When I go to work out, I used to prefer to be by myself. Then I took a few classes with others, and really enjoyed it. I find that I am very competitive and work much harder when I am secretly competing against others in the class. When I go into the class, I have to get heavier weights than other people. I have to ride in my Spinning classes a little harder than everyone else. I have to push myself a little more. This is so good for me. If I did not have this competition, I wouldn’t work nearly as hard. And I have made some very good friends in these classes.
Life is not always about competition though. Sometimes exercise is just fun. These friends have become my companions for outside sports as well. We have so much fun running or walking 5k and 10k races together. We are not so competitive then. We just have fun. The turkey trots on Thanksgiving are especially fun. I also love to ride bikes in long events, and none of my friends had ever done so. I encouraged them to ride a 25 mile ride with me, which they all thought they could not do. But we all did it, we had a blast (and we even dressed alike). Now all of them are avid bike riders.
I have one friend who cannot relax and enjoy exercise for fun. She is too competitive. For example, we went on a century (100 mile) bike ride. There are rest stops every 10-15 miles. The people that work at the rest stops work hard to make the rest stops fun. They have a theme, lots of food, restrooms, and sometimes music. One stop even had pie and ice cream. Most of us spend time at these stops, swapping stories with other cyclists, and taking a breather. But my friend was in race mode all day. She used the rest room and was gone, racing to the next stop. She did not enjoy the ride. She had finished and was leaving the event when we were at about mile 70. We were having such a good time and meeting so many people, and she hated it. She vows never to do another century. What a shame :(.
Bottom line, having a companion to work out with is great. It pushes you and makes you better. But sometime you just need to relax and enjoy life. It is not always a competition. Now that summer is here, we need to get out and just enjoy the outdoors, and not make everything a race.