You’re looking to get in shape together, and that’s a great thing for your bodies and your relationship. But what does “in shape” mean ?
What does it mean for you, and what does it mean for someone else ? How do you go about it ? Do you have some examples or role models around you ?
We’re going to help you with how to get in shape with you spouse, based on our experience of as a couple that got into shape. Read on, and use the table of contents if you want to jump to a specific part.
What does it mean to be in shape ?
The great thing about life is that it an be made to your taste. You exact idea of being in shape can be different from someone else’s, but the general idea will be the same.
- A low body fat percentage, so you are not overweight
- Energy and endurance to get through you day and still fairly fresh by bedtime
- Eating healthy food, that will keep you in shape
- A regular exercise routine
So getting in shape will mean roughly the same thing for most people. Maybe there will be differences in the fat percentage you want to reach, how toned you want your body to get, or how much energy is considered enough.
The point is that there’s always a marked difference after getting in shape, and doing so with your spouse is going to help improve everything.
Your bodies will thank you, your relationship will improve, and your general mood will be lifted.
Alright, but how do you get there ?
How do you get in shape ?
You’l need to know what to do, and we’re here to help. We’ll tell you our tips and pointers along the way.
1. Exercising will help you get in shape faster
Exercising will help you reach a more slim and toned body faster, and here’s why.
When you exercise, you burn calories that your body would otherwise use to simply breathe and eat and do daily chores. If it has less calories to do that from, your body will start using its fat reserves to get through the day.
So it’s going to slowly but surely melt the fat that accumulated in time. This only works if you develop a consistent exercise routine, where you expend energy often.
Now, doing this with your loved one may present some problems. One will get lazy and might even convince the other that skipping gym day would be a good idea. Or maybe start a small argument over why they even need to exercise, dieting is enough.
On the other hand, exercising with your spouse can be the best thing ever since you’re each other’s buddy and support through the workout. It’s a bonding experience.
To know more about exercising as a couple and how you can manage that the best way, you can head over to our article on working out as a couple. You’ll find pointers on how to start, and what to expect when you do.
Now, when you do start working out with your loved one remember that it might take some time to get this habit to stick. After all our bodies are not meant to expend energy just because. We’re meant to conserve energy, keep it on our bodies in case a pack of wolves or famine happen.
But we’re long past that period in our history, it’s just that our bodies haven’t adjusted to it yet. Another problem is the food we usually eat.
It now requires actual thought and intention to eat healthy, since the cheapest and most readily available foods are usually processed foods, or frozen/pre-made. Which is rarely a healthy choice in terms of nutrients and even the texture of the food.
So we recommend getting yourselves into a regular exercise routine, to get into shape better. If you’re wondering about where to start, you can check out our 8 ideas for couple’s workout classes to start with.
2. What you eat is the biggest part of getting in shape
It might sound odd, but dieting is the biggest factor for how well your body is working. Actually, this is something many people would love to avoid, and we’ve kind of avoided as well. The very word ”dieting” doesn’t sound fun. It can make you think of food restrictions and salads everywhere.
But the thing is, when we say dieting we mean what you eta on a regular basis, but healthy. So if we’re going to go by the average Western meals, with heavy carbs and sweets, we most probably won’t be in shape.
However if we take a closer look at what we eat, we’ll find out interesting things, like:
- not all carbs are bad, but we overeat them so so much
- protein is what will help us lose weight and get lean the most
- fibers are mandatory, and unfortunately most processed foods are poor in fiber content
- vegetables and legumes help digestion and are mandatory for a balanced diet
- there’s good fat and bad fat, and you can choose between them
For example, simply lowering your carbohydrate intake can lead to a reduced waistline, less bloating, and more energy. Not cutting out completely, because we still need them. But we need whole carbohydrates, like wholemeal bread, wholegrain pasta, brown rice, and so on.
If you want a clearer view into what makes the food we eat so important, you can find our article on the perfect grocery list. You’ll also find a detailed explanation on how each nutrient helps your body stay slim.
So if you and your loved one are getting ready to get in shape, be mindful of what you eat. It sounds easy, and it kind of is. But it’s the daily effort of it that can make things difficult sometimes.
For this we recommend reading up on what it’s like to diet as a couple, and how you can have the best results with a diet. What obstacles to expect, and how to get along with each other during that time.
Of course every couple is different, and you may experience something we did not. Or not experience something we stumbled upon.
But the main idea is that dieting with your spouse is going to be a new experience for both of you, and you’ll benefit from being prepared beforehand. So read on to find out more.
3. Healthy hobbies and activities help you stay in shape easier
A large part of what we do every day can is automation and habit. Often, we don’t stop to think about whether they benefit our health, and what they can do to our bodies.
So that’s why we’ve put this topic here, to bring your attention to what you do every day. Does it involve regular exercise, even if it’s just walking ? Does it get you out of the house often ?
