My wife (Allison) and I got married about 3 months ago and have been faithful in exercising about 4-5 times a week. We mostly focus on strength training but will occasionally go for a hike or play racquet ball together at the campus. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this time together. One of every man’s needs in a spouse is sharing in recreational activity. I have learned this first hand through the sharing of our workouts together. This post lists ways to be successful when exercising with a spouse.
In marriage, it is said that two become one. Though this can seem the furthest thing from the truth when you look at a husband’s and wife’s passion for physical fitness. One person may come from a family that exercised every day at the Y, ran marathons and did family bike rides. The others’ family may have thought their daily physical exercise was how many times they walked to the fridge for a cup of ice cream. If you have the desire to exercise with your spouse there are a few important principles to remember.
3 Benefits of Exercising with a Spouse
1. Accountability To Get Ripped (Men) or Stay Lean (Women)
Both Allison and I are in good shape, but knowing that she is my accountability partner drives me to workout even harder. Some days, Allison is the one, who gets me downstairs and pushes me through the workout. Other days, I am the one who motivates her. It’s easier to work out when your spouse is sweating and grunting alongside of you.
2. Motivation Through Positive Encouragement
The thoughts that pass through our mind can be deeply motivating or deeply discouraging. Having your spouse beside you while exercising and hearing their positive encouragement is motivating to the umpteenth extent. Allison frequently tells me, “Babe, you can do it. Push through. I’m so proud of how strong you are.” This turns me into Rocky and I feel like I could beat up Mr. T., that Russian guy from Rock IV and Tommy Guns all at the same time.
3. Deeper Spouse Connection Through Recreational Activity
As stated above, one of a man’s deepest needs is recreational activity with his wife. Going through our workouts together feels like we have worked as a team to achieve a small goal. When exercising with your spouse you are forced to rely on them both mentally and physically to achieve your individual goals. It’s a great bonding experience when you can celebrate the successes with them.
5 Must-Follow Tips When Exercising With A Spouse
1. Measure Your Progress Religiously
In order to progress in fitness, you must track your results, whether you are exercising with a spouse or not. Though with your partner it can be especially motivating. Taking before & after pictures, measuring waist lines, arm sizes, body fat percentages, etc. These can all be great tools to show how your progressing.
Don’t put too much stock in the results of these from month to month. Yes, you should be seeing progress over the long haul. But it is more about the habit of physical activity that creates change in your life rather than the results from one month to the other. Also, remember muscle weighs more than fat.
2. Be Encouraging Before, During & After The Workouts
It is SOOO important to keep a positive attitude during your workouts with your spouse. Since you live with this person (and for those that have lived with their spouse a long time) you may not feel like you want to verbally encourage them. Maybe they have hurt you just recently or you are holding onto something in the past. Let it go for the hour that you exercise. That issue doesn’t exist. Encourage them verbally. Call them “Sexy thing”. Slap them on the butt and give them a wink. Trust me, it works.
3. Do Some Type Of Exercise You Both Enjoy
Exercise can get boring especially if you do the same thing over and over again. Find something you both enjoy. If it’s jogging, jog. If it’s biking, bike. If it’s scaling vertical rocks, than do that. The important thing is that you both enjoy the activity so each person can feel like they have some ownership in it.
4. Give Each Other Kisses During Your Workouts
This is important especially for those whose love language is physical touch. I say “kisses” here but really it can be a high five, slap on the bum, chest bump or whatever you both like. Establishing the connection through a physical touch will help create more energy between the two of you.
5. Trade-Off On Workout Music Or Find A Common Genre
Ok, we come to the hot button issue…music. Why music is so important to us I do not know, but it is. Allison loves country. I can’t stand it. Though I could listen to classical music while working out and she can’t. We have to respect each other’s preferences and find something we both like or come at it from the approach of service and let them listen to what they like for today, knowing that you will get to listen to your music tomorrow.
4 Deadly Sins To Ruin Your Spouses Motivation To Exercise
1. Saying, “You’re Lookin Kinda Fat.”
Please don’t ever say this to your woman…no matter what. Trust me on this fellas, it will have the opposite effect. It WILL NOT motivate them. For all you ladies out there- don’t tell your man that he is losing muscle or not looking ripped. This is the same thing for them. Tell them “You look ripped like Brad Pitt baby…you’re turning me on so much.” This will get them pumping those guns every day so he can look even more ripped for you.
2. Telling Them How Attractive Someone Else Is
Don’t compare your spouses body with another person’s body as a form of motivation. It will only demotivate him/her because they will look in the mirror and see themselves as unattractive and lose all motivation for any type of exercise. Tell them how beautiful or attractive they are and tell them the amazing progress she is making. This will dramatically spike their motivation and you’ll be rubbing your hands on their tight stomach in no time.
3. Getting In An Exercise Rut
Getting in an exercise rut can ruin couple moral. Since you and your spouse are doing the same thing over and over again, you will not be making progress because your not stimulating your muscles in different ways. And since you won’t be making progress you lose your motivation and you’ll quit. So plan things into your exercise routine that are different and fun. This will spice up your exercise regimen.
4. Just Going Through The Motions
This sin goes along with number three but relates more to during the exercise session. Even if you have done a particular workout a bunch of times don’t just go through the motions. Add some intensity. Make the exercises a contest with your spouse. Try to beat them on a particular exercise then encourage them to do the same.
Bonus Question: What If My Spouse Hates Exercise, How Do I Get Them To Do It With Me?
I firmly believe that internal motivation is much stronger than external motivation. I mean, only when your spouses’ perception changes, will they ever be truly motivated to exercise. You can not force them to get off the couch. Yet you can inspire them. The first step is for you to focus on yourself. Matthew 7:5, “Take the plank out of your own eye before you take the sliver out of someone else’s.’” Work on yourself first. Your spouse will see your change and will become inspired to change him/herself too. This is the best way to do it.
Resources To Help In Exercising With A Spouse
Article on Getting Your Spouse To Exercise
Article showing how Exercising Together Can Lead To A Happier Marriage