How To Work Out Together And Get Results
Figuring out how to work out together isn’t always easy. Yet, we know that fitness is the cornerstone of health and having an accountability partner dramatically boosts results and your relationship. Studies show that a workout buddy doubles performance and makes you over six times more likely to stick to a program.
When determining how to best exercise as a couple, you have to factor in different schedules, fitness levels, and work out preferences. Once we learned how to work out together, as a couple, efficiently we saw excellent results and there was no turning back.
how to work out together
Before Learning How to Work Out As A Couple
After years of long-distance dating between the US and China, Ryan and I decided to move-in together once I accepted a job in Fort Worth in 2015. We finally had an opportunity to figure out how to work out together. So, we invested in equipment for our first home gym and set it up in the living room of our studio apartment.
Given our schedules, we knew this step was critical to our success working out as a couple. We were aware of the many benefits of working out together, so now it was time to implement.
For years, my fitness routine had been all over the place, mainly centering around training for my next marathon. For Ryan, he was dedicatedly going through each new Beachbody program from cardio to weightlifting to yoga. When we sat down to discuss how we would exercise together, we came to grips with each other’s expectations and preferences.
I wanted to avoid high-intensity interval training (HIIT) at all costs. My body moved at the slower pace of a marathoner’s instead of sprinter’s. This was tough for Ryan who was a major fan of Shaun T’s HIIT workout, Insanity. On his end, Ryan wasn’t fond of martial arts workouts which was a big childhood hobby of mine.
Instead, we discussed our goals (for Ryan to gain muscle and for me to become lean) and compromised with the cardio and weightlifting program, Hammer and Chisel. Weightlifting was completely new to me but I was open to trying a new program, especially one that also matched Ryan’s goals.
After Learning How To Work Out As A Couple
Our first work out program together was a huge success. Weight lifting turned out to be an absolute favorite and we soon progressed a full weightlifting program, Body Beast. Without Ryan challenging me to try new workouts, I may never have tried weightlifting and seen my weight loss transformation for our wedding.
Through this experience we learned how to consistently and efficiently work out as a couple. We continue to work out together while helping other couples set their goals, start a work out program together, and learn how to exercise as a couple.
After learning how to work out together, and helping others do the same, here are our tried and true rules. These rules will help you achieve success working out together by making it as easy and as efficient as possible
Read more: Optimizing your workouts.
how to exercise together and get results
Rule #1: Communicate
How can you work out together before thoroughly discussing your goals and plan. it’s important to communicate what you want out of your fitness routine and what your expectations are. There may be an imbalance in physical activity.
Therefore, both people need to be open to new workouts that benefit both without pushing one person over the edge. You never know what transformations you’ll see when you try something new! You also need to communicate about when will be the best time for you to workout as a couple.
More support: Start Your Free Couple’s Fitness Analysis.
Rule #2: Save Time With A Home Gym
How can you consistently and efficiently work out as a couple when you’re balancing two schedules? This makes that possible for us. We’ve found that a home gym best fits our lifestyle. It saves us valuable time and money with just a small amount of initial investment.
Before our home gym, we tried them all: the barebones, 24-hour gym, the YMCA, and the ClassPass access to the best studios in town. We even had a gym in our apartment building but we still couldn’t consistently work out there as a couple.
It’s because they all require the effort of getting changed, leaving the house, and, once there, storing your bags, waiting for equipment, and making small chat. Hey, some people love the atmosphere of a big gym.
However, for us, there was too much fluff to consistently and efficiently work out together. We also had to manage significant business travel, and when you’re on the road a gym is of no use.
Read more: How to build a home gym.
Rule #3: Follow A Trainer
Everyone needs a trainer, even Olympians, and professional athletes. It’s tough to do it on your own because a trainer balances muscle groups in a given workout while timing the exercises for maximum effectiveness.
A trainer also forces you to do the workouts that you don’t want to do. These are usually the ones that will bring you the most results. For us, that was leg day. We’ve tried to follow workouts just based on lists of exercises but it never gave us the same results. We may have the incorrect form, not held the exercise long enough, or overdid the reps or weights.
When you’re deciding how to best work out with your partner, make sure following a trainer is part of your plan. And in most relationships, it’s not a good idea to have your partner as your trainer.
For us, we swear by the fitness programs created by Beachbody. They employ top industry trainers and a team of sports scientists who constantly create new programs. You can do these programs in the gym or at home.
