While we all love to enjoy a lazy Saturday morning with our significant other (SO), scheduling regular doubles workout sessions can be a great way to mix up your usual gym routine. Whether you're lifting side-by-side or trying a couples workout, exercising with your SO may be exactly what you need to get over a plateau.
However, although training with your special someone can be a great quality time activity, it's not for everyone. Before you walk into a couple's training session, consider these critical mistakes — and what to do instead.
1. Doing the Same Thing You Usually Do
Stuck in a rut? Don't hesitate to try new exercises or fitness classes. Working out with your partner is a great opportunity to wander out of your usual routine, says Remy Park, certified yoga instructor and holistic nutritionist. Finding someone that enjoys to work out exactly the same way that you do is rare. Be open minded and willing to try new things.
"It's a relationship, and relationships are about give and take sometimes," Park says. "If that means you go to a yoga session every once in a while even if you hate it, doing it once in a while won't kill you — in fact, it will probably help with your mobility."
Trying new workout classes is another great opportunity to get some exercise with your sweetheart, says Alex Silver-Fagan, Nike Master Trainer. "Broaden your fitness horizon and try a class together, even if it's your SO's favorite and not yours," she says. "They'll appreciate that you tried something that they enjoy." Not to mention, it's a great opportunity to get in a good cross-training session.
2. Not Coordinating Training Schedules
Just as your better half may prefer different forms of exercise, they may work out for different lengths of time. No one wants to sit around waiting at the gym post-workout until their partner finishes their training session. Park recommends comparing notes and planning accordingly.
Not only will coordinating times help minimize down time in the gym, but it'll also give you more time to spend with your partner. "I try to coordinate so that [me and my significant other] work out at the same time because that means we get to spend more time together doing other things."
Also, if you enjoy working out at different points of the day, try and compromise with a time that works for you both. Sometimes, as in Park's case, this may mean a double workout session. On those days, adjust the intensity of your training sessions accordingly.
3. Criticizing Your Partner's Workout
Exercising with a significant other can be a great learning opportunity. And it's great to have someone you know and trust there to watch your form. Just make sure your advice doesn't come across as criticism.
Be conscious of your significant other's fitness level, injuries or other physical limitations. "Respect where the other is at," Silver-Fagan says. "Just because you can do something doesn't mean your partner can, so be gentle and understanding."
On the flip side, if your partner is the one doling out tips or corrections, try your best to not take constructive criticism personally, Park says. "If your SO points out any areas for improvement, by the way, be open to it," she says. "It can feel like they're picking on you, but remember: They know you best, and they're most likely just trying to help you improve."
4. Getting Too Competitive
Especially for those couples that take their workouts seriously, feeling a little competitive is natural. But when you're working out together, controlling your competitive nature is probably a good idea. Avoid comparing your progress and fitness level to your significant other and focus on your own goals.
"It's easy to feel competitive when exercising, because the goal is to always do well," Silver-Fagan said. "Be careful to motivate without putting the other down." Bottom line: Leave your ego at the door, she says.
5. Not Having Any Fun
Unless you're both working toward a mutual goal, don't be too serious when you're in the gym with each other. While there's a place and time to track your exercises, reps and rest periods with military precision, you may want to approach a couples session with a little less rigidity.
"Moving with your person should be fun and relaxed and silly," says Silver-Fagan. "Don't worry about doing everything perfectly and just have fun! Think of it as a playdate." Especially if you're new to exercising with your partner, don't put too much pressure on the session. Ask your SO questions about what they like or want to do and be respectful, she says.
6. Making Gym Time Your Only Quality Time
While exercise is a healthy activity to do with your better half, don't make it your only quality time. You're likely both busy people, but working out doesn't leave much room for open conversation or deep connection, Park says. Consider scheduling a post-workout lunch date. This will give you some more quality time together, she says.
Oh, and one last piece of advice: While we all love to be in love, keep the PDA at a respectful minimum, folks!