How To Get Fit As A Couple?

Figuring out how to get fit as a couple 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.

Since 2013, we have been coaching couples who want to work out together. Not to mention, we have been honing our own method for getting fit together as a couple. 

When determining how to best exercise as a couple, you have to factor in different schedules, fitness levels, and work out preferences. 

Our advice in this article will help you create a sustainable plan together and get results in the long term. So, let’s learn how to work out as a couple.

how to get fit as a couple?

This How To Get Fit as a Couple article is one of five Ryan and Alex Duo Life blog posts about working out as a couple. The others are Couple’s Yoga Poses, Couple’s Workout Routine, the Complete Guide to Working Out as a Couple, and Benefits of Working Out With Your Spouse.

Our Story

Before

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 learn how to get fit 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 be consistent with our workouts. Although managing our schedules and different workout preferences would be a challenge, we couldn’t possibly ignore the incredible and scientifically proven benefits of working out together.

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

Our first work out program together was a huge success. Weight lifting turned out to be an absolute favorite, and we soon progressed to a full weightlifting program, Body Beast. Without Ryan challenging me to try new workouts, I may never have tried weightlifting and seen my pre-wedding weight loss transformation.

Through this experience, we learned how to consistently and efficiently work out as a couple, wherever we are in the world. We have learned how to do yoga as a couple, and to give us more options for strength training, took advantage of resistance bands and their benefits.

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 get fit as a couple by making it as easy and as efficient as possible.

How To Get Fit Working Out As a Couple

Rule #1: Communicate

How can you work out together before thoroughly discussing your goals and plan of action? It’s important to communicate what you want out of your fitness routine and what your expectations are. 

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.

To progress, every couple should be tracking their annual goals and daily habits, an activity that provides the awareness needed to make progress.

By both tracking your goals and habits using our tools, you’ll have a good reason to consistently talk about your health and fitness goals in a neutral, non-judgmental environment.

Rule #2: Identify strong motivation

There are two types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic motivation is based on ego or external benefits, such as, “I want to get a six-pack for the cruise.” Instead of bringing happiness, ego breeds frustration and disappointment, which typically ends in failure. 

Extrinsic motivation is weak, and in the off chance that you achieve your goal, what happens next? You have to find a new motivation. It’s not sustainable. 

Intrinsic motivation is levels deeper, and it’s harder to find than external motivators. Once you find this strong motivation as a couple, you’ll be unstoppable. They are usually linked to family, confidence levels, and your passions.

To identify your strong motivation, follow our 5-Step Process to Identify Your Why.

In addition to strong motivation, pick a shared goal to work towards. If your partner has a strong preference to hike the local mountain in one month’s time, schedule it in even if you dislike hiking. You can pick the next shared goal.

Rule #3: Save time with a home gym

How can you consistently and efficiently work out as a couple when you’re balancing two schedules with class times and commutes? A home gym makes that possible for us. We’ve found that building 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 membership is of no use. 

A home gym not only saves time, eliminates many excuses, and makes you more consistent, but it also saves you money. In the first eight years of working out together, our home gym saved us $7,050, including equipment and streamed workouts investment.

And, that doesn’t include the 460 gallons of gas we saved from commuting.

Rule #4: 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 get fit as a couple, 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 follow the streamed workouts through Beachbody On Demand. They employ top industry trainers and a team of sports scientists who constantly create new programs. You can do these programs anywhere.

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. 

Try the workouts for free (you still have to give your CC number) by starting your Beachbody On Demand trial.

Rule #5. Follow a structured daily plan

To get fit 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.

To keep us on track and to boost accountability, 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 #6: 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 weigh yourself more than once a month unless it’s a form of accountability and not discouragement. Trust the process.

In addition to these numbers, you’ll need to track how you are progressing during each workout. Write down how many reps you did or what weights you used for each individual exercise. 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!

Before you start, benchmark your current fitness level with our Fitness Test. Record your scores and re-take the test every month.

Rule #7: Be efficient with your moves

The key, as with rule #3, 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 ever to spend more than one hour working out together. In fact, we rarely 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. Not all workouts are created equal. We always track our workout intensity, and we’ve seen that a quality workout burns up to 90% more calories than some conventional workouts such as the treadmill or stationary bike. 

