Chris Judd: Why teamwork can be your biggest workout asset

Exercise can be a personal pursuit, but there is a myriad of positive benefits that come from being part of a team – and they’re not just limited to your health. Here, Chris Judd reflects on the role that teammates can play in your fitness journey.

Chris Judd

Chris Judd

Chris Judd is a former AFL footballer and twice winner of the Brownlow Medal.

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No matter what you’re pursuing in life, it’s nice to feel that you’re part of a team. Whether it’s celebrating a victory, commiserating a loss, or tackling a challenge, the knowledge that others are there by your side can make those experiences more meaningful. Being part of a united group can push you to unlock potential that you might not have realised was even there. By elevating your goals above those of the individual, there’s a shared sense of camaraderie that can propel you to new heights.

Make your #onechange

Take the plunge and join a social sports team. Meetup is a great resource for finding something nearby that caters to your fitness level.

Break down barriers

On top of that, it’s nice to live a life that isn’t compartmentalised. By playing in a group or team, you’re not making those clear distinctions between work, exercise, and socialising. Sure, there are fitness benefits – but there’s also all the good that comes from spending quality time with others. It’s also an excellent way to free up your schedule – you’re ticking your exercise and social quotas at the same time.

Show up when it counts

Then there’s the extra accountability that comes with exercising with others. Even if you’re just training with one other friend, you don’t want to let that person down. That can be a handy motivational tool, but I’d also encourage people to think about who they’re really letting down if they skip a workout. You’re only cheating your future-self, and that’s someone who you should treat as a close friend.

Reach new heights

When you’re part of a group, you can tap into a level of competitiveness that you might not otherwise access. That’s a healthy way to push yourself to strive for excellence and develop your confidence. Most weeks, I’m awake before the sunrise so that I can play tennis. That started off fairly casually, but it’s gradually become competitive. Now, I look forward to each match – and it’s a great motivator to get myself out of bed before anyone else is awake.

I had a similar experience with the cycling group I joined. Being new to that world, it was really tough work to even keep pace with the pack. It made me push myself much harder than I would have if I’d just been riding on my own, and that gave me a real sense of personal accomplishment. Sure, you can achieve results by competing with yourself. But if you’re with a group, you’re also gaining all the advice and feedback that others have to offer. It adds a whole new layer to the experience, and it’s really valuable for progressing quickly.

Share a common goal

Even if you’re not looking to train competitively, almost everyone can benefit from playing a social sport. Every team is unique, but everyone wants to be part of a successful one – no matter if you're a professional athlete or someone who gets out once a week for a bit of fun. The only way to achieve that goal is if everyone else pitches in with you, and sharing that experience is really special.

In some ways, it’s better to play socially because everyone is united in hunting for the win. People aren’t concerned with trying to get drafted, they’re just there for a good time. Playing footy at school was some of the best fun I’ve ever had with a sport. Even when you’re losing, there’s a unity in sharing that frustration – and it’s only going to bring you all closer.

Mix things up

Part of the reason I love sport is because it’s the ultimate equaliser. You’ll find yourself mixing with all sorts of people from a myriad of different backgrounds that you might not have otherwise met. It doesn’t matter what you do in your day-to-day life; on the field, everyone is equal. Often, the hardest step in people’s fitness journey is simply heading down to the local recreation centre and registering for a casual team. Once you’ve done that it’s like, “Well, now I have to show up, or it’s a forfeit.”

Chris Judd

Former Australian Rules footballer Chris Judd is familiar with how to get your heart rate up and push yourself physically. Twice winner of the prestigious Brownlow Medal, Chris is an honoured sportsman and father to four children, Oscar, Billie, Tom and Darcy. The information in this article is general information only and is not intended as medical, health, nutritional or other advice. You should obtain professional advice from a medical or health practitioner in relation to your own personal circumstances.

The information in this article is general information only and is not intended as financial, medical, health, nutritional, tax or other advice. It does not take into account any individual’s personal situation or needs. You should consider obtaining professional advice from a financial adviser and/or tax specialist, or medical or health practitioner, in relation to your own circumstances and before acting on this information.