T Nation

Significant Others


#1

How many of you are in relationships with people as dedicated to working out as you are? If they aren’t, is it a problem?

I ask because I noticed looking back on my twenties when I was into martial arts, my relationships with martial artists worked out better than with other women. And I’ve known a couple of guys who work out as hard as they do to keep their hot girlfriends around.


#2

My fiancee (who is getting her promotion to “wife” in less than 2 weeks) and I talk about this a lot.

Both of us are dedicated to fitness (not “stage-level physique competitor” dedicated, but “we care about what we eat and exercise every day with some defined goals” dedicated). Both of us feel that our commitments to fitness are a sufficiently defining characteristic that it would be problematic if we were with someone who was much less interested. Our specific goals and interests are slightly different (i.e. I train primarily with barbells and kettlebells and sprinkle in a yoga class or two; she does mostly yoga and sprinkles in kettlebell workouts every so often) but close enough that we work out together at least a couple times a week.

Personally, I’d be fine with someone who worked out 2-3 days a week instead of 6 days a week, as long as they were consistent and engaged with it. However, I would not do very well in a relationship with someone who was completely ambivalent about fitness. I think it’s just as much about the attitude and interest as it is the specifics of how many workouts, etc.


#3

Nice, congrats bro! :+1:


#4

If being in agreement on everything is what keeps you together, it isn’t going to be a lasting relationship. Long term there will always be significant disagreements and struggles. The measure of the strength of a relationship is how well you deal with struggles, not as much how well you avoid them. For example, what happens to your relationship with medically complicated issues? If your significant other becomes depressed, lethargic, and gains weight only to find out she has thyroid cancer? Or with the hormones and challenges of pregnancy and children?

In modern times, “compatibility” is largely overrated and effort and work underrated in a relationship.


#5

You make a good point. I did have a g/f who didn’t care about working out herself but at least didn’t get in the way of mine. But I was also in a relationship with a woman who was very serious about the yoga/vegetarian lifestyle and got on my case about my weight lifting and obsession with high protein eating. :worried:


#6

None of the women I’ve dated have put in as much gym time as I have either, but most of them understood my need for that gym time.


#7

Yeah, there is a big difference between being into everything you are and being supportive of you.


#8

Congratulations, AG!

My fiance does not work out, however he is very physically active in his leisure time. Fun for him includes building stone walls, cutting and splitting our firewood (5-6 cords), shoveling, construction projects, etc. He also loves to hike, play hockey, ride bikes - recreational stuff like that.

I work out. Unless I’m injured I generally run and/or lift 5X/wk. Yesterday a rower arrived (a Concept 2, I’m excited) because over the past year I’ve been injured and sidelined from the running too much.

It doesn’t impact us. I wouldn’t be able to be with someone sedentary, but he doesn’t have to do what I do.


#9

DD: this is probably a better way of putting it. My fiancee and I don’t have to do the same thing all the time, but both of us actively enjoy fitness and like that our significant other is supportive of that. Perhaps I should have said that we both like being with someone active because we feel supported in our own pursuits, and (had we not found each other) we would be concerned about the dynamics of a relationship with a partner who potentially would be less supportive.

I used to do a lot of long-distance running and ran with a crowd of very, very fast people for awhile (guys and gals who are on the fringes of the Olympic Trials, or were in their prime, anyway). One of the guys, who was a college cross-country star and now coaches, had an ex-wife that didn’t understand why he wanted to run so much - she would say things like “Do you really have to run every day? Can’t you just run a couple times a week?”

(Yes, I understand that there’s a lot of missing context, and that depending on what’s going on in the rest of their lives this could a reasonable ask - i.e. if he’s jaunting off without warning and leaving her stuck to watch the four kids and wash the dishes and do the laundry despite agreeing that he would share the chores, yeah, that’s shitty. But this was/is a guy who loved running, it was part of his identity from the time they met, and they probably should have figured this stuff out before they got married. We can pursue this tangent further, but back to the regularly scheduled programming)

We could go much further down a rabbit hole about different perspectives on marriage and sacredness of vows, which I’d prefer not to. Point is, if you are a person that is into fitness and want to feel supported in that, I don’t think it’s a horrible thing to use that as a criteria of something you look for in a partner.


#10

Not me.

Not when we were sitting on our asses drinking beer and eating cheese together. Once I decided I was going to “hit the gym, like for real this time” things got real rocky, real fast and mostly stayed rocky for about two years until we finally split up last year.

We’ve both lost a lot of weight since then. So what they say is true. When the going gets tough, give misery a try for a few years, and then run away from your problems.

Run to the hills, run for your lives.
Run to the hills, run for your lives.


#11

My wife will go running a few times a week and do pilates-type workouts. Certainly not a fitness-crazed person. She stuck by me through my transformation from 150 lb twink with abs to 240 lb powerlifter. She supports my crazy passion and understands that its a part of who I am, even though it wasn’t who I was when she met me.


#12

Great example of why it’s not about magical chemistry and is about working with each other and being supportive.

I’ll take me and my wife for example. I love to train (too much actually). My wife takes the little one to and from school, and with that time I get my training in. I wake up early and get in a short lifting session every morning. On days where my wife stays home with the little, I get home early from work and take over daughter duty. On days when the little goes to school I get a second session in the evening before my wife gets home from picking up the little. In exchange I take the little when my wife goes to the gym on weekends and do all the nighttime duties.

