Now that you’re more than a month into your health and fitness goals for the year, you might be thinking it’s time to spice up your workouts by inviting your spouse to join you at the gym. Before you embark on the journey of sweating with your sweetie, it’s important to take into consideration the pros and cons of working out with your spouse so you both are successful in accomplishing your health and fitness goals.
Gwen and Blake Beckcom, married for 19 years, personal trainers and co-owners at Fitness Together Mission Hills, both agree that it takes commitment, dedication and realistic expectations to make working out with your spouse a healthy and happy experience.
Pro: Share in the Experience of Getting Fit Together
One of the biggest assets to accomplishing your health and fitness goals is having an accountability partner who motivates you and supports your journey toward a healthy lifestyle. When your fitness partner is also your spouse, it allows you to be on the same page both mentally and logistically.
It’s a lot easier to make eating healthy and working out regularly a priority in your life when your spouse commits to making the same lifestyle choices. This joint commitment to fitness not only helps to support personal growth, but also can lead to improvements in your relationship and the overall outlook in your household.
“You’re going to need encouragement along the way,” explains Blake. “If your workout buddy is your spouse, then it’s easier to stay motivated and accountable to each other. You’re setting a couple goal together, which can be a powerful thing.”
“Couples who sweat together stay together,” adds Gwen. “When you work out with your spouse, you come away with feelings of a cooperative spirit, a shared passion and the feeling of synchronization. When you both have the same goals of being healthy and fit, it can be a real powerhouse for any relationship.”
Con: Different Goals and Approaches May Hinder Results
A common hang-up that can deter couples from working out together is when each person has different exercise goals and fitness levels. And, even if a husband and wife are both striving to lose weight or gain strength, it’s important to remember that men and women typically need to approach their fitness goals differently in order to get the results they need.
“Couples need to know up front that men lose weight and grow muscle faster. So it’s important for each person to have accurate baselines and realistic goals when they start working out together,” explains Blake. “It can be a challenge for husbands and wives who have two different types of workout approaches. It can even be difficult for Gwen and I because I’m going hard and heavy while Gwen is going light and fast. I’m not as patient and Gwen is more patient.”
One solution that Gwen and Blake have found to overcome the obstacle of having different workout approaches and attitudes is to focus less on doing the same exercises and more on working out in the same place and at the same time. Going together and leaving together, but doing your own exercise routine while at the gym, can be a great approach for mutual success.
“When Blake and I go to the gym together he’s working out separately from me, but we’re both there together,” shares Gwen. “We can look across the room and smile at each other. It’s a good feeling to know we’re both on the same page and we’re both willing to work out, stay healthy and fit each other. Knowing that Blake cares enough about me to take care of his body is a great feeling.”
Pro: Celebrate Accomplishments and Work Through Obstacles Together
Every fitness routine will have its ups and its downs. Working out with your spouse allows the two of you to share in celebrating the accomplishments along the way, as well as support each other through the inevitable setbacks and obstacles you’ll face.
Having someone in your corner who can relate with what you’re going through and cheering you on along the way will not only strengthen your commitment to establishing a healthy life for each other, but it also can have a positive impact on your marriage as well. Working out with your loved one can lead to improved intimacy, a stronger closeness, increased endorphins and more energy.
“Ultimately, working out together can be a real relationship builder,” says Blake. “There’s going to be some big wins you’ll share along the way and setbacks you can work through with each other. Usually going through difficult things together is when you can grow your relationship.”
Con: Syncing Schedules Can Challenge Busy Couples
Finding time to work out is one of the most common obstacles for busy individuals to adopt a healthy and fit lifestyle. But when you have dual-income families with both spouses juggling professional and family responsibilities, it can be nearly impossible for a husband and wife to get on the same workout schedule.
Instead of adding stress and tension by trying to force the issue of working out together regularly when it doesn’t synch with your schedule, make it a point to exercise together during special occasions like family vacations and holiday breaks. You can still reap the benefits of re-connecting and supporting each other’s fitness goals even if you can only manage to work out together at various times throughout the year.
“Blake and I love destination workouts,” shares Gwen. “When you’re on vacation it’s like an adventure and you can’t say you don’t have enough time. We just enjoy being together. It’s fun to have him spotting me and me spotting him. We give each other high fives and offer the same encouragement to each other that we give our clients in the studio.”
It’s healthy for both husbands and wives to commit to living a fitness-focused lifestyle. But make sure you work through the pros and cons discussed above before you decide to get your burn on together. Whether you work out at the same time or maintain separate sessions, the most important thing is to support each other’s efforts while committing to being healthy and fit for you and your family.