Overcoming a Fitness Or Nutrition Imbalance In Your Relationship
Do you have a fitness or nutrition imbalance in your relationship? Is one partner more fit, active, or nutritious? In this post, we’ll talk about how to overcome this imbalance.
After years of working in the fitness industry, helping hundreds of couples, our top question remains, “How can I get my partner to be healthy with me?”
A fitness or nutrition imbalance adds stress to a relationship. Too often, making one person feel self-conscious, unappreciated, or jealous.
So, let’s dive into overcoming your fitness and nutrition imbalances so that you’re both healthier and happier in the long term.
overcoming a fitness or nutrition imbalance
If you have a hard time motivating your partner to exercise with you, you’re not alone. As health coaches who focus specifically on couples, we’re regularly asked, “How do I get my spouse to work out with me?”
To help people navigate this challenge, we wrote ‘Working Out As A Couple: A Complete Guide.’
Our Imbalance With Fitness
Starting, we had many fitness imbalances. While we had different interests and goals, early in our relationship, we learned how to start working out as a couple and meet our combined preferences.
When fitness as a couple improved our health and relationship, we made it a non-negotiable to work out or be active together, every day. Although we’re not always physically together, we always check-in and discuss our workout to stay accountable.
Regarding workouts, we take turns picking which program we do, but we always talk about our fitness goals beforehand to find a plan that fits best.
Sometimes one of us needs to make a compromise to overcome a fitness imbalance, like when Ryan started running with Alex even though he didn’t love it. A great benefit from this is that we make each other do workouts we wouldn’t have normally done.
It’s what introduced Alex to her newest favorite, weightlifting, which was key for her pre-wedding transformation. We have struggled during the partner workouts (usually from unsolicited advice on proper form), but overall, working out together has brought us closer.
We have fun during the 30 minutes of exercise, and it makes us ready to show up for life. Fitness together lets us know how hard we can each push each other during our active hobbies like skiing and backpacking.
The benefits of working out with our spouse have strengthened our minds, bodies, and relationship.
Our Imbalance With Nutrition
The nutrition imbalances in our relationship have been harder to overcome and ever-changing. Alex, the vegetarian, brings a lot more vegetables into my day, and we don’t often cook meat at home.
This was a big transition for me, but I’m extremely grateful for it. Lately, our biggest challenge is the fact that I need to eat twice as much as her. Yes, literally twice as much. We explain how we manage this in our article on diets as a couple.
Ever since we left our corporate jobs and are now together 100% of the time, it is too easy for Alex to snack whenever I snack. On top of all this, I feel guilty when I plate up dinner and dish myself twice as much as her portion.
This was never a problem in our former corporate life where we were apart most days. Now, it’s an imbalance in our relationship that we are working to overcome. But, recognizing it was a big step forward.
Intermittent fasting is our latest discovery. In our ‘Intermittent Fasting How To Guide,’ we explain how the eating plan has massively simplified meal planning and prep.
Now, Let’s Talk About You
This is our fitness and nutrition imbalance we’ve experienced in our relationship. However, a lot of couples we work with have a larger gap between their levels of fitness and nutrition.
Many couples in our community have experienced the stress and friction that an imbalance can cause. We interviewed couples that have closed the gap, asking them what they’ve learned and what advice they would have for other couples with an imbalance.
How To Overcome An Imbalance
It’s critical to have a two-sided conversation about the health goals for the family. The key is not to point fingers but to make the goals for the family as a whole. That way, everyone has to take responsibility.
To overcome the imbalance in your relationship it’s essential that you have strong motivation and set goals together. To get the communication started, try phrases like, “I have a lot of fun working out with you,” or, “I haven’t seen you all day, let’s cook something new and healthy together for dinner.”
Follow this guide to help you identify a strong motivation, your why for living healthy.
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 below, you’ll have a good reason to consistently talk about your health and fitness goals in a neutral, non-judgmental environment.
Worksheets are available for download here: The Daily Habit Tracker and New Year’s Resolutions Tracker.
Just remember, actions speak louder than words, so take a leadership role to show your better half that it’s important to you. Speaking of…
To overcome your fitness and nutrition imbalances, someone needs to step up and take the leadership role. Typically, I am the leader when it comes to fitness, even to the extent of kicking Alex out of bed to work out on time.
Alex, on the other hand, tracks our nutrition. Play to each other’s strengths, but know you can’t be strong all the time. Take turns when you need a break, but make sure there is always a leader. Delegate who will take on the role and give authority to do research and make necessary purchases.
Before your partner starts working out with you, you have to be strong enough for the couple. If you want your partner to start working out with you, you must be consistently showing up for your workouts.
Think of leading by example as an opportunity to show your spouse how much you value exercise. Do your best to send positive verbal and non-verbal hints about how much exercise is improving the way you feel.
We hear too often, “I’m fine. I go to the gym four days a week and invite my wife, but she doesn’t join me.” Or, we hear, “My husband needs help. I’m all good, I don’t eat junk food.”
Well, guess what, you don’t get to wipe your hands and walk away scot-free. Part of being a leader is compromise. You may be in Chapter 20 of your health journey, but your spouse is only in Chapter 2.
