“I didn’t realise you had a boyfriend!”, a work friend said to me the other day. “I’ve never seen him on your Instagram”.
With my Instagram being almost entirely fitness-focused, it’s no surprise my boyfriend doesn’t feature on there – despite being together for over 7 years, we don’t train together. Sure, he enjoys going to the gym and keeping active, but because of our personalities our joint training sessions can often lead to frustration.
Valentine’s Day seemed a good a day as any to address this. Do couples who train together stay together? What if you don’t? What if your other half doesn’t train at all?
Does Training Together Strengthen A Relationship?
There’s many arguments to say yes, the couple that trains together stays together. According to numerous studies, couples who train together can feel more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner. The feelings you experience from exercising also mimic how you feel around someone you love – like a raised heartrate and heavy breathing – and you can easily confuse these two feelings.
Fitness blogger Amy and her boyfriend Anthony are a great example of a couple who train together, and even inspired me to ask Chris to come along to the Magna Pass event, which showcased four different classes from their ever-expanding timetable – animal movement, spinning, HIIT and yoga. I was so happy he said yes, especially considering all of the classes were new to him, so I gave him space and didn’t pressure him into doing things he didn’t want to. Yes, we enjoyed our time training together and yes, we felt closer at the end of the day. However, it took compromise from both sides, and working out together doesn’t always go as well as this…
What If You Don’t Want To Train Together?
Despite being similar in a lot of ways, Chris and I are very different when it comes to exercise. He likes to stay in his comfort zone and stick to a routine; I like trying new things and find routine dull. I like to be at the front of the class, studying coach’s every movement; he prefers to hide away at the back, so nobody else sees him move. He runs faster than I do, so when we run together he’s doing rings around me.
We’ve tried to train together, but you can see why we might get frustrated. We just want different things.
That’s why I like going to CrossFit, or trying a new fitness class, then coming home to Chris to tell him about all the crazy stuff coach made us do or anything I’m proud of trying. Similarly, he’ll tell me of new strength gains, and lately, it’s been indoor rowing PBs he’s been excited about. The fact that you can go out and do your own thing then come home and bond over feelings of mutual pride can arguably make a relationship as strong as spending all your time together.
What If Your Other Half Doesn’t Train At All?
This is their choice. If you meet somebody new who isn’t into fitness, don’t dismiss them just because they’re not into training – you could have so much in common that doesn’t involve going to the gym. Conversely, don’t get together with somebody new then spend all your time nagging them to workout with you! People start training at different points in their lives and for different reasons, and if someone feels like they’ve been forced into it then that’s not great motivation for long-term fitness.
Show your excitement and passion for training, of course – just don’t expect your other half to always be interested in the exact same things you are. Chris and I initially got together through a love of food, travel, books and films, which remains a constant in our relationship, though we’ve each had different hobbies and interests over the years.
Do What Makes You Both Happy
This is never going to be a blog about relationships, and I certainly don’t profess to be all-knowing about love, but what I will say is this: don’t compare your relationship to anyone else’s. I’m good with the fact that my boyfriend and I will never be Instagram’s next big fit couple, because it means my relationship is healthier.
You might see couples happily training together on Instagram, but that doesn’t mean your relationship is any less if you train separately – or don’t train at all. If you have the same goals and work well together, that’s awesome too, just remember you don’t have to force it because of what you saw on social media.