T Nation

Lifting, Progress, and Sig. Other Jealousy


Me and the Mrs. were kicking around the idea of why so many spouses get intimidated or jealous at the other when he/she takes up lifting and actually improves their physique.

We know of a few couples that are really at odds with each other becasue one decided to do something for themselves while the other sat by and then got envious after seeing the improvements the other made. We think it's a bit odd, becasue we really like that fact together we work hard to improve ourselves and we encourage each other.

My wife is newer to training and eating in the fashion that I've been doing, but she picked it up and is now addicted to it. She feels better, looks beter, and likes what she sees in the mirror more.

Why would someone's spouse get jealous of this new found happiness that the other is enjoying? You would think that the other would feed off that and maybe make changes to themselves. Any thoughts?


I think it largely stems from people being rather used to staying complacent and feeling content. When one person starts to make drastic (or even not so drastic) changes and focus on improving their current situation, the other might feel even more lazy and apathetic to change.

"Do you think you're better than me? You can't give up the foods you love. You'll never make it to the gym three times a week; you're too busy. Aren't you happy with me and the way things are?"

If the relationship is strong to begin with and the couple is honest, trustworthy, and always striving to better themselves (either mentally or physically), then the mutation from sedentary and stagnant to active and dynamic should be embraced and present a worthy challenge for the both of them.



It's not just your SO, family gets jealous as well. My brother constantly asks me if I'm on steroids, because I'm so huge, ha! My sister thinks I'm a freak because I don't eat bread anymore because I'm a FFB and I just don't do well with bread.

My mom refuses to stop drinking soy milk, saying I don't know what I'm talking about when I tell her it's bad. She also has to tell me how great the southbeach diet is every time I see her, even though she is also fatter every time I see her.

My family, is far from thin or healthy. My dad has survived colon cancer and two heart attacks. One of the main reason why I started lifting was so I do as much preventative maintenance as I can before I hit his age and hopefully avoid the health problems.

Both my brothers on the other hand are well on their way. They eat shit, are overweight, and don't do much of anything along the lines of physical activity. We used to mountain bike together but they are so out of shape I have to either go so slow it's no fun for me, or they get winded.

My sister is a dance teacher, she dances for 5 hours a night 5 hours a week, her diet is so shit she still can't work off the baby weight from 6 months ago. Seriously, I could eat all the shit I want, and if I danced that often, Baryshnikov would be my bitch and I'd be ripped as shit. It just boggles my mind.


Nate, what are you, like 50? Seriously, you have some wise words for such a young lad. Quit making me feel stupid.

My answer: far too many people are individually insecure, and while they have no business being in relationships at all, even an unhealthy relationship provides that basic lowest level of security they seek ... people are not happy, and they do not want one another to be either.

Cynical Monday presented by Dan


Insecurity in the relationship. I've seen it more in older couples or where both were failure out of shape and one gets in shape. The spouse feels like they're more likely to move onto something 'better'


I'm liking the responses, as these ideas have been taken into account. It's amazing how people love company in misery.


South Beach is not a bad way to eat. Similar to Berardi but lower calorie and without the nutrient timing. she must not be doing it right or 'cheating'.


I hear this a lot.


I have to say, as BigRagoo's wife--it's a turn on to see him so involved in making himself a healthier and better looking person. We've been together for 10 years and I remember the days when I used to try and talk him out of going to the gym.

I re-named his protein "muscle-crack" just to discourage him, and attempted everything in the book to get him to forget his obsession with working out.

But now, he has motivated me to be a better person. Although my father is the one who originally got me interested in working out at 15; Lee is the one who encouraged me to pursue it more so now that I'm pushing 30 and had our child 2 years ago.

I love the fact that he takes care of himself and I'm impressed that he has been doing this non-stop for the last 15+ years. He's been a positive influence on me and I love that about him. How could I ever be jealous?


I think that one of the highest compliments you can pay to your spouse/girl or boyfriend/partner is manifest in making the right choices for yourself.

The more you have - the more you have to give. Training/eating clean together with make you a stronger couple, physically. Each person will develop differently though, and experience growith in a way that is unique.

I think that an overcommitment to training as the basis of your growth together..can be dangerous If each person isn't still invested in their own goals, and endeavors.

I personally find it refreshing to know that despite his 430 deadlift 1RM (as compared to my
2-something) ... we are absolutely together in the parallel factors that accompany training. It's motivates me (personally) to eat clean, get meaningful rest, and keep my mind healthy so that I can keep him challenged as well.

(Great thread, by the way!)



Isn't it awesome when you both realize this? It keeps the ball rolling and , like you said, bring the two of you together. Hence why I asked the question at first. If you love the person, how could you get jealous at the fact that they are bettering themselves. In a way, it is for the benefit of you also.


If the relationship is strong to begin with and the couple is honest, trustworthy, and always striving to better themselves (either mentally or physically), then the mutation from sedentary and stagnant to active and dynamic should be embraced and present a worthy challenge for the both of them.


My boyfriend is a Ninja already, thanks.

Does the "Green"-factor predispose you to adjectives as such?

I prefer the term "development" in my relationship.

Ahhh. Semantics.
Good post, though, Nate. You're a smartie.
(Obviously a Christmas edition Green one)


But this is the rarer of the cases I've seen. Usually the other gets huffy and starts to belittle the other for "changing". Why does that person become the enemy?


Is your name ACTUALLY maryjane, or is that a joke?


It's her nickname. She got it in college casue her name is Mary and um, we used to smoke....stuff.


A female family member of mine married a complete jerk. She was basically overweight from a young age and he "uses" that. His attitude and way of speaking tells her : "You don't deserve anything, you should be gratefull that I love you"

After me and my wife started making progress (thanks to this site) she also wanted some info. Her husband threatened both of us, telling us that he would not tolerate us threatening his marriage.

It's all about control.


What a sad fucker. That is way messed up.


I agree with jsbrook. I think it has more to do with personal insecurities that people put onto their partner. 'If my spouse loses weight, maybe they'll realize they can do better than me and move on.'

Nate also brings up valid points. When I straightened out my diet and started improving, I was getting shit from co-workers on the ship. It was okay for the fatties to take a 10-15 minute break several times a day and go suck down a Twinkie and soda, or smoke half a pack of cigarettes in one sitting, but I wasn't allowed to stop twice a day to mix a protein shake and chug it down. Not a dating/marriage thing, but the same point is made. People hate to see someone else improving while they are not, and they will try to sabotage your progress because it's too hard for them to get off their fat asses.

During the same period on the ship, I had a friend who was a regular at the base club. He would be there from knock-off time until the bar closed, drinking beer non-stop with his friends. He decided he was tired of it, and started working out with me. In the week or so that he showed up, he already looked years younger because all the alcohol was sweat out of his syte, and he wasn't drunk or hungover 24/7. But his drinking buddies got jealous, and lured him back in.


Nice post Roo and Mary, kinda gives me some inkling of hope as your scenario sounds simlar.


Well don't change your ways for someone else, especially if it is for your health and happiness. She will either learn and love you, or give you shit and all the reasons not to stay with her. The thing is to not let someone keep you from being who you are.