When you think of February, the first thing that comes to mind is Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air, but does that sentiment carry over into the gym?
Well, as the saying goes, “Couples who train together stay together.” Still, I was torn on which way to angle this blog. My first thought was couples should NOT team up on exercise. But then I felt guilty because my hubby is a great workout partner. I decided to run a Facebook poll to tap into some close sources – all of you guys!
The majority of those who participated – 80% in fact – favored couples training together. With that in mind, follow these couples’ workout do’s and don’ts to get the most out of hitting the gym with your Valentine!!
- Try something totally new. Guys, don’t be afraid to teach your significant other how to lift heavy things (but make sure you do it safely). Whether you are going to instruct her on how to bench press or deadlift, make her feel like she is just as capable as you when it comes to raising the bar. As for the ladies, don’t be intimidated to show your partner a little something, too. Whether it’s a unique treadmill workout that you found on Pinterest or even a few yoga poses that you have mastered, teaching each other new things can keep you both open minded and on your feet.
- Have a common goal. Find something that’s specific, measurable, time-bound, attainable and relevant to your situation. Signing up to run a race, like a Spartan Sprint, will give you both something to strive for together. On race day, you’ll have something to conquer as a team.
- Recognize that your physical abilities may be different. It’s very important to remember that you and your significant other likely are at completely different fitness levels. There will be certain workouts that will be extremely hard for one person and easier for the other. In short, don’t make anyone do something they are not comfortable attempting. Yes, being challenged during a workout is expected, but a guy should not push his girlfriend to squat 300 pounds. Sorry bro, it’s just not going to happen. Always respect each other’s limits and abilities.
- Leave arguments at home. The gym is never the place for shouting matches. If you can’t leave your disagreement at the door, skip the joint workout until the problem has been resolved. No one wants to come to the gym for a live version of the Jerry Springer show.
- Have your own style. You really don’t have to wear matching outfits. Enough said.
- Be adaptable. To keep things even and fun, forgo your normal routine. Dragging your partner through a regimen they aren’t interested in could be discouraging and counterproductive. Instead of staying in the gym, for instance, you could head out on the trail for the day. Use stumps for box jumps, or branches for pull-ups. Create an experience!
- Stay focused. While it is perfectly okay to exchange a few words while you work out, remember why you are there – to exercise and not socialize. Keep extended conversations to a minimum and be aware of how your behavior is impacting others. You can feel connected as a couple without disrupting fellow gymgoers.
- Don’t be afraid to add some friendly competition! Don’t deny it; we have all been in a certain relationship where we got a little too competitive. Whether it’s who can make it to the car the fastest or who can hang the longest, this type of rivalry is best when brought to the gym. It can be something as simple as moving up 10 pounds each time during squats and seeing who can get the most reps. It can be anything, and the goal is to drive one another. Just don’t forget, it’s all about having fun.
- Don’t push too far. Of course, trying a new fitness activity together – maybe even sharing a little embarrassment over slip-ups – can be a fun, bonding experience. However, it can also go too far. If you or your partner feel incapable or wholly uncomfortable, they could resent the activity (and you for making them do it). Don’t be overly competitive. Not everyone responds to competition well. And even if they enjoy it from time to time, the key is leveling the playing field. If you’re stronger or faster than your partner, they aren’t going to enjoy working out with you, and the entire experience could end up being disheartening.
- Don’t preach. Don’t guilt your partner into working out with you if they just don’t want to. You should also avoid being overly critical of their form or their overall performance in the gym. Instead, take the time to teach and help your partner. Just make sure they’re open to the assistance. Otherwise it could make things worse.
- Don’t overly display public affection. Getting hot and heavy at the gym should refer to your workout only. Work up a sweat on your routine, not your sweetie. If you think your significant other looks sexy while lifting or getting in some squats, that’s great. Savor the feeling and wait until you are in a more appropriate setting to act on it.
- Don’t get bummed out by your partner’s results. There’s nothing worse than putting in the effort and not getting the results you’re after, especially if the one you love is following the same program and seeing positive changes. Everyone’s body responds differently to exercise. So, when one partner is getting amazing results and losing more weight than the other, resentment can build. Men tend to have a higher percentage of muscle, while women naturally carry a little more body fat. This means that guys generally burn more calories during exercise, as well as when they’re sitting on the couch.
- Working out as a couple is about balance. The trick is to find something you both enjoy so this becomes a positive and shared experience.
Working out with your spouse or partner can be a great way to add closeness and get in a little friendly competition at the same time. Not only is it great for strengthening a relationship, but it also can help couples avoid those extra pounds often packed on from too many dinners out and nights on the couch. Keep each other motivated and live life fitter together!