Read any fitness magazine or website and they’ll babble on and on about the benefits of scheduling workout sessions with friends. They offer motivation, keep you accountable, make even the most dreaded workout (slightly) more enjoyable. But what about working out with your significant other? Should a couples workout have the same appeal?
“I think working out with your partner can have many of the same benefits as working out with a friend,” says Blaire Massaroni, a personal trainer at Crunch Union Square in New York City. “However, it’s also been shown to strengthen your relationship. From personal experience, I’ve seen couples stay the course on their workout programs longer than with friends. I think it has a lot to do with finding boding time while also working towards something together.” When in the past you had to sacrifice couples time for working in a sweat, now you can enjoy both at once.
Multitasking isn’t the only benefit; we found even more reasons for you to schedule regular gym sessions with your sweetheart.
Again, they keep you motivated.
Just as hitting a yoga class with your BFF makes you twice as likely to attend (can’t keep her hanging!), working out with your significant other has the same motivational appeal—but at a higher intensity. “You are reaching a common goal together, an objective that is taken more seriously when it’s your significant other,” says Dave Donaldson, the owner of Prestige Fitness in the U.K., and who regularly works out with his partner Priya Vekaria. “You just can’t find that same level of reliability with someone else.”
Plus, they keep you accountable to those goals once you leave the gym. “If you are both working towards similar goals, and working on them together, you will be more likely to hold each other accountable in all aspects of life,” says Massaroni. No second piece of cake after dinner? Done, and done together!
They give you honest encouragement.
They’re your biggest fan…but they can also be your toughest critic. When working out with a friend or solo, you’re not going to get the criticism you need. You expect that kind of helpful honesty from a partner. “Priya knows how heavy I need to be lifting or the speed I need to be moving, so if I’m slacking, some brutal honesty is pretty close by,” says Donaldson.
You learn something new.
Just like with any gym buddy, you can learn new ways to work up a sweat and train different muscles. Massaroni works out with her trainer boyfriend Seth Ragaini, and says that it’s really helped her step up her game. “He’s really knowledgable about kettle bells and I’ve learned a lot from him about them. Whereas I’m great at coming up with deliciously hard metabolic conditioning circuits that push us both.” Let’s say you’re intimidated by the free weights room; maybe your paramour is the one to get you past that initial fear. They are, after all, the person you can feel most vulnerable with zero shame.
And you learn something new about each other.
Working out, especially when doing something you love, brings out a passion and intensity. If you’re used to casual nights spent on the couch, you may see your significant other in a whole new light.
It changes up your routine.
Your date routine, that is. As much as we all love a classic romantic night out, it can also get played out pretty quickly when you’re in a long-term relationship. “There can be some very cool shared fitness experiences: imagine hiking with your partner and seeing an amazing sunset,” says Eric Marlowe Garrison, a sex therapist and author. “Or skydiving with them and having that one extra bond that other couples might not have.” In all relationships, spontaneity or even new scheduled experiences can treat a rut.
It spices up your sex life.
“Working out increases testosterone in both men and women,” says Massaroni. “That, in addition to both parties feeling confident in their own skin, has been shown to increase sex drive and improve couples’ sex lives.” Plus, who isn’t turned on by a little sweat session?
Plus, better health often coincides with better sex. “There can be sexual benefits from anything that improves your cardiovascular health, your flexibility and physical endurance,” says Garrison. “Exhausting the body [through exercise] can lead to better sleep and better sleep, in turn, makes sex better too.” However, keep in mind that these benefits ring true whether you work out together or solo.
Here’s one con that may outweigh the benefits: if you already spend a lot of time with your significant other, adding gym time to the mix may overdo it. And if working out is your therapeutic alone time, then why not let it stay that way?
“Sometimes being in a relationship where you train together 5 days a week is great, but just having one training session alone, where you can switch off from each other is healthy too,” says Donaldson. In fact, we insist on it.”
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