Multiple studies have pointed to the ‘people’ factor in fitness motivation; that when you bring others into your fitness goals in some way, you’ll perform better. This is one of the many reasons why personal trainers are such a big hit; having someone to hold you accountable for your consistency goes a long way psychologically.
Amid pandemic shutdowns, home gym sales boomed and many found that working out at home was a great option. But as gyms re-open and life creeps towards some form of pre-COVID normalcy, what will the future of home-gyms be when the factors that caused their prevalence theoretically disappear? Will we go back to being fans of the ‘people’ factor, or will these last few months of working(out) from home bring on a new era in fitness?
Companies like at-home fitness giant Peloton are already showing us what that new era might look like: in the new world, we bring the people factor to our home gyms. But it won’t just be for online classes or live workout videos; the people factor includes accountability, support, and competition.
A 2014 study sheds light on the best way to use the ‘people’ factor to your advantage. In the study, a group of over 750 participants were divided up into four subgroups. Each group took the same 11-week exercise program, but were given different types of social support via social media. One group was part of a team competition, another was part of a team support group, the third engaged in individual competition, and the fourth had no social support.
The results of the study saw that healthy competition (the first group) boosted participation and results by over 90%. It seemed motivation soared because everyone felt responsible for raising the bar, and not wanting to be found below it.
In contrast, the team that had the fitness support group actually saw a decrease in motivation. Too much support and not enough competition resulted in complacency with where the bar was set.
And so, if healthy competition among others is really what the people factor is all about, then home gym-goers will need to leverage social networks or new fitness platforms to tap into its motivational powers. If they can do that, then the home gym becomes quite a competitor for keeping gyms at bay.