For example one of the hobbies/habits we’ve cultivated in time is taking long walks every day, even in winter. It burns a few calories, it gets us out of the house, and it’s easy enough to do.
You maybe already have such a habit or activity that helps you. Do you have to do serious garden work every day ? Does your job need you to be always on your feet, from here to there ? Are you walking to and from work instead of taking the bus or car ?
The main idea of this is that the more energy you expend in a day, the easier it is to get in shape. This is aside from the dieting part, that still stands.
If you’re wondering what some healthy couple hobbies are, you can check our 9 ideas on the hobbies that you can practice as a couple and get a bit of a workout as well.
Whatever you do choose as a hobby or activity to do together with your spouse, make sure it involves some calories burned as well. That way you’ll have an easier time getting in shape (aside from working out and dieting) and staying in shape as well.
4. Having a plan and goals will help you get in shape faster
Even if you’re not entirely sure how you want to get in shape, a plan and goals are a must.
You might say that getting in shape is the goal. Fair enough, but how do you measure if you’re in shape or not ?
Talk with your spouse and decide together on some clear markers of what means ”in shape” for each of you. Maybe to you it means a slim waist, but to your spouse it means not tiring when you climb up more that 2 sets of stairs.
So set together a list of ways that you can identify that you’re in shape. Tick them off, one by one, once you reach them. You’ll see your goals come to fruition much easier, and find encouragement in this.
On the other hand, having a clear, solid plan will save you both from messing up too much. True, slip ups do happen and we’ve had our fair share of weight dropped and gained back and dropped again.
But a plan is going to do a lot in terms of preparedness, and getting through the tough times.
In that plan, you should have:
- The type of exercise you’ll do. It can be different for each of you if you want.
- The amount of time in the week you can dedicate towards this, in hours
- How you’ll split your exercise days
- The kind of diet/food you’ll have
- What other activities you can do that will help you get fit faster
- Your goals, and the mini-goals that get you to them as well
- A backup plan – what’s your go-to when you have a low energy day ?
For the most part that plan has to be stuck to. Some things may come up that you didn’t plan for, like a party or wedding and your diet will be in danger there.
But you’ll be alright as long as you stick to your plan, if that plan is well thought out.
Even if it’s not, remember that getting in shape take a bit of time, so don’t beat yourselves up over how long it takes.
Here’s how we got in shape, and how it can help you
When Dragos and I met we weren’t overweight, or underweight either. We were fairly average looking. Maybe Dragos was a bit better looking since he did a lot of sports in high school and college.
But neither of us was fit, or clearly in shape.
1. We started eating healthy
A few years ago we started working with a company that dealt in weight loss supplements. That got us much more careful with what we eat, since nutrition and health became a big topic in our lives.
We were working every day with people who trusted us with their weight loss progress, so we had to know what we were doing.
So we slowly adjusted our daily meals, the kinds of foods we ate. Talked to more and more doctors and nutritionists that were in that company about how to take care of our bodies, aside from vitamins and fish oil.
For us the best combination was a diet that had a lower intake of carbs, in that we avoided eating carbohydrates in the second half of the day.
We had bread in the morning, and some biscuits as a snack before lunch, but after that we stuck to veggies and protein. Our dinners became light, like a creamed soup or salad.
Our meal times became kind of fixed, in that we ate around the same time every day. We started eating breakfast, which was a big thing for us and it’s what helped us lost the most weight, we think.
We stopped working with weight loss supplements when we saw that our clients had great results even with just dieting and exercise. So we resigned from that company and since then focused solely on nutrition and exercise.
We can’t really calculate how much weight we lost, since we also gained muscle mass, and it weighs as well. But we’ll tell you our ‘scores’ so you can get a clearer picture:
- before we met – Dragos 76 kg/167 lbs, Alexandra 46 kg/101 lbs
- after we gained relationship weight – Dragos 80 kg/ 176 lbs, Alexandra 52 kg/114 lbs
- after working out, dieting, and adding muscle mass – Dragos 74 kg/163 lbs, Alexandra 49 kg/108 lbs
So these are all with muscle mass added, since I put on a lot of leg and ab muscle. Dragos already had a fair amount of muscle mass since he’d worked out a lot before.
2. We started working out together to lose the weight
If you just look at the numbers, it might sound like we didn’t have much weight to lose.
But weight wasn’t the most important thing here, we were more concerned with how we looked. Muscle takes up less space than fat, even if you cut a piece that weighs the same for both.
So we were more concerned with inches/centimeters than our respective weights. We started visiting a nearby gym, and started with the most basic exercises we knew. Slowly we worked our way up to heavier weights, and executing our exercises with better form.
