If we had a dollar for every time we went to the gym with our sweetie, well… we wouldn’t have a lot of dollars. But hey, that’s okay! The good news is that there are plenty of fun ways to break a sweat with your partner without a boring trip to the treadmill as a duo. Even better: Working out with friends or someone you love will leave you feeling more connected, stronger and healthier than ever. Just don’t forget to throw on your new wearable tech for a little friendly competition.
1. Have a Backyard Race: Sometimes it’s fun to relive the playful joy of childhood. And who better to do that with than your adult partner in crime? “When outside for a barbeque or dinner on the patio, take a break in between courses and engage in a wheelbarrow race! You and your partner can take turns, which will strengthen your upper body in a fun and creative way,” suggests Martin Hinton, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of Fitness at TruFusion in Las Vegas.
2. Medicine Balls: Grab these handy tools at your local athletic store or order ’em online. “Whenever I’m training with couples, I include medicine ball combinations — these always get them both laughing and it’s an awesome workout,” says Cat Smiley, master trainer and owner of Whistler Fitness Vacations, a weight-loss retreat for women in B.C., Canada. “Start with the basic throw — stand about 10 feet apart with one foot forward, hold the ball with two hands and throw from your chest, bending your knees and extending your arms straight.” Feeling ambitious? “Once you’ve got the basic throw down, you can move into twisted throws, which is throwing the ball like a rugby pass, with the arms starting in straight position by your thighs and using your obliques to power the ball straight to your partner, who catches it. Or, for a great tricep burn, stand a little closer, about six feet, and throw the ball vertically overhead, using the triceps to extend.”
3. Have a Netflix Stretch Session: Get ready to fire up the best of January 2016 on Netflix. “Stretching is just as important to your fitness routine as strength and cardio. When at home watching Netflix with your partner, take turns helping your partner stretch. You can sit in front of your couch in a forward fold and have your partner on the couch press their feet into your shoulders to help you get deeper into the pose,” offers Liz Cuttica, instructor at Studio Three/Peloton in Chicago. “Hold the position for 12-15 seconds while focusing on your breath, then switch.” Or try this: “While sitting on the couch watching TV, you and your partner can turn toward one another and stretch your legs straight out so you are feet-to-feet on the couch. Grab each other’s arms, bend at the waist and stretch each other forward. You can get a killer hamstring stretch while catching up on The Bachelor!” says Hinton.
4. Share Your Rest Days: “Man, going to my Glutes Gone Wild class while my darlin’ Netflix and chills rocks!”… said no one ever. Turns out sharing rest days with your partner can be a valuable tool in fostering a more fulfilling, fit, active life. “Rest days are the secret weapon to getting stronger and staying injury-free,” shares Cuttica. “Sundays usually are the days my husband and I don’t go to the studio for our workouts, however, I always make sure I hold a forearm plank for at least two minutes every day. On Sundays, we like to compete to see who can hold the forearm plank with the proper alignment (ears in line with shoulders, in line with hips, navel pulled into the spine) the longest,” she adds. Whether your rest day competition is plank-holding, striking tree pose together or squatting to see who lasts longer, slip in a moment of fun and friendly competition.
5. Make Date Night Active: Yes, Uber might make getting around town easier than making toast. But walking to your date night is a simple way to slip in some extra movement (without worrying about ruining your date night makeup). “I get stir crazy in the house and I love to be active, so my husband and I will go for a walk with a far, yet fun destination in mind. If we want to try another bar in a different neighborhood, we’ll walk there, get a drink and walk home. It gets us out of the house and moving while saving money on transportation,” says Cuttica.
6. Build a Snowman: So it might have been pushing 70 on the east coast during Christmas, but when and if that winter wonderland weather finally sinks in, make like Taylor Swift + Calvin Harris, grab your boo and get packin’. Snow, that is. “Lift snow together, pack it into a snowman and get creative! Warning: It may move into a snowball fight, so may the fastest runner win!” exclaims Smiley.
7. Boxing: The couple that spars together, stays together. “Sparring gloves are found at most department stores like Walmart, and are a fun thing to have in your house when you want to blow off some steam. Buy the big pink boxing gloves and get your punching on while he holds the targets, then switch tasks. Give each other pointers and build your defense skills by practicing different combinations, such as left, then right, then uppercut. And left-right-left-right for a minute. Or jab-jab-hook. Set a timer on your phone and wait for the bell,” says Smiley. “This is sure to bring you closer and burn some fast calories!”
8. Grocery shopping: Dinner never tasted so good! “This is an idea that turned out to be pretty good for my own physical training. I live about two miles from a grocery store. We jog to the store to grab whatever food we need for dinner or breakfast, and instead of using a cart, we use baskets. We pile up as much as we can carry and work our grip strength walking back to the house with the groceries in hand,” offers Cristina Osorio, fitness instructor and kettle bell enthusiast at TruFusion in Las Vegas. “Two miles with about 10-15 pounds of groceries in your hands leaves you sweaty and winded by the time you get home,” she adds. If your go-to grocer is right in your ‘hood, make it a point to pick a different supermarket, or look up a fun ethnic market and decide on a recipe to cook together as a reward for your walking.
9. Torch Calories While Cooking: “While cooking dinner at the stove or chopping vegetables at the counter, you and your partner can be doing calf raises too,” offers Hinton. “Want to kick things up a notch? Take turns doing sets of squats while one person is stirring. Switch off after sets of ten. Hopefully when the meal is done, your legs will be burning (and not the food!)” he adds. Need some healthy meal inspiration? Look no further than our favorite healthy Instagrammers.
10. Go for a Climb: “This is a weekly ritual of taking a night out and instead of spending money on an expensive dinner and a movie, you go to the rock gym and climb together,” suggests Osorio. “Being at different skill levels makes it more interesting, because your partner may contribute some useful information about a climb you are stuck on and can’t complete. You can work on bouldering problems together, belay each other on routes and just spend a few hours appreciating how awesome you both are.”
Tweet us your favorite couples workouts @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty, Netflix + @taylorswift)