This week I asked how couples get their exercise – do they work out together or individually, and why. The reason I asked is because this is something my husband and I have been trying to figure out for a while now! I’ve seen many couples do workouts together, or go on the same diets. I think it’s cool to have it be something you can do together because you get healthy while spending time together, you can encourage each other, and it can be convenient to eat the same meals. However, it’s not always that easy for some couples!
Trial and error have helped us see that trying to eat the same meals is very difficult because we have different restrictions and needs. Finding a one-size-fits-all exercise program that both of you enjoy is also not easy! Maybe one of you loves getting exercise through playing sports and the other loves spending time in the gym. One of you might want to focus on muscles and toning while the other wants to focus on cardio. It’s also really hard to stay strong when one person is slacking and eating treats or doesn’t want to exercise… I’m really bad at the treats thing! Each of these scenarios helped us realize how influential spouses can be when it comes to our motivation.
Some of you shared what you and your spouse are doing when it comes to this topic. A few of you said you currently enjoy working out together and it has been helpful both physically in reaching your exercise goals, as well as relationally in doing that activity together! Others said that they work out individually due to different schedules, or try to focus more on the making healthier meals they eat together. In drawing from your responses and my own experiences, there seemed to be some common themes when it comes to promoting exercise in marriage:
doing at least some sort of physical activity together is good for your relationship.
- You may not always agree on the same sports or exercises you enjoy. However, at the very least, you can go on walks together! Not only is this good for your relationship to hold hands, converse with each other, and spend time together, but it gets your body moving. One of our favorites is to ride our little razor scooters around our neighborhood :)
Do what you can!
- If you can’t work out together or neither one of you have time to exercise, you can focus on your meals in trying to make them healthier, or eating at a decent hour. One thing I’ve been working on ever since we first were married is trying to have fewer treats hanging around our house! haha. I’m just a treat person, what can I say?! Another idea is helping each other stay accountable by tracking your meals and/or exercise together. Trevor has told me this is encouraging to him so I’m trying to be better about using our “My Fitness Pal” app to do this. Whatever your health goals are individually or separate, I think there are even little things you can do to help each other!
Encouragement and support are what it comes down to whether you can work out together or not.
- For the longest time, I kept trying to focus on making healthy meals and finding ways for us to enjoy exercising. It’s taken many times telling me, but I’ve finally understood that for Trevor, having the encouragement and support is really what he needs. Making health goals together was not working for us because our success felt tied to each other, which set us up for failure each time something came along and changed our exercise/dietary goals (busy schedules, food allergies, getting sick, etc.) It seems so easy to just care about each other’s success, but it has taken me awhile to see that it requires effort to learn how to cook healthy meals, to sacrifice the time of going to the gym together, or complimenting and encouraging each other every day.
Make a plan that works for the both of you
After a good talk between Trevor and I, we realized that we needed to exercise individually, but at the same time do it together. Let me explain! I just didn’t realize how much the success of our own health goals was tied to each other when we made the goal to work out together. Trevor had to help me see that. For some couples, this can motivate them but for others it can hinder them if one person has different needs, desires, or circumstances. So we have decided on something that seems to be working so far: We will both exercise when it is convenient for our own schedules, but it helps us feel more motivated to do that when we see each other making efforts to exercise and eat well.
I’m truly working on being a better example and more encouraging for my husband in our exercise and eating better. I need to do that for him. CRAVINGS ARE SO REAL THOUGH, RIGHT?! Despite my personal hurdles, I have felt more desire, motivation, and understanding to help us succeed in our individual goals! It’s only been about a week but I feel good about it, and I hope we can keep it up!
Not every couple has to work out together! What works for one couple might not work for another. Do what is best for you both, whether that means not caring too much about it, or being extreme cross-fit people! haha. What are your health goals as a couple? In what ways do you both try to reach those goals? Has working out together been beneficial for your marriage? Please share!