Editor’s note: view expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of the F5 Fitness Blog and the Function 5 Fitness trainers, staff and owners. However, we do hope that you don’t let a new relationship derail fitness goals.
We at F5 Fitness understand that different views on monogamy exist and everyone is entitled to their personal choice. The purpose of this article is to help you keep up with your training for optimal fitness and health, whatever the relationship path you choose may be!
This blog post welcomes Anthony Ristow to the blog. As you all know coach Daniel will be leaving us to pursue full time freelance writing. We will all miss him dearly, but are happy he will be following his passion! As luck would have it, we have a few talented writers on our team, and this will be the first of what we hope is many humorous, insightful and educational posts by our instructor Anthony.
How to NOT Let Your New Relationship Derail Your Fitness
If you take your health and fitness seriously then consistent, dedicated training has to be a priority. And if you fall for someone, or merely fear dying alone, and find yourself in a serious relationship then training still has to be treated as a priority, not expendable or a hindrance; it’s quite the opposite actually. However, a significant other can certainly be a hindrance to your training, if you let it…
Just because someone gives you butterflies in your stomach doesn’t mean you have to let yourself go and smother those flutters with fat rolls. There’s no reason your new significant other and your training regiment can’t coexist. This isn’t your porn collection, it’s not liking Instagram models’ posts of cleavage car selfies or yoga poses with makeup on, it’s not your old college futon, your video game system, or your poker nights with your awful guy friends, (I can’t think of anything girls give up to be in relationships? All of their friends…? Along with their sense of dignity and independent self worth…?). It’s none of those temporary, material, or unnecessary things; it’s your body. And you’re stuck in this body for the rest of your life, but you’re only stuck with your girlfriend or boyfriend’s body for like, a little while probably. Of course, if you really have found ‘the one’ (and I’m sorry you use terminology like that), well, a commitment to personal fitness is only going to help that commitment to the person you choose. (*note: by “you” and “choose” I mean to say the collective pile of socially constructed cultural norms that you have been thrown into and conditioned to believe make up a unique individual with the illusion of free agency rather than just another American meat puppet.)
I’m not saying you should go out for a protein shake and never come back…but that doesn’t mean you have to write a “Dear Gym” letter either. So here are some guidelines – NOT to shunning a serious relationship for the sake of fitness (for they are not mutually exclusive) but – to maintaining a serious training regiment while you’re in one (for the betterment of both yourself and said relationship, i.e. contract for exclusive rights to one another’s genitals):
Lazy In Love
I been sittin’, I been sittin’…We woke up on the couch saying, “How the hell did this shit happen?” You used to be at the gym 5 days a week but a few months into a relationship and pretty soon you’re the person with expensive Lululemon yoga pants you’re afraid to wear without a hoodie tied around the waist, bone-dry spinning shoes, and now purely decorative boxing gloves – because the only thing you hit anymore is send on emails to your friends you’ve abandoned seeing in person. Couples compound each other’s excuses not to leave the house. You not only have that little voice inside your head who always tries to get you to “skip the gym today,” but now you have your current favorite person saying it too. It’s hard to compete with that, but you must stay strong. When people become comfortable in a relationship they start to nest and you must leave the nest sometimes to train. Which brings me to…
Training Creates Healthy Distance
If you want to sap the passion in a relationship just spend all your free time together, don’t have any projects or interests of your own, and definitely skip workouts so you can lay around gazing into one another’s eyes while you get bed sores and your muscles atrophy. Take Each Other For Granted (sometimes, for a good reason: your own body). Honestly, this is the whole point of being in a relationship, getting out of the dating rat race and settling down with someone you actually care about. I agree consistency in your love life can be a very good thing, just like it is in maintaining and building on your fitness (you don’t have to practice “muscle confusion” on your genitals with a new partner every session). By the same token, this also means you now have the illusion of security in a relationship so you don’t constantly have to try to impress someone with your best foot forward, fake persona and kowtow to their every whim…they’ll still be there when you get back from the gym. And yes, honey, I love your cute spontaneity, but no, we don’t HAVE to go to Yogurt Land RIGHT NOW. The sense of urgency has mercifully subsided in a serious relationship so you can both have your own routines and still see each other without getting butthurt that you pushed back the time on taco night because you wanted to get a workout in.
