Post by Pamela Hernandez
I am a personal trainer, not a marriage counselor. However I think I’ve learned a thing or two about balancing love and fitness in the 14 years Brian and I have been together. Based on my experiences (and mine alone) I would like to share A Fit Girl’s Guide to Love:
Rule #1: Love yourself first.
If you can’t love yourself, then how the hell can you love anyone else (to quote my favorite diva drag queen)? This means standing up for your goals and beliefs. If he tries to talk you out of workouts (like my previous boyfriend did) or makes you feel bad when you spend time with your friends, the gym or doing anything else that helps you feel good, run immediately in the other direction. I always say I had to lose 186 lbs (by ending the toxic relationship I was in before Brian) to get started on losing the rest of the weight that was holding me down. I had to feel that I was worth it before I could actually start working on my own issues, fitness included.
Rule #2: Working out together is probably not a good idea.
You’re different. Your goals are probably different. Going to the same gym might work. But don’t let him try to train you or visa versa. I can count on one hand the number of times Brian and I have worked out at the same time (outside of our walks and bike rides). Even on bike rides he may take off ahead of me and that’s okay. He still checks back every so often to make sure I haven’t fallen off my bike while I say good morning to the birds and horses on our usual route.
Rule #3: If he’s bulking and you’re trying to get lean, mealtimes may get ugly.
At the beginning of the relationship we bought eggs in flats because Brian was eating 4000 calories a day. I was eating about 300-400 calories a meal. I hated him for his giant plates of food. Luckily, in the beginning we ate most of our meals apart during the week and indulged in our free day gluttony together on the weekend. That took some of the edge off and we got through it.
Rule #4 Don’t cook two meals for two goals.
Brian may need a bigger portion than I do but I don't cook extra sides or a separate meal for him. Instead he just has double or grabs a piece of fruit, a homemade granola bar or some almonds. I don't know how vegetarians live with non-veg spouses.
Rule #5 Pay attention to leftovers.
Leftovers are big in my house. Brian is so patient with my cooking experiments and will pretty much eat anything I put on the table. However, if the leftovers don’t move I know he didn’t really like it. I see what he eats first when there are 2 or 3 dishes left. That’s how I know what to make again (and again and again).
Rule #6 Talk about everything.
This covers fitness, money, dreams and any other critical decision you’ll be faced with. You have to be on the same page or the conflict will materialize in ways detrimental to your health and your relationship. Brian and I talk about the business all the time, planning how we can nurture and grow Thrive Personal Fitness while staying true to our vision. We have Money Counting Day one time a year, reviewing the budget and where we want to be in the future, near and far. We don't argue about money this way. It makes us stronger. It makes us healthier. It makes us a team.
Are we the perfect couple? No. We have our ups and downs like everyone else. But we are indeed a team and we never forget it. May you be lucky enough to have found your perfect teammate this Valentine’s Day.
Posted on February 14th, 2013