It’s a rule of life that you’ve probably heard many times before:

You’re the replica of the 5 people you hang out with the most.

Like attracts like. This life law can be very sobering and for many people very maddening. However, we aren’t going to talk about that, but something close.

A new study done by Kansas State University found that to a degree you are like those that you exercise with or around.

The Exercise Study Setup:

I have a diagram I created to help make more sense of this study. But essentially the study looked at different situations of exercising with a partner. They used college females and 6 sessions on an exercise bike.

Session 1 – They were riding alone for as long as they could.

Session 2 – They were riding against a computer screen that showed another female who was 40% faster and better than they were. The computer screen rider was not real… it was a loop of a girl riding.

Session 3 – That same woman on the computer screen became their partner and they were still 40% better. Again the computer screen rider was not real… just a loop.

Pretty tricky!

Here’s the diagram that also shows the results:

Exercise Motivation Study

So the best workout came over time with a partner that was approximately 40% better than the rider. This produced what was believed to be a motivation to not let their partner down. Exercise rapport was built and the rider did not want to break that rapport… or at least didn’t want to be the one to break it.

After all they were also the weaker rider. Even though the computer screen rider was not real.

The Bottom Line?

Well the bottom line on this study is not so hard drawn. Here’s what was found.

If a workout partner was at the same level then motivation did not increase. If the workout partner was considerably better then the motivation did not increase either.

There seems to be range where motivation peaks with a workout partner. The study explicitly stated 40% better.

Good luck on finding a workout partner that is 40% better than you… how do you even measure that across different forms of exercise?

Here’s How I Think You Can Use This Data:

This is one reason why Internet training can be so powerful. While you can’t see your partner, if you post your results then you can battle against women that could be just like you. At least you can perceive them to be just like you even if they are not.

If these women do better than you, by just a little bit… motivation should spike the next time you workout. After all, you’ll see them as catchable and that will ignite the motivation.

The grey area comes in when you want to beat somebody so bad, will you fudge your numbers a little?

Ahhhh… very interesting indeed. Think about that for a little bit.

Here is the study: