We all know the benefits of a workout buddy — they're motivating, they keep you accountable, and they help pass the time at the gym. According to a study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, exercising with a partner can double your performance, which is a total workout win. So, who better to get fit with than your significant other? You wake up with them, you go home with them — they're basically a built-in excuse buster for when you feel like slacking.
A recent study out of Indiana University found that working out with your partner or spouse could help you stick with it — only 8 percent of the participants in the study who exercised with their spouses quit compared to half of the participants who exercised without their partners or spouses. That's a pretty good reason to start getting sweaty together.
But, like we've said before, the gym can be an emotional experience. Bringing someone else onto that roller coaster ride can be tricky. Lucky for you, we've got some basic rules to make your dual sweat sesh a breeze.
1. Be open to new workouts.
So, you're a diehard yogi and your partner's a hardcore CrossFit addict. There's a reason those workouts work for each of you, so don't write his or her preferred class off until you try it. Who knows? You might like getting all your aggression out in the CrossFit box as much as he or she likes savasana.
2. Don't act like their personal trainer.
Being supportive = great. Being a know-it-all = not so fun. If your partner is brave enough to try something new with you, by all means, help them get the most out of their workout. But if you're just hitting the mats and machines together, try not to constantly correct their form. It's nitpick-y, naggy, and bad sweat-iquette.
3. Make a plan.
So, you put couple's gym time on your sked. Now what? If you show up to the gym and you partner wants to pump iron, and you were thinking more along the lines of a gossip catch-up on the elliptical, no one's going to be happy. Decide on the workout plan before you get there, and make sure there's a mix of what you like and what he or she likes — it'll guarantee a better workout for both of you.
4. Don't be mean.
No one likes a snarky workout buddy, least of all the person you've committed to in a loving relationship. If your partner is struggling with crow pose or cheating on his spin bike resistance, don't tease him about how he can't keep up. No gym pal should have to put up with that — and you know you would feel crappy if he called you out.
5. Treat it like a date.
Why not? Alone time can be hard to find when your schedule is packed. Don't hop on the treadmill and plug your earbuds right in; pace yourself with your partner, chat a little bit, and encourage each other. Better yet, pick a workout that's fun and engaging and buddy-friendly, like hiking or bootcamp. You can use this as bonding time.
6. Don't try to keep up.
We're all for equality, but let's face it — dudes have different bodies than us, so, chances are, a male partner is going to be able to eke out more push-ups (no one has the same exact body type, so some girls are likely to school you, too). If you try to go as hard, as fast, or as long as your workout buddy, you might end up hurting yourself.
7. Try partner exercises.
Obviously, there are plenty of moves you can do solo. But wouldn't it be more fun to try exercises that require two bodies? Don't just use your significant other as a spotter. Try one of these tandem moves — if you can pull off the double dare crunches, we bow down to you.
8. Don't get embarrassed.
You fell out of a pose. Your body made a weird noise. You tripped over a stray dumbbell. You're with a person who's seen you naked, probably held your hair back when you were sick, and hears you from the other side of the bathroom door no matter how many times they deny it. Shit happens; laugh it off and move on.
9. Don't makeout on the gym floor.
Yeah, yeah, your endorphins are up, you feel great, you look good — we get it. Studies have shown that exercising can turn you on and make your sex life better. But, honestly? No one wants to see that while they're red-faced and huffing over their own exercise machines. Keep your hands to yourself and set aside a separate time for a different kind of cardio.