Couples who train together stay together. In the first of a two-part series, our HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz trainers share why couple workouts are a great way to keep those fitness aspirations roaring in the Year of the Tiger.
TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB
PHOTOS: FITNESS WORKZ
The Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day festivities have come and gone. For many of us, it means resuming our exercise programme after a relatively lengthy break. Fortunately, hitting the gym or fitness corner to burn off those calories needn’t be a chore. Here’s how a good workout buddy can not only help pull you to into a consistent workout routine, but also push you to greater fitness heights.
GETTING YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME
According to Fitness Workz Fitness Trainer, Azmirah Azman, couple workouts are a great way to boost comfort levels and motivation as you embark on your fitness regime. “It’s a common case where an individual may feel lost and not know what to do in the gym,” she explains. “Your partner can be there for guidance and to brainstorm more exercises that both of you can do together.”
Never underestimate the power of two people aligned towards a common goal. Studies have shown that couple workouts can have a positive impact in the long term. According to research, married pairs working out together were twice as likely to experience weight loss. Two years on, it was observed that seven in 10 married pairs continued to work out weekly, compared to only 25% of individuals doing the same.
According to our expert, the reasons for this are manifold — whether it’s due to having someone to schedule workouts with, a consistent partner to spot you at the gym, or simply the fun of doing something with someone you love. “A partner acts as support system when one is in doubt,” Ms Azmirah shares. “Having similar goals to be achieved together will lead to a stronger bond and increased confidence levels for both parties.”
A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF EXERCISE
Fitness Trainer Aidid Haidil, who is also a big advocate of couple workouts, notes that couples don’t necessarily need to head to the gym to get their blood pumping. “You can head to the park, fitness corners, stadiums or even your own void deck to do bodyweight exercises and other fitness programmes,” he suggests.
He adds that working out as a pair unlocks a slew of new and varied exercises that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do solo. This spans a large range of workouts that cover both calisthenics and exercises incorporating fitness equipment. For example, with an exercise buddy, you can add greater depth to conventional exercises like push-ups. Partners can attempt new variants such as partner push-ups with shoulder taps and elevated push-ups.
Mr Aidid personally recommends exercises like leg raises, resistance band jumps and sit-up medicine ball passes, depending on each person’s level of fitness. He also reminds couples keep things fresh in order to stay motivated. Outside of workouts, they can also explore ‘fitness date’ activities like spin classes, hiking, kayaking and rock climbing.
OPTIMISED WORKOUTS FOR EVERY LEVEL OF FITNESS
As with every training regimen, it’s important to understand both your and your partner’s level of fitness and adapt your routine accordingly. For beginners, Ms Azmirah recommends starting off your couple workouts slow and steady. Set short-term, achievable goals in order to keep each other going. “Start off with a 5-minute dynamic warm-up. This is to mobilise and increase blood flow to prepare their body for a workout and to avoid injuries,” she advises.
Instead of opting for heavy weights, beginners could start off with stack weight machines and plate loaded machines before changing to free weights. “Help each other perform the exercises with better form before increasing the weights,” she advises. “Of course, don’t be shy to approach fitness professionals or fitness enthusiasts to ask for assistance and advice.”
For more advanced exercise aficionados, Mr Aidid recommends some friendly competition and benchmarking in order to push each other to greater heights. “Veteran fitness buffs — who already have the knowledge — could set challenges for each other, be it carrying the max weight or hitting their personal records,” he suggests.
He further notes that as couples become more advanced in both physical fitness and workout knowledge, they should make imbalances and differences in strength work to their advantage. “Pick your own sprint- and rest-speeds. Teach each other and keep things interesting!” he says.
IN IT FOR THE LONG RUN
Just like any good relationship, recognise that your fitness journey as a couple is a marathon, not a sprint. Understanding your partner’s strengths and weaknesses are just as important as recognising what their goals are and how comfortable they are embarking on certain types of exercises.
Whatever the case, it’s most important to keep things consistent. Our Fitness Workz trainers recommend getting into a routine schedule and sticking to it. “If you both work office hours, an hour of working out together should be fine, excluding cardio. Doing so 3 times a week would be a good start,” shares Azmirah. “30 minutes of cardio a day for 5 days in a week is recommended for each individual. If both of you could brisk walk or run together after their workout, that would be even better!” Mr Aidid adds.
Looking for workout inspiration? In Part 2 of this series, our Fitness Workz trainers recommend some exercises for couples to try out, whatever your skill level! Stay tuned for more.