Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Can Your Honey Be Your Workout Buddy?

Can Your Honey Be Your Workout Buddy?

Spouses can be embarrassed to work out in front of each other, or become competitive

By Elizabeth Bernstein in the Wall Street Journal

Kara Snyder did gymnastics, played soccer and ran track growing up. When she met her now-husband, Craig Snyder, several years ago, she was training for a half-marathon and asked him if he liked to jog. His answer: “Sure, occasionally. ”
Ms. Snyder invited him to go for a run in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park that Saturday morning. Mr. Snyder was determined to impress his new girlfriend. For the first 2 miles, he matched her pace and even sprinted a bit to show off. Then he told her to go on ahead. “You need to keep up your pace for training,” he said. They arranged to meet up when they were done.
Ms. Snyder ran 6 more miles. Mr. Snyder vomited in the nearest bushes. Then he walked to a deli for a bagel and coffee.
Working out together so rarely works out. It is tempting to picture exercising together as a couple. You’re spending time and, a bonus, getting healthy and buff, too. However, hitting the gym with the person whose approval and desire you most want can bring up all sorts of insecurities.
Personal trainers see people who are embarrassed to work out in front of their more-fit spouse. Or spouses who are way too competitive. And some couples, they say, are supportive of each other in front of their trainer and belittle one another at home. Often, the trainers say they feel like pseudo-marital therapists.
When the Snyders met, his idea of exercise was playing hockey and having a few beers in the locker room. The woman he was dating—and eventually married—became a Pilates instructor and health strategist. The Snyders moved to Westhampton, Mass.
Mr. Snyder worked out less. “I am a woman with a husband and I wanted him to exercise and be healthy,” says Ms. Snyder, 38. The couple bickered when Mr. Snyder, 33, who oversees music partnerships for a marketing agency, didn’t want to run with his wife after work. “I know she was nagging with my best intentions in mind,” he says. “But it got on my nerves.”
She likes to work out first thing in the morning; he prefers working out at night. They devised a plan: When they can, they will walk or ride bikes after work; the rest of the time they exercise alone. Mr. Snyder tries to do something active—walking, biking or playing hockey—every day. But he never runs.
Brandon Mancine, a personal trainer in San Antonio, who has clients around the country, prefers training couples because they have a built-in support network for their regimen—but he won’t necessarily train a couple together. He also has a rule: “You cannot bring me into the fights,” he says.
When he teaches classes, Mr. Mancine has kicked people out for fighting with their partner and sometimes splits up couples. He says he’s learned how supportive spouses need to be from his toughest client: his wife.
“My role is to ask how things are going, high-five her when she hits new goals, and bite my tongue,” he says.
Bruce and Marge Brown, fitness coaches and founders of the Fit Grandparents in Wilmington, N.C., say they’ve heard both male and female clients suspect that a spouse starting to exercise wants to look good for someone outside the marriage. Some people ask a spouse: “Why do you want to look hot? What is going on?” One female client told them her spouse threw out her nutritional supplements.
“Often, the other person feels threatened because their own fitness and weight management is horrible and they’ll just look worse if their partner is getting healthier and in better shape,” Mr. Brown says.
He advises clients who are changing their eating habits to let their partners know ahead of time. And he recommends couples share nutrition planning but have different exercise routines because their physical goals may be different. If couples snipe at each other in front of him, he reminds them to stay focused on their goals.
Over the years, Stephanie and James Freeman have tried getting in shape together: cycling, power walking, playing Wii games such as bowling, tennis or golf. But it was hard to find time to exercise at the same time—and sometimes they just wanted to work out alone anyway. Last year, after they both had high blood pressure issues, they made a plan to take a half-hour walk together every evening. That lasted for two days.
“He would go out for walks and forget to tell me,” says Ms. Freeman, 45, a humanities professor who lives in Raleigh, N.C.
The Freemans ditched the idea of working out together and created an exercise competition. They had a picture made of themselves dressed as superheroes—the “Indestructible Couple”—with chiseled, muscle-laden bodies, framed it and put it on the dresser in their bedroom. Then they made a deal: Whoever can get his or her body to look the most like it looks in the picture by August wins a dinner out.
The spouses picked their own exercise plans and diets. Ms. Freeman plans to be a vegetarian for three months and follow a “Dancing with the Stars” exercise DVD, along with light weights and Wii sports. Mr. Freeman will give up sugar, bread and pasta, and will walk, run and ride a stationary bike. Once in awhile, they’ll play some Wii together.
“You get to do what you want to do at your pace, and the competition pushes you,” says Mr. Freeman, 49, a manager for a corporate travel agency.
“Getting into shape is work enough,” says Ms. Freeman. “Why add additional burdens?”

Posters only comments:  Boys and girls are different, thank goodness.

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