You can see those results in this cardio workout experiment. The workouts that are efficient with their moves deliver significantly higher heart rate and calorie burn. This is another reason why Beachbody On Demand is worth it

It pairs well with a home gym, offers variety, trainers, daily plans to follow, tools to track progress, and highly optimized fitness programs. Also, it allows you to bring your workouts with you and work out anywhere.

Rule #8: Bring your workouts with you

If you’re like we were, and determined to get fit as a couple, you should know that freedom 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, from a hotel room to our living room to 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.

And for the times when we have limited equipment, the programs show you how to modify the routine, teaching you how to do exercises with resistance bands

Hands down, Beachbody On Demand is the best workout streaming platform. It includes 24 professional trainers and dozens of workout programs. Our review of Beachbody On Demand is driven by numbers.

For example, we learned that Beachbody’s cardio workouts burned up to 90% more calories than conventional routines. We also learned that our cost per workout is 410% lower than the average gym-goer.

Rule #9: Focus on long term

Years. It takes years. Not even one year. At least two years. Be patient, trust, and enjoy the process. We have clients who only started working out with their partners successfully after 2-3 years of work. 

Remember, your results will vary. This is completely normal, so don’t get in the habit of comparing your results to your partner’s. This recommendation is mostly for women. Men’s bodies react differently, and they tend to drop the pounds more quickly. 

Since your plan is to get fit as a couple, try our plan designed for couples that includes everything described above. Kickstart your healthy lifestyle journey with our Couple’s Clean Week. 

I have questions. What do I do?

Ask away in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible and add your recommendations to this article accordingly.

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for your comment!

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How We Decluttered as a Couple

Are you a couple? If so, we understand the unique challenges that come with decluttering with another person.

You and your partner will inevitably have different decluttering, organizing, tidying up, and purchasing styles. Plus, there’s a chance that when you meld your households, you will have two of everything — with each person possibly preferring their own set.

However, decluttering as a couple not only streamlines your day and better utilizes your space. What’s more, is it helps you put more focus on the things you cherish and need.

As unbelievable as it sounds, taking on a decluttering challenge with your spouse or partner can be a relationship-building process. It’s an opportunity to keep items that resonate.

For Ryan (the hoarder and spender), it took time for him to get on board. What helped the most was that we moved around a lot, especially internationally. This meant that every few years, we had to evaluate the entirety of our belongings. It became apparent what things no longer fit with our traveling lifestyle.

However, not everyone has these same motivating opportunities. Alongside the moves, our hobbies began to change. While he loved snowmobiling with his friends, it wasn’t something we normally did together nor something he often did alone.

So, he sold his snowmobile, and whenever he had a guy’s trip, he borrowed one. We put that extra cash towards strengthening the hobbies we did more frequently, like hiking and skiing.

No, this doesn’t mean that Ryan slowly gave up his identity as we morphed into a couple. He just realized that he didn’t always need to buy when he could borrow or rent, especially on infrequent hobbies. Plus, with the money we earned, we were able to upgrade some of the things that sparked the most joy!

Finally, if you and your partner disagree on whether or not an item should go, just let it stay. There shouldn’t be any shame or judgment if one person loves a certain item, no matter how bizarre it is to you.

Remember, this exercise is to help improve your life and to create a home and space that you both love. It’s not about causing stress or rehashing why a grown adult man owns a pair of sweat shorts from Walmart (ahem, Ryan). If you’re not sure, keep it and revisit in six months.

However, if you think one person is hoarding more than necessary, talk about it and try to understand why. Compromise is critical when tidying up as a couple.

Step 1: How to Decide What to Sell

As a rule of thumb, if it’s something you haven’t used in the past six months, sell it. We understand that some items are seasonal and some are sentimental, but remember that quality is more important than quantity. If these are items that are only used occasionally (like a steamer), you can borrow from a friend or rent one for the few times you need it.

For decluttering clothing, our favorite decluttering tip is to turn all of your hanger hooks inwards. Every time you wear a clothing item, hang it back correctly. If after six months you haven’t touched an item, it’s time to sell it.