Letting Yourself Go
In an emotional and personality sense, this is a good thing for a relationship: you no longer have to pretend you’re the perfect person, hiding your flaws and insecurities from one another. From a fitness standpoint, letting yourself go is one of the worst things you can do in a relationship. Also, it’s one of the most common, nearly inevitable things that can happen. Be the exception or bikini lines will start to grow untamed and drawstrings will replace belts. And whether eating out or ordering in, relationships are a mine field of excuses to eat more crap. Let’s face it, carbs happen (just like shit) but you don’t need to make it worse with the emotional blackmail that is, “you have to try this…” or “let’s share a dessert…” and what’s worse, no one feels like having sex after appetizers, a four course meal, and 2 bottles of wine on your 40th date; you want to put on something with an elastic waistband and fall asleep with the TV on. Seriously, have you ever had sex on Thanksgiving? Because I have, and it was a mistake I will regret forever. I don’t even like to masturbate after a big meal. Not to mention, you’re working out less and less, if at all, so it’s only going to be that much harder for your body to burn all that fat and adjust to your new lifestyle choice to be a total dick to your digestive system. I’m not saying you two should eat tuna directly from the can over the sink but it’s not indulging if you do it everyday, that’s just an eating habit now. (*note: if your girlfriend loves to bake then you’re just fucked.) You don’t believe me, think I’m being overly dramatic, despite all the studies that link relationships to complacency and weight gain, or your own friends who you’ve witnessed couple off and disappear – even though they’re both actually taking up far more spatial mass since being together – only to resurface every once in a while, maybe, at a birthday thing to not talk to anyone other than each other and then leave early…? Are you really surprised either one of those love barges is not making it to the gym as often? (And you know what, if they’re actually happier wallowing in their own harmonious crapulence together then more peanut butter to them, but if they’ve sacrificed or let go of something vital and important to them – like pursuing a sport or just healthier well being by fitness training on the regular – then that’s going to be detrimental to them as individuals, lovers, and significant others.)
Working Out Helped Get You Here In The First Place
Physical attraction is obviously an incredibly important component to all relationships, and if you’re someone for whom health and fitness is important then that’s clearly part of what attracted your now girlfriend or boyfriend to you. So don’t rest on your laurels once you feel you’ve safely ensnared a significant other to share in your life predicament. They think you’re sexy (and/or wealthy) or they wouldn’t be here so don’t coast and give them a good reason to start looking at you in a different way and let their eye wander. Do your due diligence and stay sexy out of respect to them, your relationship, and yourself.
Sex Is Better When You Workout
Duh. When you workout and feel fit, capable, and healthy then you feel sexier too – both in a natural, biological way (boosts blood flow and testosterone, improves flexibility, stamina, and mood) as well as in the insidious, superficial, heteronormative way that society imposes unattainable beauty norms on us all (but women especially). And nothing hurts sex like the creeping insecurity that often accompanies letting yourself go in a relationship and feeling less attractive (both internally and externally). If you feel sexier and more confident getting naked with someone then you’re going to be sexier and enjoy sex more. (*note to ladies: if your significant other ever discourages you from weight training because, “I don’t want you to get too bulky,” the proper response to this is, “I think you aren’t bulky enough for me” and look down at his crotch – or if that sounds too harsh, or you’re not dating a man, say something like, “I think your preconceived and terribly limited gender norms not only infantilize and disempower me as a person, but they also lead to false notions of health and less efficient fitness for women, not to mention expose you as insecure and basic.”)
You’ll regret it when you two breakup and you’re back on the market with the body of a heavy reader instead of a heavy lifter. (Just kidding, you two crazy kids are going to be together forever because you’re soulmates, best friends, and everything happens for a reason.)
You want to do something good for your relationship, keep training your ass off. Don’t trade in your workout gear for a set of these…
Our next blog, dear fitness readers, will be a short one on how to not let a baby detrimentally effect your training…DON’T HAVE ONE.
– Anthony Ristow
P.S. Obviously F5 owners Roxy and Dustin manager to juggle their relationship and their training by making it an important part of their lives together and separate. They train Muay Thai together, but Roxy trains Kettlebells solo and Dustin trains jujitsu with his team at Cobrinha’s (monogamy and fitness are not doomed after all! 🙂