Although each of us has different fitness priorities, experiences, and preferences, there is no denying that having a partner in health improves success! Getting fit with your partner helps keep you both accountable, motivated, and supported.
However, it doesn't always happen naturally. It takes skill and commitment to manage and listen to one another's fitness intentions and challenges. Here are five tips to make your partnership successful so you can get fit together in a positive and powerful way. It takes practice, but the benefits are tremendous.
Make Each Other Feel Comfortable
The first step to creating any new workout routine is getting up the nerve start it. I’ve had clients sign up for personal training sessions, drive to the gym, and never get up the nerve to come in the door! At times, the intimidation factor can be intense.
When it comes to our partner, we value their opinion and respect them a lot more than someone we barely know. To make each other feel comfortable, accept, support, and encourage them at their present fitness level. People have varying strengths and abilities based on age, gender, previous exercise history, and genetic makeup. Always stay positive and use positive critiques about form and effort. Plan workouts that both of you are comfortable with (or that can be easily scaled to both of your needs).
Mix it up
Often we see the guys lifting weights and the girls hitting the elliptical. Sadly, only performing one type of exercise leads to a plateau. Most partners working out together are looking for moderate fitness and getting healthy so performing a combination of sessions is a must.
Switch up your workout by alternating who develops the plan each day. Since your partner will be providing the inspiration, it will force you into working on your least favorite forms of fitness – the ones you usually overlook. This will challenge you both.
What happens if one person just isn’t on the same page? Maybe they have never worked out, or simply don’t enjoy it. If you believe opposites attract, then you can see why this becomes a fragile dilemma!
One of the reasons I married my wife is because we both have the same interests. It was easy for us because we both had fitness as a priority in our lives before we were even together. That said, your best bet is to start slowly and respect where your partner is coming from. If you're the one more heavily into fitness, invite them to a workout one day a week and tailor exercises accordingly. The purpose of being with someone else or having a best friend in your life is because they make you better, they lift you up. When one person doesn’t enjoy working out, recognize that you’re most likely the person that can motivate them.
Selecting a mutual time to work out together can be quite the task. Depending on your work schedules it may not be possible to work out together every day, but it should be doable two times per week or you’re likely just making an excuse.
Start by asking several questions. Find out each other’s preferences and dial in a specific time that’s not too early or too late. Be realistic with one another and learn to compromise.
If you are not planning to attend a group class together, then someone needs to be responsible for planning the workout. As the Program Director at Skyterra, the last person I want to program exercise for is myself! So, I'm all ears when my wife has an idea for a workout.
If one person in the partnership has to deal with the burden of planning all the time, it can generate unnecessary stress. It’s critical to rotate who takes the lead session to session. Or, share the responsibly by sitting down on Sunday and writing out your workouts together for the week. This removes the worry (and inefficiency) of developing a plan when you’re already at the gym.
Whether you’re the fitness buff or you’re the one trying to keep up, make sure that none of these reasons are holding you back from working out with your partner. In every relationship, there are obstacles (I’m not just talking about working out together), but when you compromise and create inclusive workouts, everyone will prevail. Make each other comfortable, mix it up, and rally the person who struggles the most. Connecting via physical activity is one thing you can do to strengthen any relationship.
By Jeff Ford
Jeff Ford is the Program Director at Skyterra, a mountain wellness retreat where you can set aside life’s obligations and focus on your own health and well-being. Our caring experts help you break old cycles, jumpstart new healthy habits, and revitalize your lifestyle every step of the way. Read more about our approach to fitness.