Our favorites, Tony Horton and Autumn Calabrese, are great at motivating us throughout the workout to keep us pushing more and more. The programs also offer lower and higher intensity modifications to match the fitness level of every couple.
Read more: Try our workouts free by Starting your Beachbody On Demand trial.
Rule #4. Follow A Structured Day-By-Day Plan
When we were figuring out how to work out as a couple, having a plan with structure was critical. First, work with your partner to see which day(s) work best as your rest days and commit to working out the rest of the time.
It’s important to follow a workout program that changes the routine daily and then monthly as you progress. If you don’t have a calendar full of variety (from leg day to shoulders,) you’ll find yourself repeating the same moves too often and plateauing.
When Ryan and I are in between program calendars, we always seem to flounder. Even for us, it’s hard to create a full, beneficial schedule on the fly! With Beachbody, each of their programs comes with a calendar that includes strategic active flex/stretch days and ramps up the workouts at different stages of the program. For every program we do, we always print out the calendar and make sure to tick off each day.
Pro Tip: There are times when you or your partner will miss workouts due to travel, sickness, work, etc. To keep on track, the person should skip those workouts altogether and join in wherever their partner is and continue forward. Often these hiccups can derail us so don’t feel like you need to start all over from Day 1 or need to re-do the workouts that were missed.
Rule #5: Document Your Progress
How can you work out together and get results if you aren’t tracking progress? Results are the best motivation, but you won’t see any improvements if you don’t track them. Before each program, it’s key to take each other’s “before photos” from all angles.
Also, write down your measurements and weight and keep them in a safe place until the end of your program. Getting a before weight is a good idea but it’s not the best metric. You shouldn’t be weighing yourself more than once a month. Trust the process.
In addition to these numbers, you’ll need to track how you are progressing during each workout. Write down how many pull-ups you did and what weights you used. If on a Beachbody program, they provide tracker sheets.
Print them out and make sure you both document each workout! Nothing feels as good as seeing improvement in your strength or on your waist week after week!
Rule #6: Be Efficient With Your Moves
The key, as with rule #2, is to save time when working out together. Try to always do 2-3 moves together to work multiple body groups at the same time. Think burpee push ups, lunges with curls, pull ups with crunches, or a recent favorite of ours, calf raiser hip-ups with tricep curls.
There’s no need to ever spend more than one hour working out together. In fact, we almost never workout more than 30 minutes a day at home. Success in fitness is all about consistency, not intensity. Avoid the treadmill, elliptical, and other machines that only work one area of the body.
This is really where a trainer comes into play. As shown in this cardio workout experiment, workouts with efficient moves deliver significantly higher heart rate and calorie burn. Not all workouts are created equal.
Rule #7: Bring Your Workouts With You
If you’re like we were, and determined to figure out how to exercise together and get results, you should know that flexibility is key. In this day and age, most of us aren’t home for full months on end to commit to a strict routine. Join the 21st century and stream workouts from your phone, tablet, or laptop, wherever you are in the world.
No matter where Ryan and I are — at a hotel room in the US, visiting family in Hong Kong, or at a nearby park — we always have access to our fitness programs. With a library of hundreds of workouts to choose from through Beachbody On Demand, we can always find one that fits our timing and accessible equipment.
Since we rarely have access to a gym, we learned how to do exercises with resistance bands.
Read more: Try our workouts free by Starting your Beachbody On Demand trial.
If you’re wondering how to work out together as a couple, we have a tried and true plan including everything described above. Kickstart your healthy lifestyle journey with our Couple’s Clean Week.
Couple's Fitness Analysis
How fit are you really? Is your time at the gym and going out for a jog really paying off? Take our fitness quiz and learn about the tools that Ryan and Alex use to commit to working out consistently. As engineers, they made it as simple and efficient as possible.
- Take the Fit Test: How Fit Are You?
- General fitness evaluation/discussion by Ryan and Alex via email
- 2-week fitness calendar specific to your combined goals and interests
30-Day Weight Loss Challenge
As engineers with ten years of health coaching experience, we needed to create a data-driven way for our clients to sustain weight loss. The number on the scale matters for weight loss, but other numbers are significantly more important.
Too many weight loss challenges involve a long list of what you can, cannot, and need to do every day. We’ve reduced the overwhelm and only require you to track five numbers a day — calories, steps, fiber, sleep, waistline. In this 30-day weight loss challenge, you'll track five numbers daily to give you the highest return for sustainable weight loss.
Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “happiness engineers.” After eight years working as corporates engineers internationally, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — leading couples to engineer their best lives. The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship, as a couple.