couple’s fitness

When Workouts Cause Conflict

On yesterday’s post about couple’s fitness, Carbzilla asked:

“This is such a great post and excellent timing because I was going to ask you if Michael ever got jealous of your gym time (but then that seemed kinda personal).”

It’s an excellent question! I asked Michael if it was too personal and he said no.

When I first started trying to lose the weight, I lived alone and I wasn’t seeing anyone at the time. My time was mine and I could spend it any way I wanted–one of the perks of being a single gal. πŸ˜‰ I had a lot of free time so after work I started swimming or using the small gym at the community center. My hard work paid off and I lost weight.

Well what happened when I met Michael?

I’d lost about 80 pounds when I met him. I had 20 or so to go and he was very supportive of my goals. At the same time my time was suddenly not all mine. Suddenly there was someone in my life that demanded attention. When I say “demanded attention” it’s not a bad thing. Relationships take hard work on both sides and we MUST make time for each other while balancing our own hobbies and goals. That is definitely something that Michael and I see eye to eye on.

So here I was, a no longer single gal, that suddenly had to figure out how to balance my time in a smart way. I fell in love with this guy:

And I WANTED to spend time with him. Lots of time! He wanted to spend time with me. I would go to the pool right after work, then go over to Michael’s house and eat dinner, spend the night. Or after I worked out at the gym, he’d come over to my house for dinner. That’s how our relationship was for a long time.

As our relationship progressed that time was eventually every day. Weekends were hard because Sundays were always one of my designated swim days. I had a strong desire to get to the pool, but I was conflicted about not spending every moment available with him.

There were times it caused conflict. I remember many Sundays when Michael would try to entice me to skip the pool and stay at his place watching movies… But for the most part Michael has ALWAYS been supportive of me and my goals. He knows how important fitness is to me.

After we moved in together it got much easier to balance everything in our lives. On the weekends I workout in the mornings so he’ll go golfing with friends and when I get back we do things together. Or, like I wrote about yesterday, we workout together by going for a bike ride or hike.

When it comes to Races, Michael’s been supportive for the most part. My first race he was supportive. My second race, he was not.

Shamrock 8k 2010

He fully admits that he was not into it, he didn’t want to go downtown in the freezing cold and stand there while I ran for an hour. He was cranky, I felt his crankiness as we drove downtown–I was nervous about my race and wanted him to be supportive instead of miserable. Once the race started, Michael says that he got pumped up. The energy of so many people running was contagious. He got excited about seeing the fast runners cross the finish line so soon and when I crossed the finish line I saw a big smile on his face! AND when he experienced the excitement as a racer himself (Reach the Beach) his opinion completely changed. When Hood to Coast came around he was my #1 Fan. πŸ™‚

Hood to Coast 2010

Once in awhile my workout schedule can cause conflicts in our relationship. For example, if I’m starting to get sick (like I am now) I tend to listen to my body before I just cancel a workout. If I’m feeling okay, I will still workout. This often frustrates Michael. He wants me to take it easy, stay in bed, not push myself. I know that he’s just worried about my health. I just want to listen to my body. It TELLS me when I’m too sick to workout.

I think that we have a good relationship balance. We each spend time with friends, we spend time together, I get to workout whenever I feel like it, but we compromise often to make sure we’re both happy. I can’t say that there will never be another conflict but I think we handle it well.

QUESTION: Does your fitness routine ever cause conflict in your relationship? How do you handle it and how do you balance your relationship time with your personal/workout time?

Sharing Fitness with the Love of Your Life

One of the things missing from Hood to Coast (for me) was Michael.

After my second leg I had a lot of downtime. I was an emotional wreck. I’d been up for 26 hours and I’d run almost 12 miles (the most in one day I’ve ever done) and I felt so utterly alone. I didn’t know any of the people in my van. I was not friends with them, they all knew each other. I felt very sad. I called Michael to hear his voice and he talked to me and tried to cheer me up. It was a really hard experience.

Hood to Coast was MY challenge. It was MY experience. And despite it being a team activity, I was alone. That really opened my eyes to what I want out of these endurance challenges. I want someone by my side to support me and experience those things with me.

I read a great article from called “Keys to Running With (and Not Away from) Your Spouse”. I wish that Michael was a runner but he’s not and he has no desire to try. I’ve made peace with that. Running is mine. It’s my challenge and I’m okay with doing it by myself.

So what if you want to share your fitness with your partner? My advice: pick something both of you enjoy.

When I first met Michael he said he hated hiking. I thought, “Hm. Who hates hiking? And do I want to be with someone that hates it?!” I’m glad I decided “yes” because guess what? I managed to convert him to loving hiking.

Our First Hike

That picture was taken on our very first hike together. He complained the whole time, saying “Hiking is hard” and “My feet hurt.” But it only took that one hike to convince him that hiking was something fun that we could do together. Not only that, hiking is GOOD EXERCISE!

Rattlesnake Ridge

Since that first hike together we’ve been hiking ever since. Converted. πŸ™‚ Hiking is something fun that we can do together. See new sights, exercise, and explore places we’ve never been. The best news: there’s always hiking nearby.

Michael loves riding his bike. When we first started dating he was building up his endurance on the bike so he could bike commute to work. It had been probably 5 years since I’d been on my bike. In the spirit of learning something he loved, I started bike riding.

Biking in Hood River

Guess what happened? I loved it too! We started taking our bikes on vacations with us, seeing the sights on two wheels.

Then we got a hair-brained idea to participate in a group biking adventure.

Reach the Beach 2010

Training with someone for an event is pretty awesome. It’s nice being able to spend the time together and work towards a mutual goal. It was definitely a relationship booster.

We went for all day training rides every weekend in preparation for Reach the Beach. It was grueling. I hadn’t really experienced intense training before. I had my struggles: my entire body being sore, crashing my bike, getting a flat tire, totally “bonking” during a bike ride and wanting to quit. Michael was my cheerleader and I was his. He kept me going, he told me to not be a baby because I CAN do this.

Crossing the finish line with the love of my life was such an amazing feeling!

Working towards a common goal like Reach the Beach together created a deeper bond in our relationship, I think. And it also gave us stories to share!

Couple’s fitness doesn’t have to always be “Epic” either. Simply going for a walk every night after dinner together, or taking up something like tennis on the weekends is an excellent way to share the experiences.

Doing an activity like hiking or walking together also creates time to talk. It doesn’t have to be about intense topics or heavy “relationship” stuff. When Michael and I hike, he’d tell me stories about Mixed Martial Arts and sports, childhood memories…I’d tell him some of my memories, discuss vacation ideas, plan our next adventure.

Last winter I was happy to share my love of snowshoeing with Michael!

Bend 2010

It’s such a fun experience AND a freakin’ hard workout! He had a great time and now we’re looking forward to snowshoeing again this winter.

Sharing a healthy lifestyle has so many benefits. Besides the above mentioned benefits, it also creates a support system. If one partner isn’t feeling motivated, the other partner can give them that push. Often times the only push someone needs is for someone to say “Put your shoes on, we’re going for a walk.”

QUESTION: Do you share any form of fitness with your significant other? What benefits have you experienced?