We all know that having someone else around makes the pressure to follow through with a workout greater. If you enlist an exercise buddy, you make plans with them and you find yourself more obligated to follow through, rather than constantly break plans. Same can be said for your significant other. In fact, one man swears by it.
"I proposed to Jen, a one-time runner and yoga nut who had largely abandoned those pursuits to sit around with me. With our upcoming nuptials, the threat of shame finally loomed large: If we didn’t shape up and sharpen our softening bodies, we’d be gathering our loved ones together for a display of our shortcomings," writer Jason Feifer noted in a Men's Fitness article.
The two then made a pact to sweat it out side by side and get the bodies they desired, nothing that if one wanted to quit, the other would no doubt lay on the guilt. The couple's trainer, Derek Peruo, C.S.C.S., of Peak Performance in Manhattan, knew the two were onto something and encouraged their teamwork. “By working out as a couple, you can face the challenge together through positive reinforcement," he said.
Feifer found a series of secrets that he wanted to share regarding the importance of couples working out together.
#1: Do everything together
"I’d forgotten what I hated most about the gym: other people. I’d always felt them snickering at the small pile of iron I hefted, and here they were again, the same clubby meathead types, eyes all afire as they attacked their workouts with vein-popping intensity. Jen and I plowed ahead, matching our pace like two synchronized swimmers. It wasn’t long before a strange, surprising calm grew within me: When we were both doing a move, it looked intentional. It looked correct.
I scanned the room and saw everyone around us differently: They looked at us, yes, but also at everything else, their gazes meandering the way people’s normally do. And many of them appeared exhausted. These weren't gym rats. Their faces weren't contorted in lift-to-failure ecstasy. They were normal people with healthy resolutions. They were other versions of us."
#2: Let her lead the way
"Strength training feels like a challenge, which keeps me interested. But stretching? It's slow and boring and I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything. I wanted to skip it entirely. Jen loves stretching, though, or at least loves her own version of it. Because we agreed to do everything together, this meant I couldn’t just leave her to salute the sun while I hit the weights. I had to stick around.
That very well may have saved my butt, says Peruo. A dynamic warmup primes your body for action. It improves your range of motion, jumpstarts your central nervous system, and boosts bloodflow to your muscles, enhancing performance and reducing your risk of injury. Of course, the benefits are all in your approach. I treated each stretch as a challenge because that’s what I enjoyed most about weightlifting. If a stretch hurt, I’d take it slowly and see improvements in a matter of days."
#3: Give constant feedback
"One day Jen looked at me in the middle of a split squat and asked, 'Are we doing this right?' I shrugged. We’d been doing it that way for weeks—a step sideways and then a dip. But I looked it up on my smartphone anyway. Sure enough, we’d been doing it totally wrong. The exercise begins in a staggered stance from which you lower your body until your back leg’s knee nearly touches the floor.Peruo had shown us how to do this move, and we’d forgotten his instructions almost instantly. It was a reminder of the danger of couples’ workouts: You can become an echo chamber for each other's mistakes.
'The best thing about working out with a partner is the feedback,' Peruo said. 'Verbal feedback is great, but give physical feedback too.'"
#4: Pace each other
"Peruo built rest periods—typically 60 seconds between sets—into our program. But like many men, I’m impatient: I wanted to power through each exercise and move on to the next. Bad idea, says Peruo: 'Rest is the unsung hero of training. You can make a lot of gains and see a lot of good results if you have proper rest periods in place.'
If you skip your rest or cut it short, you can become so fatigued that you abandon proper form, setting yourself up for injury. If you make a habit of going too hard, you can succumb to overtraining syndrome—otherwise known as a plateau, where gains dwindle and exhaustion is chronic. Jen was far more responsible, so Peruo suggested I follow her lead. 'While she does an exercise, you watch,' he said. 'Then switch.' The result was a perfectly timed rest period that kept the workout moving forward. I soon found that it came with an unintended benefit: For the first time ever, I could watch a woman exercise without leering. Trust me, that’ll keep you plenty occupied for 60 seconds.
Do you like to exercise with your significant other?
Source: Men's Health