If you were swayed by our list of 10 benefits of working out with your significant other, you might be wondering how to make this whole swolemates thing work. From hammering out schedules to scaling movements to finding your ideal style of encouragement, here are 10 tips to help you and your beloved get the most out of your joint workouts.
Ready to take the plunge and try a workout with your boo? We've got some stellar tips to keep you both safe and sane as you navigate partnered exercise.
1. MAINTAIN INDEPENDENCE
As with other areas of your relationship, it's important to remember that you and your partner are individuals with different abilities and different goals. A crucial part of maintaining your fitness independence is not getting frustrated if one of you is outperforming the other.
Rome wasn't built in a day, and every body responds differently to new workout routines. Regardless of who's stronger or faster, you're both on your way to better health!
2. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
You know the old adage: A goal without a plan is just a wish. Embarking on your own solo fitness journey takes a fair amount of planning, and when you add a second person into the mix things can get even more challenging. That's where planning comes in! Sit down together and plot out your goals, schedule, specific workouts—the more you hash out ahead of time, the less likely you are to stumble over minor speed bumps along the way.
Take advantage of each of your personal strengths when planning, too. Utilize your individual skill sets to divvy up the workload, for example: The more organized partner can record your progress while the more motivational partner can keep your workout attendance on track.
3. CHOOSE WISELY
If you and your beloved are at markedly different places in your individual fitness journeys, you may want to hit pause on training for a half marathon together or limit your running workouts to the treadmill so you can each work at your own pace.
Alternately, choose an activity that can easily be scaled. Weightlifting is a great place to start because you're both free to use whatever weights are appropriate for your current level of fitness. Trying a class or program that's new to both of you is another good way to start on a more level playing field.
Make sure to factor in any health concerns or personal preferences when searching for a couples' workout as well. Nagging injuries, asthma, seasonal allergies, sensitivity to temperature extremes, and other issues will take some activities off the list right off the bat. These are all great things to discuss during your initial planning sessions!
4. BET ON IT
Need a little extra motivation? Make a few friendly wagers with your significant other to keep things competitive. Place bets to see who can complete a workout the fastest or lose the most pounds in a month. If you wear fitness trackers, you can use anything from calories burned to steps taken to average heart rate as wager fodder.
Be sure to keep your prizes healthy so you don't derail your progress. An easy (and free!) prize would be for the "loser" to give the winner a massage, which may be desperately needed after some tough workouts. Other ideas include treating the winner to new workout gear or adding the their favorite workout or playlist into the rotation for a week.
5. TRY NEW THINGS
Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of working out with your significant other is finding an activity that you both enjoy. It may seem daunting, but it can absolutely be done—and the process of finding that Goldilocks workout can be pretty fun!
If both of you are coming into this arrangement with your own routine, make sure you both try the other's favorite workout. Not only does this signal a willingness to compromise, it gives each of you the opportunity to shine.
Equally important is trying new things together, which puts you on more even footing in terms of skill and ability. It also pushes you out of your comfort zone and may even introduce you to your new favorite activity.
6. MOTIVATE ACCORDINGLY
You know your partner better than most people, so you likely have a pretty good idea of how to motivate and support them. Make sure you're fostering a loving and encouraging environment vs. one that is critical or overly aggressive.
Not everyone responds well to tough love (but some people do!), so it's important to cater your motivational style to their needs. And of course, they should do the same for you.
7. BE PRESENT
While you may be tempted to pop in your earbuds prior to your couple's workout—don't! Sure, many workouts don't lend themselves to in-depth conversations, but the simple act of being totally present with each other during exercise can strengthen your bond.
Plus, hearing your partner's words of encouragement may give your workout a boost you wouldn’t get if you were listening to the same old playlist for the hundredth time.
8. GET A ROOM
The gym (or trail… or tennis court) is not exactly Lovers Lane. You don't want to be those people who are distracting others with your over-the-top displays of affection. We know you're proud of each other, but maybe keep it PG for the general public.
9. TAKE TURNS
You're never too old to share! Interval circuit training is a great way to work out together while also scaling your workout to each partner's individual fitness level or physical limitations. The idea is that while one person performs an exercise, the other times them or counts their reps. Then they trade off and so it goes until the workout is complete.
Interval circuits provide ample rest for everyone and ensure that both parties get a challenging workout that's tailored to their needs. Not only is this great for couples with different fitness levels, it's perfect for pairs with an injury or two between them because each person can perform movements that are appropriate for their current abilities.
If you're short on time or money, keep it simple with an at-home workout together. If you can spare just ten minutes a day, you and your partner can easily incorporate a morning yoga sequence or a brisk after-dinner walk into your routine. For a more advanced option, pick out a push-up or squat challenge to tackle together.