to get the most out of our workouts, which is why we’re excited to launch the Movemate Series which is designed to inspire confidence in everyone to move more!”

The research conducted by the anti-perspirant brand also found factors which keep people going included nice weather (44 per cent), upbeat music (33 per cent) and thinking of the end goal (33 per cent). The exercises people need the biggest boost for included a solo brisk walk, a visit to the gym on their own and a lone jog. Whereas team sports, a group run and a bike ride with others require the least motivation, suggesting it’s more difficult to get going when working out alone. And the nation’s favourite exercises were revealed as cycling, running and water-based sports such as swimming. 

The research comes after a separate pilot study by Sure with partnered exercise-enthusiasts found that 70 per cent found themselves working harder when joined by a partner for a workout, with six in ten observing a higher heartrate and over half claiming they burnt almost twice the calories. It also revealed a boost in the enjoyment of exercise when in company, with respondents’ mood improving every time, as well as their sense of pride and achievement. 

Chartered Sports Psychologist, Dr Josephine Perry said: “We all know we should be exercising and that it brings lots of benefits but when motivation is low and stress levels are high it can be hard to get going. Psychological studies have found that one of the best ways to boost motivation is to exercise with others; it makes us work harder, increases our accountability and, most importantly, makes it more fun. That sense of connection to someone else is a brilliant secret weapon when trying to get fit and stay more active”.

Find out more about the Sure Movemate Series at:

Dr Josephine’s Seven Suggestions for moving with a mate

  1. Smile at each other. Studies show that when we see someone else smile, we smile back and when we smile we trick our brain into thinking the exercise we are doing is easier than it is and can keep going for longer. 
  2. Share reasons you are grateful. When we go hunting for things to be thankful for we focus more on the good stuff in life and so reframe difficult things more positively.
  3.  Agree your goal for the work out up front so you keep pushing each other when the fatigue kicks in.
  4. Practice using the words ‘yet’ or ‘and so’ with each other. Then for every negative phrase you state it can be twisted into something more helpful such as ‘This is hard… and so I’ll definitely benefit’ or ‘I can’t do this…Yet’.
  5. Observe each other and pull out something you each do really well. Exercise feels easier when we have just received a compliment about the skills we are using.
  6. Remind each other when the other’s technique falters. We can get lax on our own but having someone next to you to prompt; shoulders back, core strong or feet higher, keeps us working at our best.
  7. Make a bit of the session competitive – and have a punishment for the loser; like exercises of those other’s choice or paying for the post workout coffees.

Top 50 motivations to exercise: 

  1. To take my mind off other things
  2. To achieve something
  3. To increase my overall confidence
  4. Wanting to hit a target weight
  5. To improve my sleep
  6. To prove to myself I can exercise
  7. Going on holiday
  8. Wanting to fit into old clothes
  9. To shake off a bad mood
  10. I get a buzz from exercising / feeling fit
  11. To zone out from my thoughts e.g. work stress or relationship woes
  12. Weighing myself for the first time in months
  13. Wanting to feel confident in swimwear
  14. Seeing old photos
  15. Going travelling
  16. Knowing that if I exercise I can reward myself e.g. with food or a purchase
  17. To improve my skin
  18. Advice from my GP
  19. To prove to others I can exercise
  20. Wanting to take up a new hobby
  21. For the social aspect e.g. catching up with friends while on a run
  22. Being a guest at a wedding
  23. Feeling competitive against others
  24. Wanting to play with my children
  25. To meet new people
  26. My own wedding day
  27. If my housemate/partner is on a health kick
  28. Going on a date
  29. Seeing how good my peers feel after exercising
  30. Seeing how I looked on a video call
  31. To not miss out of my friends meeting up to exercise
  32. Not wanting to let down my workout partner
  33. A first holiday with a new partner
  34. To win a competition e.g. most steps walked in a month
  35. To train for a fitness competition
  36. To keep up with a training partner
  37. An excuse to buy new exercise clothes
  38. Wanting to beat my partner/friend’s personal best
  39. Starting a new job
  40. Comparing myself to celebrities
  41. Seeing other people’s personal best scores on an exercise app
  42. Posting images of myself on social media
  43. Having a personal trainer
  44. To get back at bullies who made fun of my appearance or weight
  45. Wanting to be able to take part in my child’s sports day
  46. To try out a new trend
  47. To update my fitness achievements on Instagram
  48. Following an Instagram ‘live’ workout
  49. Wanting to share my personal best on social media
  50. Going to a school reunion

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