Finally, if you and your partner disagree on whether or not an item should go, just let it stay. There shouldn’t be any shame or judgment if one person loves a certain item, no matter how bizarre it is to you. Remember, this exercise is to help improve your life and to create a home and space that you both love. It’s not about causing stress or rehashing why a grown adult man owns a pair of sweat shorts from Walmart (ahem, Ryan). If you're not sure, keep it and revisit in six months.

However, if you think one person is hoarding more than necessary, talk about it and try to understand why. Compromise is critical when tidying up as a couple.

Step 2: Make it a Competition

While unorthodox, decluttering your home as a competition spurred us on to downsize before moving to Ecuador. We tried to sell everything (yes, everything! I literally sold a mop) and we kept a tally to determine who was in the lead.

Set a deadline of one month and sell away! If you don't have one month, at least settle for two weeks. You'll find that a lot of items go over the weekends so ideally, you'll want to get in as many as possible.

Bonus: It's a lot easier to let go of some items when you can make a small profit by selling them. You can also think of your item as going to a new home where it will be used more.

Step 3: Know Your Marketplaces

We highly recommend selling on Facebook Marketplace. It can be done through Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps on your phone or on your laptop. The benefits of Facebook Marketplace vs. Craigslist is that you can check out people’s profiles, filter closer locations, and rank in a buyer/seller rating system to prevent bad business.

Too often on Craigslist, we would get inquiries from people far away, and you don’t want to waste time coordinating or filtering. Plus, Craigslist is creepily anonymous.

Note that we did find value in using Craigslist for our higher-cost items, including selling our $1500 Tempur-Pedic mattress on there. Just note that with Craigslist comes a lot of spammers. Be careful and be up front that you will only accept cash and pick up only from the get-go.

Step 4: Set a Reasonable Price

Before selling an item, take a quick look on Amazon.com to check what the full, new price is. Then, take 50% off if it was in 'like-new' condition, and 75% off if it was used. If we didn’t get any takers after two weeks, we would lower the price.

Pricing can be challenging. It's inevitable that you'll agonize over if it’s too high or too low. You’ll likely receive offers that are far lower than your asking price, hoping for better to come along. 

That’s why we’ve set a one-month deadline because one week might not give you enough offers to know if you’ve listed a good price. Don't worry if you "lose" a buyer. There'll be more.

Trust us. This is not a lot of work. And it's about to get way easier with step 5. 

Step 5: Leave It On Your Doorstep, Literally

When you’re selling items, coordinating amongst potential buyers takes up too much time.

That’s why should pick a person who could pick it up that day — not tomorrow or this weekend, even if they messaged first. Then, tell them you’ll leave the item on your doorstep and to slip the cash under your doormat.

Never, out of the hundred or so items we’ve sold has this strategy gone awry. We lived on a walkable bar street in downtown Fort Worth. No one ever stole an item, and every item was also always paid for.

No stress, no worry, no face-to-face meeting. Keep it simple.

Step 6: Unsold Items? Time for a Yard Sale, Friend Giveaway, or Donation

There’s nothing more eco-friendly and green than recycling and reusing!

Step 7: Decide How You’ll Purchase and Purge Items in the Future

As a couple, sit down and decide how you’ll maintain your newly organized and tidy household. The simplest rule to follow is for every new item in, take an old item out. That means if you’ve upgraded or purchased a new sweater, an old sweater has to be sold or donated.

The goal of this Couple’s Decluttering Challenge is to create a permanent habit and lifestyle on how you keep and manage your possessions, together. If you need to re-do this challenge next year, then it’s time to repeat Step 7!

In our experience, completing this decluttering challenge will teach you to appreciate the material items that you own. It will also teach you to be more mindful of new material items that you bring into our life.

As decluttering challenge graduates, we no longer buy anything that we don't absolutely need, which leads to more saving as a couple. When we do buy items, we spend more time researching and deliberating. Therefore, the products we buy are top-quality, last for a long time, and come with a sense of pride. 

Happy decluttering and tidying up as a couple!

If you want to learn more, here are a few of our favorite decluttering books:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

 

What did you think of the Couple's Decluttering Challenge? Let us know in the comments below, and we especially want to hear the best item you sold! In your new-found calm and spacious home, try our Couple's Yoga Challenge next. 

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Hey we're Ryan and Alex

The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”

After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples 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.

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