When it comes to exercise, you either love it, hate it or flounder away somewhere in the middle.
My partner Stew and I yoyo between the two extremes. We work out, sure, but if there‘s an excuse to skip a HIIT class on a Thursday night in favour of a drink at our local, chances are we will take it.
Most of us know the benefits that working out on the regular has on your overall health and wellbeing. From reduced stress to a boosted immune system, and obviously keeping your body in check, it‘s pretty hard to miss the pros.
But scrolling through Instagram, wading through #Fitspo models and double tapping before-and-after transformations — there‘s been a rise in another way people are breaking a sweat.
Couples. Training. Together.
Browse your newsfeed and their smiling faces fill your screen pretty quickly.
From Anna Heinrich and Tim Robards, Michelle Bridges and Steve ‘Commando‘ Willis to Sam Woods and Snezana Markoski — it‘s a workout trend that many couples would rather avoid.
Now, it‘s pretty much common knowledge that working out is always a better thing to do with others. ‘Workout partners‘ can offer encouragement and, sometimes, they even help make things competitive, which can give us an extra push to work just a bit harder.
But what about actual workouts with your partner?
According to exercise psychologists, hitting the gym with your other half can work in one of two ways. It‘ll strengthen, or it‘ll sabotage.
More often than not, both partners will be at different fitness levels. And the same applies to their fitness goals. One might want to shred while the other is keen to bulk. Then there‘s the issue of what one finds enjoyable when working out. Perhaps your partner likes ‘boot camp‘ style workouts, while the other is more of a long distance runner.
“A lot of the time, people find they can train with their friends quite well, but sometimes with a partner you are emotionally invested and that can lead to frustration, especially if you are competitive like me,” personal trainer Justine Switalla told The Huffington Post Australia.
“For instance when I run with my husband, sometimes I‘m like ‘Damn you for being faster than me!‘ But he has been playing professional rugby his whole life and so there‘s no way I could ever out-run him.”
For Stew and I, we had a pretty similar goal in mind when it comes to working out. Shred for our Wed, and also take part (and actually finish) Sydney‘s City 2 Surf run at a similar pace.
Nike Head Run Coach Matty Abel was given the challenge of getting us to a similar speed.
By training us as part of our journey to City2Surf with the Nike We Fly team – also know as week after week, kilometre after kilometre of runs around Sydney — the workouts were not only to get us in shape, but enjoy ourselves while doing it.
But Mr Abel agreed with Switalla when it comes to training as a couple, and said it can work for some and not always for others.
“Sometimes different fitness levels may cause disagreements if the fitter partner is leading the training session,” Mr Abel told news.au.
“It all comes down to the individual‘s goals. If there is a big variance in abilities then yes it might be distracting and you‘ll need to decide when it‘s best to train together.
“For example, you can run together for the first few kilometres and for the last few, the stronger runner can do a speed run to the end. If you are both supportive of each other then training with your partner should only lift you up and not be a distraction.”
In the lead up ot the race, I‘ll be honest, the competitive a**hole in me really took a shining form. Not being a natural runner, it was hard for us to meet in the middle and run at the same speed as our pacer. I lagged, he‘d leap ahead and frustration (on my part) soon followed.
Within the first few kms, I was ignoring everything — and everyone — wanting to give me running advice.
Especially if it was coming from Stew.
“Competitiveness can often come out when couples train together,” Mr Abel said. “But this doesn‘t have to be a bad thing! You can use this to push each other forward and challenge yourselves to beat your personal bests.
“I definitely see couples training together as a positive and it absolutely increasing their chances of reaching their goals quicker.
“By having a partner on the same journey, with similar goals, it enhances the process as working as a team helps to motivate, inspire and keep each other accountable.”
Well, I guess we will see how ‘positive‘ our run is on Sunday — that‘s if we even make it to the finish line.