For those struggling to lose weight and keep it off, the key to success may be in your relationship. According to studies, getting fit with your partner can have numerous benefits, from improving workout efficiency and goal achievement, to strengthening your emotional bond, boosting happiness, and stimulating attraction.
Convinced to couple up on your weight loss efforts but not sure where to start? See our list of seven simple ways to incorporate fitness and nutrition into your relationship.
While dieting can lead to food deprivation, cravings, and crankiness, a switch in what you and your partner are choosing to eat, or refocusing on nutrition and balance, makes for the ideal foundation to get fit together. Because you likely eat most of your meals together—or at least eat similar meals even if your schedules are a little off—you’re much more likely to stick to healthier choices, especially if you make cooking a team task. Keep it fun and light, and acknowledge that some dishes may need a little personalization for you each to meet your unique nutrition needs, and to appeal to your taste buds, of course!
Weightlifting is the ideal fitness workout for couples because not only do you have an on-demand spotter, but you also are able to stick to your own limits and goals. For example, you might both want to strengthen the back, but perhaps one partner is targeting bra bulge while another is working on correcting posture. With weightlifting, you can take turns while targeting your unique goals, rather than having to constantly keep pace. As a side note, regardless of gender, it’s likely one partner will be able to lift more weight than another. Competition isn’t ideal here as injury can result from too much strain, so it’s important to consider this an opportunity to support and motivate while growing comfortable in your own body and appreciating its strengths and limits.
While it might cost a little more than your standard personal training session, booking a couple’s appointment with a fitness coach that focuses on exercises you can complete together gives you both a reason to work out. In fact, in the end, a couple’s session may also help you save a little money per person, as there is often a small discount compared to individual sessions. When booking your appointment, tell your fitness trainer you’re looking for exercises that require two people, like partner medicine ball rotations or bodyweight squats. A workout that relies on two people to complete offers built-in accountability and support.
Some couples excel with a little fun competition. If a competitive aspect to your fitness workout is the key to motivating you and your partner to get fit together, incorporate ways to measure goals and achievements. Recognize that fitness is personal, so what your partner may be able to achieve will be quite different from you. Where possible, make the competition based less on specific numbers and more on individual improvement. For those looking for a wager, consider having the “loser” cook dinner or take out the trash to spice up the competition.
Consider taking lessons in a new sport, something you can both learn together and later incorporate into your regular schedule. Try to narrow in on a sport you’re both fairly new to so you’re on a similar level of expertise to begin. The number of participants required to play the sport should also factor into the equation. If you and your partner are effective in holding each other accountable, a one-on-one sport, like tennis or squash, is a good fit. For those couples who tend to be motivated and unmotivated together, joining a team sport will make you both accountable to other people, making it more likely you’ll keep the date rather than reschedule.
While we all love date night splurges on good food, wine, or entertainment, try mixing in something a little more active. This doesn’t have to mean sweat and competition. Consider making a date to go swimming at the beach and instead of chatting on shore, have a conversation while treading water. Alternatively, go for a hike to get out of your urban jungle or take a more active mode of transit, like cycling, between food stops to help even out calorie intake. In fact, swapping out a movie night for an evening of salsa or swing can bump your activity up by 300 calories per hour while loosening up and getting a little more intimate.
Sometimes it can be difficult to reach your individual body goals, even when working out together. You should always be able to talk about how you’re feeling so that you can make the changes you need to, whether it’s fitness- or body-related. For instance, the one thing many people don’t mention about losing weight is that loose skin can become a concern for some individuals. Sometimes, skin bounces back, while other times, elasticity needs a little support. It’s important to stress openness and honesty in your weight loss journey together, so that if one of you is considering a complementary aesthetics treatment to reach your body goals, such as skin tightening, it’s received with love, support, and the understanding that while you’re getting fit together, you’re still on your own unique journeys.
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