I get in about 10 sessions a week without it forcing my wife to take care of the little (and cook and clean and everything) for all that time I’m lifting. BUT I get up at 5 AM and my wife does all the extra driving to pick up and drop off the little at school. Plus she gets an extra 30-45 minutes alone every night while I’m brushing teeth, putting on PJs, and reading bedtime stories.

I don’t care how much you both do or don’t like training, that schedule and compromise doesn’t happen because of innate compatibility. It’s thought, communication, and some sacrifice on both sides.


#13

My wife is mostly sedentary, which has been difficult for me, because If I could, I wouldn’t ever watch TV or be inside. I was a four sport HS athlete and played college baseball. Now I am a player/manager of a baseball team in the summer and play pickup basketball/volleyball/football, and lift often. I’ve learned to spend quality time with the wife in other ways than what would be normal for me. It actually was difficult the first year or two of being married, because she didn’t understand the daily need and diet restrictions. Actually, I was able to convince her to let me convert my garage into a gym, so I wouldn’t be gone as much. ha

In all my previous relationships the girls were as active or, in one case, WAY more intense than I was. That was fine, but the relationship never went beyond working out, training MMA, etc.

Being active is only one aspect of my life, If I share it with my wife (which she is showing some interest now), great. If not, we enjoy doing lots of other things together, ie. travel, nice dinners, wine tours, stand up paddle boarding, hosting dinners etc.


#14

my current girlfriend takes the fitness thing more seriously than any other girlfriend I’ve had, but she’s not super obsessed with it.

Honestly, I think I’d find dating someone who was mega obsessed with the gym way harder than someone who was sedentary. I have a lot of vices, and I like a girl with vices of her own.

My girl takes her diet and training seriously enough to stay in really good shape, but not so much that if I’m like “fuck it - I’m ordering pizza” she’ll not eat pizza too. Pretty perfect, really.

It’s not really important to me that a girl shares all my interests.


#15

This is it exactly. Hockey is strong and healthy. Beyond that I don’t care, and would much rather have him sleeping while I work out at 5:45 am (if he can manage to sleep through my Bose-blasted music) than have him looking all grim and disappointed when I plow through a burger and fries or decide to drink immoderately.


#16

I’m currently not being actively subverted most of the time - that’s a great situation as far as I’m concerned.

I used to go out with a reasonably successful soccer player and that was fairly cool but there wasn’t a huge focus on what goes on off the field. I think I’d lose it pretty quickly with someone who was totally full on.


#17

Wife is a distance runner (something like 22 half marathons and 2 fulls under her belt) while I’m the strongman competitor. It works really well. We’re not the odd couple that the internet would have you believe. Instead, we’re both athletes at heart, but since our sports are so fundamentally different we don’t get into each other’s bubble. I’m not giving her advice on how to train for runs, she doesn’t give me advice on how to be a strongman, and we both cheer for each other and learn about the other sports. Anyone that has ever tried to give/receive advice from a loved one knows how terrible an idea that is, so you can see why I think this is such a blessing.

It also helps, because she’ll drop 100+ on a pair of shoes every 2 months or so, and then I’ll drop 4-500 on a piece of strongman equipment once a year or so, and neither one of us will judge the other, haha.

I do the cooking for the most part because my diet is a little crazier than hers, but she likes to eat the way that I do these days, so it works out.

And just a fun bit of history; we met in college, back when I was trying to get into MMA and she was big into volleyball. Always been athletes, the sports have just changed.


#18

this is exactly what I was trying to say. I want my girl to be in shape but not so dedicated that she turns her nose up at pizza and rum


#19

When I was in my 20s, I started dating a girl I met at the dojo. We’re getting married in April. So, yeah, this situation can work out pretty well.

Over the years, my girl has gone through different phases of training for various reasons (health issues, 60-hour work weeks, etc), but she was always active. Currently, she lifts 2 days a week, does 1-2 yoga classes a week (one is a “restorative yoga” class which isn’t a workout-workout), and occasionally bikes in the AM before work or we’ll walk the dog for an hour or so once a week.

If I had a partner who didn’t exercise at all and/or didn’t understand that it’s an important part of my life (literally part of my career), I do believe it’d be a source of tension but like DoubleD was saying, it should be something that can be figured out if you both work on it. Compromise, as it relates to many things in a relationship, is crucial.

Unless you’re an actual competitor, you don’t need to workout 15 hours a week and be a fussy diva at restaurants. Actually, @The_Mighty_Stu has talked a lot about how, when he was competing, he led as normal a “real life” as possible and did what he could to not let the training/nutrition interfere at home or work.

And, @ActivitiesGuy, for some reason I thought you guys already got hitched. Congrats, man. Also congrats, @EmilyQ on the engagement. Missed that one before. Glad to hear it


#20

I agree about not needing to work out 15 hours a week if you aren’t competing, but there is a history of diabetes in my family so I’m fussy at the restaurants (without trying to be a diva about it). I was kind of sad the first time I went to an Italian restaurant and had to order the chicken salad instead of a big pasta dish because the salads were the only things that didn’t blow my diet out of the water. My A1C is 6.3 and my doctor wants it at 5.8 or less.