It’s safe to say fitness is a huge part of any trainer’s life. Not only is it their job to help other people get into their best shape, but it’s also generally part of their lifestyle to put working out somewhere near the top of their priority lists. But, like anyone else, they’ve got personal lives, too, and those very often include a significant other.
While the average exerciser might think it sounds fun to work out with their partner, it’s not always clear what types of workouts are most conducive to relationship bonding. Luckily, fitness pros are full of helpful suggestions and insight on this topic, since, for many of them, working out with their partner is just a normal part of everyday life.
Here, we break down how some of the industry’s top trainers get their sweat on with their partners, plus how it strengthens their relationships — and even enhances their workouts.
EMBRACING HEALTHY COMPETITION
The Trainer: Kira Stokes, celebrity trainer, creator of The Stoked Method
The Workout: “It’s pretty clear from my Instagram that my husband Gary and I have a wonderfully unique workout relationship,” Stokes says. “He is definitely the most supportive husband one could ask for in terms of aiding and abetting my 24/7 fit lifestyle, from driving to find me on my run to deliver water and humor-infused encouragement to cheering me on during my driveway sweat sessions to shooting 90% of my content for social media.”
Of course, her husband is a natural athlete himself, which makes for some very lively competition when she’s coming up with new workout moves. “I don’t push him to try them, but moments later I’ll see him going about his business having implemented them into his routine, often times in his own style using, for example, cases of beer instead of traditional weights. He takes my ‘no excuses, the gym is everywhere’ mantra to heart.”
The Benefits: Kira and Gary feed off each other’s energy to keep things balanced. “I take my profession and passion seriously, and Gary helps me keep it light and fun,” Stokes says. “We both understand and appreciate what a gift it is to be able to move and challenge our bodies daily, together. The amount of laughter we accrue may be equal to the amount of sweat, which could likely be as responsible for my abs as the hard work, reps and sets!”
TRYING NEW THINGS TOGETHER
The Trainer: Shana Verstegen, fitness director at Supreme Health and Fitness
The Workout: “Personally, we love trying new things together,” Verstegen says. “Some of our famous fitness ‘dates’ have included PoundFit, Zumba, rock climbing, log rolling and trampoline fitness.”
The Benefits: “It takes some of the ‘wow I feel stupid’ out of it, and we enjoy laughing at ourselves and each other,” Verstegen explains. To try this for yourself, she suggests looking at the fitness schedule at your health club, picking a class neither you nor your partner have ever tried, and going for it! “Groupon is also a great place to locate fun, new activities at a low cost. Beforehand, make a deal to not get competitive and always support each other. Being playful is one thing but making the other feel bad can be detrimental to the relationship. Just have fun and sweat!”
TAG-TEAMING CARDIO AND WEIGHTS
The Trainer: Brian St. Pierre, RD, Director of Performance Nutrition at Precision Nutrition
The Workout: “My wife and I train in our home gym in our basement,” St. Pierre says. Space is limited, so they have to be strategic about planning and programming. “With this in mind, we train together in a complementary fashion, one of us doing resistance training while the other does conditioning work. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings I lift for about 45 minutes while my wife does conditioning work, usually on the treadmill. On Tuesday and Thursday, I do conditioning work of varying types for 20–30 minutes (HIIT on our Airdyne, running on the treadmill, etc.) while my wife does resistance training.” Talk about teamwork, right?
The Benefit: The efficiency of this strategy is key, especially since St. Pierre and his wife complete their workouts in the early morning, before their kids wake up. “We’ve found this setup works best, allows us to train together but not be in each other’s way and makes it easier to program our resistance training so we didn’t spend as much time switching plates or borrowing each other’s equipment,” St. Pierre says.
A SHARED LOVE OF BOXING
The Trainer: Rob Kellner, head coach at Prevail Boxing
The Workout: “As a boxing coach, I enjoy working focus mitts with my girlfriend,” Kellner says. “We met each other in the fitness boxing community, so we both share a love for the sport and overall wellness. She’s the perfect person for me to test drive new mitting combinations with, and she’ll also hold mitts for me so I can get a sense of the flow for myself. In addition to it being amazing physical workout, you’re pushing your endurance while working technique, speed, accuracy and power.”
The Benefits: “Mitt work is also a solid mental workout, so it keeps us in sync as a couple,” Kellner explains. “We like to cool down from mitts with a 10-minute partner ab workout, using a 10-pound medicine ball.” As for why working out as a pair is so fun, he says: “Couples who work out together stay sane together!”
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I GO, YOU GO INTERVALS
The Trainer: Brian Nguyen, CEO of Elementally Strong
The Workout: “Working out with my significant other is such an important part of our relationship, as we consider it our ‘trust tree’ time,” Nguyen says. As for workout style, “we do this ‘I go, you go’ type of interval workout, where we take turns picking the exercise and the other must oblige. This give-and-take energy is an amazing practice of human connection and belonging. We hold bands for each other, play catch with the medicine balls and set the bar for each other in the spirit of challenge and competition.”
The Benefits: According to Nguyen, the gym can be a great place to work out any little bits of tension. “When my girl is upset with me, I can expect to do more jump squats because she knows I hate them.” But most of the time, it’s all fun and games. “We play and laugh and cuss at each other in light and love. And when the session is over, our bond is strengthened as we high-five and embrace in victory.”
APPRECIATING UNIQUE ABILITIES
The Workout: This fit couple loves doing CrossFit workouts together. “They’re are great because you can always scale them down and create a bit of competition. For example, in a workout that would entail 21-15-9 wall balls, assault bike calories and dumbbell snatches, I would do the wall balls with a 14-pound ball and Mat would do 20 pounds. I would do the assault bike for 5 fewer calories than Mat and for the snatches, I would also do less weight.” That way, they can still be a little competitive about seeing who finishes the workout first, while still taking into account each other’s unique abilities.
The Benefits: “Mat and I work out together a lot,” Mitrea says. “We love to push and motivate each other, because we get better results in a workout when we’re there for each other.”