I met my husband through triathlon, so it isn’t much of shocker that the majority of our dates involve sweating in some way, shape or form. Whether it’s a Saturday morning swim followed by a leisurely brunch or a hike to watch the sun set over our city, Neil and I prefer our dates to be of the active variety.
When most people think “date night,” they think of dinner and a movie. I can get behind that idea, but I can really get behind this:
Though Neil and I are often training for the same races, we don’t typically train together. For one, we’re different speeds; he also has different objectives than I do when it comes to training. It also doesn’t help that we’re both fiercely competitive — it’s hard to maintain lovey-dovey feelings when you’re suppressing the urge to put a stick through your husband’s spokes (he’s just so damn fast!).
Still, we’ve found ways to maintain our love for exercise — and each other — by keeping a few low-key date nights in the rotation. Here’s what we’ve learned along the way!
1. Lower the Stakes
Agree to focus on fun, not fitness. If one of you is trying to race to the top of a mountain while the other is enjoying the scenery along the way, are you really sharing an experience? Choose low-stakes workouts, like those taking place during vacations or recovery days, and remove the pressure to perform.
2. Pack Your Patience
Chances are, you’re used to doing things a certain way — running at a certain pace or following a certain routine in the weight room. Your partner is used to doing things a certain way, too. Be considerate as you merge your two approaches to activity. “Different” doesn’t necessarily mean “wrong.”
3. Talk it Out
As in all aspects of a successful relationship, communication is key when exercising with your partner. Do you need her to slow down so you can keep up? Tell her. Wish he would stop steering your tandem kayak to the left? Speak up. Keeping it in leads to resentment, and resentment doesn’t bode well for romance.
4. Don’t Overdo It
One of the best parts of working out with your partner is the motivation to push just a little bit harder than you might normally. It’s natural to want to impress your paramour with your ability to keep up with his faster pace, or to imitate the pretzel-like contortions your yogi girlfriend can do; however, don’t hurt yourself.
5. Be Supportive
Kindness is sexy, y’all. It’s a lot more fun to work out with someone who is encouraging than it is to be berated for not immediately mastering the perfect golf swing or failing to run six-minute miles.
6. Try Something New
Try something totally new for both of you — in addition to being fun, a novel activity puts both of you at the same level. So long as you can both laugh at yourselves, it can be endearing to stumble through a dance class together or awkwardly balance on each other during couples’ yoga.
7. Wager Wisely
If you’re like me, it’s hard to suppress the competitive fire. On date night, channel that into something positive — say, the person who strikes out the most at the batting cages has to buy coffee.
What’s your favorite way to work out with your honey? —Susan