That can be both intimidating and overwhelming, especially if you make it look easy. It’s critical not to point fingers when addressing a fitness or nutrition imbalance in the relationship.
For the good of the whole family, dial it back, perhaps back to Chapter 5, and begin there, together. Yes, you may have to start an easier fitness routine. But, if it helps your spouse work out while still keeping your health goals in check, that’s a win.
It’s your responsibility to ensure the whole family is progressing, and with time, everyone will get caught up. We explain this tactic in our article titled, ‘Working Out As A Couple: The Complete Guide.‘
4. Workout Together
How could we not emphasize this one? The best way to overcome a fitness or nutrition imbalance in your relationship by working to better yourselves, together. Did you know that working out separately can be a disservice to your relationship?
We explain the science and psychology behind this in our article on the benefits of working out with your spouse. One longterm study in the UK showed that people working out together were twice as likely to experience weight loss. Also, when checked on two years later, 70% of those participants continued to be working out weekly.
Their solo counterparts were only 25% as likely. Bottom line: whether for fitness or nutrition, doing it together improves your chance of success while creating more accountability, improving respect, building a bond, and increasing attraction.
Pro Tip: When you’re not physically together, you can follow the same workout routine/nutrition plan to feel connected. If one of you misses a few workouts while on a business trip or vacation, don’t make them catch up. Whoever is upfront, just continue on with their calendar.
5. Focus On Fitness And Fun
Nutrition is indeed 80% of the battle, but starting out, only focus on working out as a couple. Fitness is the foundation of your healthy lifestyle together, and as we describe in this video, working out is step one of a domino effect.
Once you start working out as a couple, making baby steps to improve nutrition will come naturally. Make sure that you start with a workout program of their choosing.
The workout should meet their fitness level so that they are more encouraged by their performance. Also, restrain yourself from taking the role of a personal trainer, unless they invite feedback.
An activity that feels less like exercise, like biking, hiking, or frisbee golf is a great way to start. If they are competitive, a subtle way of shedding light on their physical fitness level would be to take our Fitness Test. Better yet, take it monthly to track progress.
Next, it’s important to have fun. Hit on your partner during your workouts. Make sure there are a lot of high-fives, “accidental” booty pats, and some more genuine and serious words of encouragement.
Also, when you’re first starting out, let your partner pick the workout playlist.
When you start reaching milestones, treat yo’ self. A milestone could be as small as completing your first three workouts together, or as big as completing your first 10K.
A celebration creates a positive association with your hard work, and it makes you more excited about tackling your next goals. Remember to track your goals on your New Year’s Resolutions Tracker.
If there is something your partner would be really psyched about, like front row seats to an NHL game or the latest Apple Watch, you can incentivize your next milestone.
6. Stream your workouts from anywhere
Continuous compromise. Changing schedules. Now, add changing fitness levels (both improving), and evolving exercise preferences. To continuously offer new types of workouts and increasing difficulty levels, you’ll need access to a lot of programs.
To properly learn these new techniques together at home, you will need a lot of qualified trainers to guide you. In most relationships, it’s not a good idea to have your partner as your trainer.
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.
If you want to test-drive our recommended couples workout plan, place your bet with our Couple’s Clean Week program.
7. Take Action
If you are interested in tackling your relationship imbalance or improve your health as a couple, we are here to help. Our two programs highlighted below, the Just Duo It program and Couple’s Clean Week are your best path forward.
If you need some fitness ideas to get your duo moving together, here are three free tools that we created for you.
1. The resistance band workout routine – minimal equipment and maximum results in the comfort of your home.
2. Couples yoga poses for beginners – 23 of our favorite partner yoga positions to improve strength, balance, attraction, and your relationship.
3. Our 30-day weight loss challenge – there are only 5 rules to follow. This simplicity and focus on your individual numbers will promote sustainable results.
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!
- Couples Who Work Together to Get Healthy Have More Success – Live Science – “Another way to be supportive is by suggesting a reward for meeting a goal. For example, a couple might agree that if they stick to a healthy diet for a whole week, they will treat themselves by going to a movie over the weekend, Wardle said.”
- 10 Habits of People in the Happiest Relationships – Huffington Post – “But when these couples are met with perpetual problems, even then they find the humor in their differences and work to find temporary compromises that enable them to continue appreciating their partner for who they are.”
Couple's Clean Week
A 7-day kickstarter for couples to "try out" a healthy lifestyle.
- Daily videos with "real talk" about common excuses and a roadmap to get on the same page as a couple
- 30-minute, at-home video workouts
- Nutrition and grocery shopping guide
- Bonus content made specifically for couples
When you successfully complete Couple's Clean Week, your enrollment is refunded. Make a bet with yourself to stick to healthy habits for 7-days.
$60 per couple, with 100% money back for couples truly committed to a healthy week.
Just Duo It
Our flagship program. Transform your mind, body, and marriage using small, systematic steps. These tried-and-true techniques have been taken from our research and personal experiments to reconnect, get healthier, and add spontaneity into your relationship.
- "Daily Duoables" to keep progress simple and easy
- Access to our exclusive Duo Life Community app to stay accountable for your fitness and nutrition
- Monthly guides to put it all together
We're willing to commit a year on you, are you ready to commit a year on you? Made for couples by couples.
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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