Whether or not our loved ones join us at the gym, they are the ultimate training partners. They take on many different roles to support us: from cheerleader, motivational coach and confidence booster to taskmaster, grill master, trainer and babysitter. Having our partners’ support enables our long-term fitness success and makes the journey a much happier one.
From my experiences and from speaking with other fit women on this topic, I can say with confidence that most partners love helping us to reach our fitness goals. However, supporting this or any other big goal can wear on them over time and eventually lead to resentment if we are not careful. This usually occurs when we allow the love of fitness to crowd out our loved one. Specifically, we pursue our goals with such focus and ferocity that we lose sight of our partners’ needs and take their support and sacrifices for granted. We usually don’t even realize we’re doing it.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, let’s take time to account for how much our partners do to support our fitness journeys and make it a habit of showing them our appreciation and love today and every day. It will fuel them, and in turn, they will continue to fuel you.
Here are a few of my tips for creating and maintaining a supportive partner:
Show Appreciation. Whether it’s a small gesture or big display, appreciation goes a long way. This weekend, I gave a seminar on this topic to 150 competitive athletes at Bombshell Super Camp. It’s only been a few days since the presentation, and I’ve already received numerous reports on how simple acts of appreciation (see below) have increased their partners’ support. As an aside, keeping an attitude of gratitude not only benefits your partner, but it also keeps you in a positive, empowered mindset— a key to a happy and successful life.
A Few Ideas: Write a Valentine’s love letter, send an unexpected thank you text, call for no other reason but to say “thank you,” shout out your gratitude to the world through Facebook or simply make it a habit of saying thank you daily.
Unplug and Connect. Make the most of the limited time you have together by unplugging from technology and focusing on your partner. (I unplug each night around 7:30 p.m.) Use this time to catch up and connect rather than to sit on opposite sides of the couch on your phones or computers. Quality time together will make your partners feel important and keep them from feeling resentful of the time you spend at the gym, etc.
Tips For Your Quality Time:
- Try to avoid talking about fitness the whole time, and engage with them on other topics they enjoy.
- Don’t forget to encourage them on their goals and let them know how proud you are of their pursuits.
- Every once in a while, ditch the sweatpants and sweaty ponytail and get dolled up.
- Join them for a meal out, even if you can’t indulge. You can bring your food or just be good company.
Fitness Together. Try finding a fit activity that you can enjoy together from time to time. This will help make fitness a point of connection for your relationship. For instance, my husband will join me for cardio or plyometrics. Sometimes, we just walk and talk. Other times, we up the intensity and fun by making the cardio competitive. For instance, we race our sprints, stadiums and runs. Or, we see who can complete more high jumps or jump lunges in a time interval.
One of our favorite fitness together activities is a track/stadium workout. Here is a sample workout you can try with your love:
- Warm-up: ¼ mile jog, then stretch
- 10 x 100-meter sprints (1 minute recovery in between)
- Recovery: ¼ mile jog
- 8 x stadium steps interval: sprint to the top of the stadium, jog down, 20 high jumps, 20 jump lunges, rest 15 seconds
- Cool-down: ¼ mile jog
If you partner is not interested in training or prefers to work out alone, no need to push the issue. There are so many ways for our partners to get involved in our journeys. It wasn’t until recently that my husband and I started occasionally training together. However, ever since my fitness journey began, Sunday has been our food prep date. We make it fun instead of a drag by trying to come up with creative, clean ways to prep our standard fare.
Push Toward Your Best
Choosing to live fit is a powerful act of self-love. However, over time, we can lose sight of why we began our journey, and occasionally adopt the have to rather than want to mindset. From experience, a have to mindset will deplete your motivation and negatively impact your attitude toward yourself and your partner. Thus, take a moment to write down why you are on this fitness journey. The more connected you are to the why, the more days you will reflect a winning attitude that will inspire your daily efforts and everyone around you, including your partner.
Keep pushing— your best is waiting.