Do you work out with your significant? I used to think that working out with my boyfriend was a bad idea. They say girls don't sweat, they glisten, but I unfortunately must have missed that part of the female genetic make up because I always look like I just got out of the shower after a run. He doesn't need to see that! Plus, if I decide to end the treadmill 5 minutes early, I don't want to be judged by the person I'm trying to impress.
But now, we have a trip planned to Machu Picchu and we need to get in shape. The elevation of Cusco is 11,000ft (twice as high as Denver!) and we'll be spending a fair amount of time hiking so we need our lungs and legs to be ready for the intense ascents.
So we have started working out together to prep for this trip. I stocked up on deodorant, bought a cute sports bra, and so far it's working out well! Actually, I'm more inclined to continue this health kick because he's doing it with me. No more cheating those last 5 minutes... he actually motivates me to push through it. As I feel myself getting stronger, I feel our relationship getting stronger too. You know what they say "Couples who work out together, stay (and get swoll) together."
Stay accountable. Honestly the best part about working our with your significant is the accountability. I'm one of those people who always needs a workout buddy. In the past I've sent "proof of workout" to friends through hideously sweaty photos so they know I actually went to the gym. But now, when I go home I have a positive reinforcement and someone to join me on a run. While I sometimes dread the words "wanna work out?" after a long day, I appreciate that Johnny keeps me accountable, and vice versa. We both feel responsible for keeping each other on track and it's all toward a common goal.
The key is not to nag - that's when you start to resent the person. We try to make it a "get to" not a "have to." If you can successfully get the hang of gently supporting one another to do something they might not be thrilled to do, your relationship is going to be significantly smoother - because suddenly asking for help to clean up the kitchen feels like you're working towards counter space that you can enjoy cooking on together.
Cook to be closer. Speaking of the kitchen, that's where Johnny and I spice up our relationship. (I know what you're thinking there - get your mind out of the gutter... we're talking cumin and paprika here!) A key piece to a healthy lifestyle is healthy eating. While working out affords you certain liberties with your diet (it takes one look at my Instagram feed to know that I love sweets), it's important to eat "in moderation." Still, people approach healthy eating differently - as in, donuts will never count.
As a couple, this can be hard. When two people have different eating habits, it can cause tension in the relationship. Maybe it's buying extra food, feeling badly that the meal wasn't satisfying to the other, or one person ends up eating alone because their meal was slower to make... That's why cooking is such a powerful thing to do together. You don't necessarily have to make the same thing, but time it right so that you can enjoy the act of doing something together and then share a meal to encourage conversation.
Johnny and I like to try new things in the kitchen. We pick a recipe together that neither of us has tried, but fits both our palates. Sometimes it turns out great, sometimes I over spice it because I have troubles following the directions (really, tbs and tsp look so much alike..), but the point is we are supporting each other's meal plan and doing something together that brings us closer to one another, no matter what the outcome.
Keep consistent. In every workout plan I've read, one of the key things they preach is consistency. Have a routine that keeps your muscles in action and allows the appropriate amount of time to rest.
While I love places like Orange Theory, Pure Barre and Crossfit, they aren't for everyone's budget, particularly if you're going as a couple. So try making your own work out plan for consistency. I am currently following BBJ. Not to be confused with the popular (and highly effective) work out BBG, BBJ is affectionately known as Body By Johnny. Started at Knoxville, TN with one of his best friends, Ben Wolf, this workout regiment consists of a lot of weights, two-a-days and protein. While I'm looking for more cardio and I don't want to exclusively eat ground turkey for the next month, I don't mind two-a-days and I do appreciate the schedule. So Johnny lifts weights while I run on the elliptical and then we do our abs and stretching together. It's not necessarily proven to work, but it is fun to build our own "program" and we both feel a sense of accomplishment after we finish.
Suns out guns out. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the last reason working out with your significant is a good idea. It's probably the most obvious... it's hot! Watching a guy lift weights or run without a shirt on, uh, yes please. Working out is one of those things that makes you look good, feel good, and can be good for your love life too. Working out increases blood flow to your body and increases endorphins that give you a sense of euphoria. But be cautious of working out too much; apparently it can do the opposite. You can literally workout too much to a point where your hormones deplete to a level that lowers your sex drive...So don't overtrain, but still enjoy that view from the treadmill while your boyfriend pumps iron in the corner.
So we have 4 weeks to get in shape for Machu Picchu. While it will be tempting to hang back with the alpacas at the base of the mountain, Johnny and I will take it one step at a time until we're ready to take on one of the 7 Wonders of the World - together.