There was a difference in how we worked out, and there still is. It comes down to personal preference, yes, but it’s also dictated by what most women are after and what most men are after.
So my workout is usually 30% cardio, and a lot of ab and leg workouts. The rest of the time I cram in arms and back workouts, but with less focus than what I’ve already mentioned.
Dragos focuses more on core and upper body workouts, with a not much focus on cardio. So of course there are differences between us at the gym, so feel free to exercise differently than your spouse if you need or want to.
What we’ve always insisted upon was being physically close to one another in the gym. We could help each other with weights, or talk about something, or even give a supporting hug every now and then.
We kept a 5 times per week gym schedule, an hour each visit. We think this helped a lot, since a lot of our work was just getting used to getting to the gym.
My personal experience with the gym was a odd at first, since I knew I had to go so I could get in shape and help our clients, but sometimes the laziness was just too much.
That’s where Dragos came in and brought be to the gym most of the times, even just to do half an hour of light workouts. Just to train our minds that exercise is needed, and is a habit.
What we’ve learned by getting in shape together
All that progress took us a while, and we’ve learned a few things about getting in shape as a couple. So we’ll pass the knowledge onto you, so you’ll be prepared when you start with your spouse.
1. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s doable
You’ve maybe heard people tell you how to get in shape before. And it’s always easy, like ”oh just stop eating junk food and hit the gym”. Well duh, we all know that, but doing it isn’t that easy.
The one obstacle we’ve hit the most is the daily part. The repetition. The gym visits that are always the same. The food that you’re better off without looks great in the first few weeks, and there’s the smell of pizza somewhere nearby.
If you and your spouse are planning on getting in shape together, consider talking about how to keep each other in line when it comes to daily habits, and getting to the gym and eating well.
You’ll find it gets easier after a few months, but the first few days and weeks will challenge your determination.
2. It’s much easier as a couple
We’ve looked at other people who were at the same gym as us, and looked at friends as well.
IF you don’t have a buddy, it’s much harder. We’ve seen people come to the gym for a couple of weeks before disappearing, and the reappearing 8 months later for a few days, then off they went.
We’ve also seen friends discourage their partner from going to the gym as much, since it cut into their couple time.
In our case, we both exercised so we found it much easier. Our couple time included the gym as well.
We’ve seen problems with the diets, if one partner wasn’t on a diet. One trying to eat well, and skip the cheesecake at lunch, only to be tempted by their partner to try a bite of their cheesecake.
It’s never pretty. So if you and your spouse are serious about getting in shape together, consider yourselves lucky. You’ll both be on the same path, doing the same things (almost), and able to support each other beautifully.
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3. No pill or detox or shake will work if YOU don’t
This we’ve learned from our clients when we were working with the weight loss supplements company. There were many people who bought those supplements in the hopes that they would help them shed weight.
And they did. But they can only do so much.
For example a detox will help you lose weight fast and start your weight loss journey, but you can’t eat junk food during a detox and expect it to work. That’s not how it works.
Or, getting a bottle or carbohydrate blockers, and then ordering pizza. Those pills can only block a certain percentage of the carbs you eat, they will not block just everything.
So whenever you see an ad for some weight loss pill, remember that basically everything works for weight loss. But you have to put some effort in as well.
You still have to stop with the junk food, eat healthy, and exercise. The pills and detox are just as an aside, they will help but the most help will be from you and your diet.
4. Everything is fixable
If you cheat your diet, or skip gym, or something else that hinders your progress, you can fix it.
Just keep on keeping on and the days of healthy eating and working out will balance out the occasional mishaps.
On the same note, a sprained knee is fixable as well. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to stop exercising, but you can exercise differently.
Of course, you should visit a doctor to fix it properly. But aside from that, nothing major will happen. Your body part will heal, as long as you give it time.
Even if what needs to be fixed is your relationship, that can be fixed too. A roaring argument over when to eat can be talked out afterwards if you’re both loving and willing to listen.
These are all things we’ve gone through, and managed to fix on our own. So don’t stress too hard over one thing or another. Do treat it seriously, but remember that you can fix it.
5. Getting in shape takes time, no point in rushing
This is an entire process that you and your spouse are starting. It will take time since you’re both unlearning old habits, and learning new ones.
That can be frustrating on its own anyway, so have patience with yourselves. That plan we said you should write out probably has a timeline. Don’t freak out if things don’t go according to that timeline, they might take more time than you anticipated.
Don’t compare yourselves to other couples, and not to each other either. Unless you’re of very similar height, build, weight, you’re going to get very different results.
We found out on our own how to get in shape the best way – through your own effort. And doing so with your spouse can make thing much easier. Just be sure to support and help each other along the way.
We hope this article was helpful to you, and you feel prepared to start on this journey with your loved one. We wish you all the best, and stay safe.
Feel free to look around our blog, you might like some other article as well.