by Jennifer Trimmier
You may know that having an accountability partner during your workout sessions is a great way to keep you on track and ensure that you have social support to meet your goals. But did you know that when the partner is your “significant other” you get even more feel-good benefits?
People who work out with a buddy:
- Cancel their workout sessions less often (it’s hard to stay in bed when you know someone is waiting for you).
- Burn more calories (buddies serve to keep us on track when we may otherwise take a break or fiddle with our music).
- Feel as if their exercise is more fun than when they perform it alone (buddies expand our horizons into other workout possibilities like partner exercises or new hobbies the buddy already participates in).
When your workout buddy is your significant other, you get all of the above plus a tighter marital bond. Exercise helps people lower stress levels and improve focus. It also promotes listening and teamwork, which generally helps promote a better relationship.
Many times I’ve heard that working out with a significant other causes more conflict than enjoyment. Tensions can rise if either isn’t in the right mindset, but if you set some friendly rules of engagement before the sweat session, you’re sure to have successful workout with all the benefits mentioned above.
Rule No 1: Don’t compete, at least not every time. Remember that you’re there to enjoy the exercise and each other. It’s OK to push each other, but the point isn’t to outdo your partner every single time. As a matter of fact, you’ll probably find that you are better at some things and your partner is better at others. Embrace your differences and help each other improve in the areas that may be lacking. A friendly competition is OK (and healthy) every once in a while, but be sure to set a few ground rules and to compete at varying ability levels.
Rule No. 2: Learn something new together. Participating in an activity that’s new to the both of you will foster teamwork since you’ll both be working on something that’s foreign to your body. Whether you choose to take a new class or just learn one new exercise to add to your routine, the teamwork fostered tends to overflow into everyday life. Couples who learn to work well together in the gym tend to carry that partnership into their daily lives and start to work together more closely to resolve challenges. The endorphins released when doing something new and exciting together can also rekindle flames that may not be burning so bright.
Rule No. 3: Keep some “me” time. Just because you’re dedicated to working out together doesn’t mean it has to be every single time. As in life, sometimes you need to do your own thing. It’s OK to go to the gym together but focus on individual activities. Talk to your partner about what’s best for your relationship; perhaps that’s only one or two partner workouts per week. That’s enough to put you, and your relationship, on the right track!
Jennifer Trimmier is an ACE certified personal trainer who owns Strong Body San Antonio Fitness & Wellness Coaching. She provides at-home and on-location personal training and wellness coaching for individuals and groups. To learn more, visit www. strongbodysa.com or call 210-445-0448.