Deciding to get healthy and live fit can sometimes feel like moving mountains. It’s a big enough challenge to make that decision and meet that goal for ourselves, but to encourage someone you love to do the same is an even tougher challenge. However, when all the stars align, you may be surprised with a willing partner who will work out with you, share in your healthy eating habits, and encourage and inspire you.
When I decided 3 years ago that I wanted to exercise and get fit, it was only a half-hearted attempt. Afternoon would bring the end of my work day and I would slog into the spare room and hop on the elliptical that had only been used to hang clothing on up until that point. I could feel how out of shape I was and it took everything I had to do twenty minutes. Then thirty. Then forty. After a while, I got pretty bored. So bored, even my ipod full of podcasts couldn’t save me. So, I got a stationary training cycle. I found some great cycle training routines on YouTube and worked on that for several months. It was a kick-butt workout, but once again, I got bored. (Can you tell I have a short attention span?) I began working out to Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred DVD. It was great! A 30 minute calisthenic workout with some hand weights that really felt good to complete.
And then…something strange happened. I mentioned to my husband how much fun the workout was, and one day, he just came in and did it with me (I think it made him feel badly to sit in front of the TV while I was in the next room working out and getting fit!). And from that day forward, he has worked out at least 6 days a week for the better part of 2 years. He prefers to work out in the very early morning before work and I prefer to de-stress with a workout in the afternoon, so we don’t do it together now except on weekends. It’s a great way to spend weekend early mornings. We workout for an hour and then hop in the hot tub with our coffee!
This has really made it fun to continue to be fit. We hold each other accountable and don’t feel uncomfortable working out in our own home because we know we’re supported there. Exercise is the right thing to do. If you hope to live a fit life, having a partner who knows what a struggle it is and who can be in that struggle with you is a terrific gift.
How Partners Can Support Our Efforts
There are many ways our partners can support our efforts to be fit.
- The very best option would be for them to make the commitment themselves to live a long and healthy, happy life by making healthy choices and adding physical activity and fun to your life together.
- If they can’t make the commitment themselves, they can encourage you in your commitment by noticing your changes and being proud of you.
- A partner can help by understanding that your health is an important key to your family being strong and achieving the goals you set for yourselves as a group.
- Your significant other may encourage your life-changes by stressing the importance of physical activity and eating well to your children, if you have them.
These are just a few of the terrific actions your sweetheart can take to assist you in making your healthy fitness dreams come true. Be open and honest about how important it is to you and your success to have their support and encouragement. You may even go so far as to tell them how important they are to you and that if they could make the commitment to get fit with you, you could feel happier in knowing they may be with you that much longer.
Benefits Of Exercising With A Partner
Having an exercise partner can really pump up the volume of energy in the room. If you have space to work out together, go for it.
- You can push each other that much more and encourage each other. Heck, my honey and I even coach each other with words like, “Pick up those knees soldier!” (he was a Marine)…or while doing squats, “lower, lower, lower…” and that gives us just the right amount of outside encouragement to push ourselves that much more. When we get to a cardio section, we often clap, sing, and dance to our favorite songs together. This is a real energy boost!
- There are many exercise routines that combine moves for partners specifically. Check out this post by ACE Fitness to begin including partner exercises in your fitness routine. Once you get the hang of it, there are so many more ideas for partner moves searchable on the Web. Dive in!
- Partnering in your fitness plan can help build trust and affection for one another. When your partner feels encouraged by you and that you have their safety and well being at the top of your mind, relationships can become stronger.
Benefits Of Eating Right With A Partner
We talk about food so much in our home now. What is working for us, what isn’t? What would be great to try? How can we replace naughty foods with something healthy we can enjoy? Having food be such a high topic of discussion keeps it fresh on our minds so we are always remembering that we want to eat right and feel good. Mindless eating can sabotage any fitness goals you may have set for yourself. Don’t do it. Think about it, plan it, prepare it, and eat it with your partner.
To add to our activities that defeat boredom in the Winter months, we have added dinner/date night to our weekend schedule. We search for and plan to create a wonderful, healthy meal with a few courses and cook it together while listening to music and enjoying some conversation. We set the table…yes, that’s right, we actually sit AT THE TABLE TOGETHER and eat this meal…and enjoy the fruits of our labor by candlelight.
Try it this Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart. Here’s an idea for a terrific meal you can enjoy with a 5 oz glass of Pino Noir (0% fat, 11% carbs, 89% protein) and a small piece of dark chocolate at the end.
Mince 1/2 tsp of garlic
Cut up 1 cup of fresh mushrooms, 1 cup green scallion, 1 cup sweet bell pepper
Pour 2 cups smooth organic marinara into a small sauce pan and heat until bubbling.Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 1 TBSP olive oil until hot, add minced garlic and a dash of pepper and cook until browned. Turn down to low and add zucchini. Let zucchini cook until hot, stirring occasionally to mix with garlic. You may need to add 1 TBSP water to keep it from burning. Use your judgment.
Pour zucchini onto your plates.
Replace pan and add 1/2 tsp olive oil and some pepper to taste. Add mushrooms, bell peppers and scallion. Heat and stir until slightly soft.
Pour vegetables over zucchini.
Pour marinara over zucchini and vegetables.
Top with a TBSP of shredded Parmesan cheese.
What Can We Do This Week To Begin A Partnership Of Fitness?
- This week, begin talking about the food you eat together and/or as a family. Discuss what alternatives you would like to try to incorporate into your meals to replace those foods you know are not healthy.
- Make a grocery list and get the foods you need to prepare a couple of healthy meals together this week.
- Plan a healthy meal and make it together. Sit down together and talk about your experience. What was fun, what wasn’t? What would you like to try or to do differently next time?
- Plan your next meal together while eating this one and follow through with intention.
- Discuss what type of physical activity you would like to do together this week and plan which days you will commit to it.
- Work out, walk, jog, ice skate, rock climb, hike, bicycle, swim, or whatever you determine is your activity of choice together at least twice this week. While you are doing it, talk about it, just like you did with your meals. Discuss what you like about it and how you would like to continue. (We tried running together because it sounded so appealing. I decided that, although I was the one who thought it would be great to do, I absolutely hated it.)
- Don’t continue to do activities you don’t enjoy. It will not serve you in a positive way to do this. Keep trying new things until you find a good fit.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week! And if you want to be sure to catch all of our posts, take a minute to connect with us. As always, feel free to share any thoughts on this topic in the comment section. Your contribution is appreciated and important!