My husband and I share several interests in common, including a love for exercise. It was our love of triathlon training and racing that initially brought us together.
Long before talk of marriage or kids, we discussed traveling to various races as an excuse to enjoy different destinations and take advantage of the fitness benefits along the way.
Fast forward thirteen years, and here we are, two kids, a new job, a new location, and a dog later. We still love each other very much, and we continue to love activity. These days, we most often have to split the time and exercise in stacked “shifts” while juggling kids and other domestic responsibilities. However, on the odd occasion we manage to workout together, it is becoming more apparent that our fitness preferences are actually very different.
Different Ideas of Fitness Fun
My husband loves running trails and trekking through the wild outdoors. He delights in bush-whacking, trail-blazing, gator-hurdling adventure. To him, an ideal workout is one that includes a study pair of running shoes, a water bottle, and a trail into the unknown back country where no man has gone before. No map, no GPS, and no formal plan is his favorite way to workout.
His dream exercise plan is my worst nightmare. I don’t care for bugs, I don’t like overexposure to the heat for endless hours, and I dread getting lost out in the middle of the sticks. I am a simple urban girl. I like sticking to city routes or beach runs that host several water fountains along the way. While I don’t enjoy excessive traffic, I do like knowing if I encountered a problem, I am close enough to civilization to flag someone down for help. Encroaching nature simply scares me. I don’t want to meet up with a wild boar on an untamed trail. Stepping up the routine in the gym is my idea of wild.
How can we make peace with such opposing ideas of exercise? Can two people who are so different in physical preferences come together and enjoy a common workout? My hubby and I have had to work hard and make a few concessions along the way. How can we compromise our workout to workout with our partners without compromising our fitness?
Strategies to Enjoy Fitness with Your Partner
Try alternating environments. Agree to run his modified nature trail–one that is not completely overgrown and jungle-like–and he can join you in the gym for a reasonable circuit routine.
Find middle ground. If he loves to mountain bike on treacherous terrain that terrifies you, investigate a more user-friendly trail. You will still be together on bikes without the anxiety of an advanced route.
Experiment with completely new activities that neither of you have experience with. Maybe there is a different sport or fitness outlet that is well-suited to both of you. Think outside of the box and be creative.
Make peace with the discrepancy in your workout preferences. While it is romantic to think we can do everything together, sometimes that is just not realistic. You can run the beach in the morning and he can hike the trails in the afternoon.
People and relationships evolve with time. I never realized just how different my husband and I are when it comes to what makes us truly happy physically. We have learned to participate in some activities together, while other times, I know he will return to me a happier man if he has the freedom to run into the sunset alone, instead of listening to me complain about the dust along the way.