Best and Worst Workouts for a Couple

When I went to dance classes with my husband many years ago, the instructor told us that any couples in the class should split up and dance with others. “We have a tendency to tell our partner things that we would not say to other people,” I remember how she said. “Like, ‘Honey, you’re doing it wrong.”

It was true – we changed partners every few minutes, and whenever my husband showed up on a rotation, we ended up arguing about who was dancing wrong. (To be honest, we were new to this. It was both of us.)

There are some things you and your partner can do together to get some exercise, but you need to be careful about choosing the right type of workout. Big no, no:

  • Anything competitive (even a little)
  • Anything you both try to learn (Honey, you’re doing it wrong)
  • Anything you need, like running or cycling.

There is another pitfall that can happen to any buddy you know well: instead of motivating each other to go to the gym, you can persuade each other to stay home. (If it’s a long day, you’re both tired.) If you’re convinced that this will never happen to you, here are some ways to try working out with your girlfriend.

How to train together

Don’t do the same . This is the golden rule. If you try to simply “run together,” and your partner is faster than you, they will resent the need to slow down and you will tire of trying to accelerate. Even if you have the exact same pace, it still doesn’t. After a while, one of you will get faster, and then you will have the above problems plus an additional question: why are they getting faster and I am not? (Maybe they have more running time, maybe they are biologically gifted, it doesn’t matter. You will be mad at that anyway.)

Instead, walk to the track together and everyone starts their workout. You are still in the same place, so you can meet on water breaks and go out for beer or ice cream after that. Make it a date, not a race.

Try this with any activity that you can do in the same place , but not side by side. You can go to the pool and swim together – ideally on separate lanes. I can successfully go to the gym with my husband, and he will train, and I will do mine. We coordinate a short period of time to notice each other in the bench press , doing his best to keep his mouth shut, and then go separate ways.

Couples can also survive the class together if you are in a situation where you only pay attention to the instructor and never to each other. For example, group cycling with loud music in the dark . Do not ride nearby bicycles.

I have heard that it is possible to coexist doing exercises or stretching along with your own weight , but I am skeptical.

There is one exception to the rule of doing things together. You can go further if this is an activity, both of you are good and it is good in your ability. For example, a leisurely walk. You won’t fix the way your partner walks (hopefully). Or a scenic bike ride that’s not a race at all, even when you get to the hill. (It may be best to avoid the hills.)

Yes, and if you want to take advantage of the phenomenon where we work a little harder in a group or with a stronger training buddy , do yourself a favor: find a friendly group of trainers or turn an acquaintance into a training buddy. … Don’t let your partner do it.


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