Life Partners Make Excellent Training Partners

Cupid has long been an honorary member of health clubs everywhere. So it shouldn't come as any surprise that those hit by his arrow would find great compatibility working out together.

"We can't always get together in the gym since we both work a lot during the week," said Skip George, a chiropractor from La Jolla, Calif. "But we often have a workout/date night Saturday nights."

George and his wife Camella get to the gym to work out two hours before it closes.

"I usually set structures, which Camella doesnt mind," George said. "Sometimes she will set an aerobic exercise since that is her expertise. What we do is work out for two hours, shower and then go out have a Saturday night date. It is a complete afternoon-into-evening affair where were fit, relaxed and at ease with each other. Well have a nice dinner and usually eat whatever we want. Thats our fun night. We might have a couple glasses of wine and even split a dessert."

The Georges are among a growing number of couples that are working out regularly together in gyms and health clubs across the United States. Brad Barker, assistant manager of Personalized Workout of La Jolla, has observed that growth firsthand, and has offered some interesting do's and don'ts for couples working out together.

"First of all, you can usually make a deal for a discount when you sign up as a couple," Barker said. "When you're working out with your partner it's obviously someone you want to spend time with."

"Its a good feeling," he says, "because you're showing your significant other that you care and that you're taking a vested interest in your time in their health and wellness. That's a type of affection."

"When he or she is having a good, positive 'up' day, maybe you can help motivate he or she if they aren't that psyched or motivated to go to the gym. And you help keep each other accountable. Motivation is the main dropout reason for people in health club situations," Barker continues. "If they don't have a workout buddy, their frequency starts to taper off over time.

If you have a spouse, this is somebody who you're going to work at trying to maintain your position in a favorable light in their perception ... You might lift that extra 10 pounds if your significant other is with you not necessarily to impress them but to get some motivation, some positive feedback to get some approval from them. People typically will work out harder when they are surrounded by their peers."

"That's why classes do so well," Barker noted: "If you had an exercise bike and you have to go 15 minutes, chances are people will stop at 12 or 10 or eight. But when youre in a class, you dont want to get off the bike before anybody else because you're kind of cheating, or flaking out on it. So that's motivating both consciously and unconsciously."

Barker also noted that husbands and wives usually work eight or nine hours a day.

"The bulk of the time they may spend with each other is sleeping," he said. "Working out together allows you to have some definite time two or three times a week. You have a definite appointment for each other, and thats important."

Barker believes that somebody who cares about you will tell you brutally honestly about your workout and if they're honest with you, they'll tell you when you're kind of slacking off."

Barker feels that couples who workout together may be better in tune for an active vacation.

Instead of having a usual romantic hike, a couple on vacation might like to take on a challenging level 4 or level 5 trail hike with hiking bound and ascending gear. You'll have more increased zest for life and you'll be training together for a reason, there's a purpose to your training.

Barker acknowledges that there are more do's than don'ts when it comes to couples working out. But the don'ts are important to remember, too.

You certainly don't want to judge your partner too harshly; you'll kill their motivation, Barker said. You never want to talk down to them. You never want there to be a dominant or submissive role or class system because that will create problems in the gym that you will take home.

You don't want to have any real competitiveness between the partners," Barker said. You never want to tell your spouse or significant other that they haven't been training. You want to have positive reinforcement, not negative reinforcement in regards to the gym.

"Never try to overtrain yourself to impress your spouse because it could result in injury," Barker added. "You don't want to train your partner unless you're completely educated because not only could you injure yourself, but you could injure your partner and then become responsible and accountable." Barker said yoga is a good class for couples to take because its flexible and very passive.

"It's a great stress alleviator," he said. "Some yoga practitioners will tell you it balances them and centers them. And when you are at peace at harmony with yourself, you're more often at peace and harmony with each other."


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