Be My Fitness Valentine

I am thrilled to report that my husband has registered for his first triathlon. One morning, out of the blue, he announced, “I’m going to do a tri this year.” So we found an event that features sprint and Olympic races on different days (someone has to watch the kids), and we both registered. I bought him Your First Triathlon by Joe Friel, the book that guided me through my first race. I think he’s got a bit of a head start on understanding race day, having been through the process with me, but nothing compares to doing it yourself.

Which brings me to the question, just in time for Valentine’s Day: Do you exercise with your sweetie?

He Loves Me

There are plenty of reasons to work out with your significant other. Here are a few.

Shared Interest: Life has that tendency to pull you apart, even the good things like kids, work, and other hobbies. Exercise can bring you together. It could be sharing a common goal (that race) or a common enemy (that instructor who tried to kill you during today’s class), or just having a few extra minutes together during your hectic day. Plus, talking shop about your workout plans could be a nice break from the day-to-day banter about the kids and work.

Accountability: As I’ve discussed before, a running buddy can help get you out the door when you might otherwise press snooze. A live-in running buddy could give you that extra push. Plus, if you’re both spending the family’s dollars on race registrations and gym memberships, you should be twice as likely to see it through to the finish line.

Sense of Accomplishment: I love working together with my husband. We’ve been together since college, so we have a long history of class projects, vacation planning, purchasing cars and houses, tag-teaming on raising munchkins, and working toward all kinds of other goals. There is nothing like sharing your achievements with your best friend.

He Loves Me Not

If Cupid hasn’t shot an exercise arrow into your relationship, there are also some good reasons not to exercise with your sweetie.

Me Time: In even the best relationships, both of you can use some time apart. My exercise time is the only time of day when no one has any expectations of me, when I can clear my head and recharge. If this is the case for you, solo exercise might be the better option for you.

Different Fitness Levels: When my husband and I were dating, he would talk me into running with him. I was not a runner at that point, and he was not so far removed from his teenage years as a cross-country runner. We were incompatible, at least on the pavement. Being at disparate fitness levels shouldn’t dissuade you. In fact, it might help you challenge each other. On the other hand, it might lead to frustration.

Not in Front of the Children: If you really want to work out together, you might look into gyms with child care, picking up a jog stroller on Craigslist, or exercising at a park, or even your basement, where you can keep and eye on the munchkins while you work out. But if you have small kids, exercise as a couple just might not be feasible. If balancing kids and fitness as a couple is too much to juggle right now, put it on hold for a few years.

We Love Us

What if you want to work toward a common fitness goal, but don’t have the bandwidth or inclination to train together? There’s the middle ground of training for the same event or goal, without training together. Mark your calendar and go for it.

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