At seven weeks post New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day is a timely check-in point to assess your progress on your annual resolutions. Statistics show that an overwhelming percentage of people give up on their resolutions within the first six to eight weeks. Because many resolutions are centered on exercise, now is an ideal time to rededicate yourself by trying a partner workout.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, working out with your partner actually is a great way to stick to your fitness routine. Despite potential hurdles, such as different preferences or non-aligned schedules, working out with your significant other has multiple benefits, including:
- Increased motivation and adherence
- Tendency to work harder and longer
- Healthy competition
- Built-in couple time
- Greater relationship satisfaction
If you crave the solitude or “me time” that solo workouts afford, you don’t have to make every session a couple’s workout. Schedule some regular workout days/times with your partner, and then relish a few on your own as well.
Conversely, if you need help to maintain consistent sweat sessions, capitalize on the accountability that partner regimens deliver. To make partner workout programs successful, be sure to schedule them in advance, with both partners blocking out time on their calendars and committing to the plan. Obviously, partner workouts are quickly derailed if one person forgets, cancels or quits.
When you are working out with a partner, you can do virtually any activity or exercise you would do alone. While it’s beneficial to enjoy communication time during the workout, if you both like to swim laps, then do that! You still benefit, and you can chat on your way to and from the pool.
Also bear in mind that with partner workouts, you may have to compromise occasionally. If you aren’t athletic, then you shouldn’t have to shoot hoops; and if your partner can’t dance, then don’t drag him to Zumba. You may have to instead hit a cycling class that is acceptable to both of you.
Lots of options exist for workouts for two; here are some ideas to get you started:
- Running or walking – This is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, provided that you can maintain the same pace. Incorporating intervals can satisfy both a faster and slower pace; or you can work at your own speed on a track – encouraging each other as you pass, at water breaks and on the way to and from the track.
- Cycling – Hitting the road on your bike generally is an easier way to maintain equal paces and stay together. Alternate who gets to choose the route and lead the ride.
- Group exercise class – Try yoga or Tabata or a strength class together for a fun shared experience.
- Circuit workouts – Set up your home gym in stations, and follow each other through each one for a set period of time. For example, you do the elliptical while your partner does squats; then you move to squats and he goes to jump rope; and so on. Repeat your circuit several times for a complete workout.
- Work with a trainer – Hire a trainer for a few sessions to establish routines that you can follow outside, at home or at the gym. Keep track of these regimens so you can follow them with your partner after your trainer-led sessions are over.
- Sports – If you play tennis, golf or pickleball, now you have a built-in opponent to stoke your competitive juices. Or join a local softball or volleyball league and enjoy being teammates! Or sign up for a local race and train with a running club.