In most articles about how to get motivated to work out, one of the suggestions is to get a gym partner.
Now, one of the awesome perks of being in a committed relationship with a gym rat is having a built in gym buddy. You have someone to take photos and videos of you, and motivate you.
But, how do you work out together well enough to become couple workout goals?
A Bit of Background
We haven’t been working out together forever.
Evan has been weightlifting since high school, but took a break in the military. The Marine Corps assigns all sorts of fun exercise activities like running around hills in the dark to find cones and boxes and carrying people up said hills.
I did not have to endure any of that, so I had the energy to consistently work out for about four years. We started working out together a couple months ago. Before we began gymming together, we used run. But once we started trying to bulk up, we cut out cardio, which did not bother me at all. Cardio is not fun for me. I’m really going to be challenged when we start cutting. Eep.
Previously we have worked out with friends, but obviously the dynamic is a bit different. When we were able to go to the same gym, it was easy to get started. Over the past few months we’ve figured out how to work out together even more smoothly. If you want tips on how to start working out in general, check out this post
So, here are some do’s and don’ts on how to work out with your significant other.
Do give and take constructive criticism
Ok, so this one is probably the hardest one for me.
I do not like being criticized ever, even when I’m making a fool of myself by looking like I’m trying to do the robot instead of tricep kickbacks. Evan, fearless as he is, still continues to give me constructive criticism because he
a. doesn’t want me to look like an idiot,
b. doesn’t want me to get hurt, and
c. knows I will listen even though I’ll be grumpy about it for a bit.
I’m not saying to critique them on everything, but if there is something they need to adjust, don’t be afraid to nicely let them know. For instance, Evan used to hold the barbell diagonally while squatting. I told him and he took the comment a lot better than I would have. Sometimes correcting form improves safety.
Do motivate each other
I, like everyone, have days where I do not want to go to the gym. Like the thought of crunches makes me want to crawl back in bed.
If I’m in a decent mood, Evan will drag me to the gym and we’ll get through the workout successfully. Sometimes you just need that extra external push to get up and go work out.
Do spot each other
I mean, they’re there, so why not get them to help you reach a new PR? Or save you from getting squished…which happens. Yeah spotting is a thing people generally do when they have a gym partner. Probably didn’t even need to put this on the list.
Do similar work outs
We follow the exact same workouts because it’s easier for us. This isn’t necessary, but it is helpful to be working near each other or the same muscle group. Sometimes we’ll do different exercises, but in general we have the same goals and routines. It just makes it simpler. We haven’t done any of the couple workouts from Pinterest or Instagram, but that is also an option for working out together.
While I know not every couple shares the same fitness aspirations, spotting and giving feedback is easier when in close proximity and focusing on the same thing, even if your exercises are different.
Do take advantage of competitiveness
If you are always trying to beat each other in pool or bowling (like us), it can be beneficial to bring that competition to the gym. We are probably one of the most competitive couples we know.
Granted, we don’t know a lot of couples, so that helps.
We use our competitiveness to push ourselves harder. If he goes up in weight, I go up and vice versa. We know our limits pretty well, so we don’t compromise safety for heavier weights.
Sidenote: this doesn’t mean that you should take it so seriously you get butthurt if your partner is stronger than you. In the end, we’re all just competing with ourselves to improve.
Don’t be condescending
Odds are you and your significant other have been working out or doing particular exercises for different lengths of time. I do suggest giving constructive criticism, but don’t be rude about it or act like you know it all.
Evan has been working out longer than me, but gives me useful suggestions without mansplaining. I have received unwarranted advice about lifting from other people and it just annoys me.
Unless you want to frustrate your partner, do not treat them like they don’t know anything about exercising.
Don’t engage in PDA
We’ve all seen it when we go to the gym. There’s an annoying couple all over each other.
Don’t be them.
More PDA does not equal more couple goals. When you’re super in love you just want to express affection all the time. I know this because we’re basically like that 24/7. I won’t lie. Sometimes I kiss Evan at the gym (shock! horror!). But most of the time we’re both sweaty and really do not want to touch each other. Holding hands is definitely a no for us. That’s one of the drawbacks of choosing to work out together. You see each other feeling gross a lot.
In general, avoiding gym PDA seems to be a common courtesy thing most people follow, but not everyone does.
At an old apartment gym, there was this couple that used to grab or push each other while they were lifting weights. Besides being obnoxious, that just isn’t safe.
Don’t use each other an excuse
As described in the “Do’s” section, we don’t always want to work out. When that happens we either suck it up and work out or give in and stay home. If your significant other just isn’t feeling up to it and doesn’t go to the gym, but you don’t have a reason not to go, then go. You don’t always have to work out together.
I have observed instances where one person doesn’t work out and so the other one avoids it too. Then it becomes a cycle and soon neither of them are going to the gym just because they keep using each other as excuses not to go.
And there you have it. These are just points we’ve found useful to work out together.
Who do you like working out with? What helps you have an effective workout with your partner?