Solo workouts can be soul-destroying – the grind painful – but you might enjoy it if you’re working in a pair. Training with your other half could be the answer, but if you spend every moment of your lives together, should you bring your workout into the mix as well?
We spoke to power fitness couple James Haskell and Chloe Madeley on why they wouldn’t have it any other way…
BEFORE YOU START
They don’t post pictures of themselves doing the ridiculous things you normally see couples doing, under the guise of, ‘ if you train together, stay together’. This isn’t about pictures of you kissing as you bench press, or doing press-ups lying on each other’s backs, or a personal ‘favourite’ of James’, doing chin ups together where you kiss at the top.
These routines are purely for likes and nothing else. They may as well be photoshoots!
If you actually try to follow them, you will probably end up breaking up, or having an almighty row.
PREP AND PLAN
Chloe and James both recognise how lucky they are to be in a relationship where they both love to workout – for them it’s not just a career, or even a way life, it’s something they genuinely enjoy.
But with that comes the responsibility to work together to ensure you both understand each other’s goals, and how you can reach them together.
Keep it simple, don’t overcomplicate a workout that means you’re constantly switching weights on and off the bar. You’ll just waste time and energy. It’s fair to say that most couples are of mixed strength, so trying to do things that are based around weights is going to be tricky.
Stick to simple circuits – short, intense bursts that push your abilities. The easiest thing to do as a couple is bodyweight work, or alternating on pieces of cardio equipment. The kind of times they normally use for training are very much HIIT-based. Working for 20 seconds on, 45 seconds rest, repeating the entire circuit five times.
For years, James has been one of the biggest advocates of the Versaclimber and once again he praises it as THE best bit of full body equipment on the market. You can quote him on that too.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that however you plan your workout, if you’re not sticking to a healthy diet then results are going to be limited. You are what you eat! If you train the house down, but you eat like a pig, you are never going to get the results that you’re after. It’s a misnomer that if you train hard you get to eat badly.
KEEP EACH OTHER MOTIVATED
It sounds obvious, but this is really one of the best reasons to workout as a couple. Research suggests if you train with someone else, you are much more likely to stick to it, compared to any solo efforts.
For example, one of you could be hammering the Versaclimber, while the other is on free-weights or performing a specific bodyweight exercise, but at the same time keeping each other going. Whatever works for you – positivity, shouting, singing, or some quality tunes – maintain high energy AND enjoyment and the workout will fly by. Remember, you’re in it together! There is nothing better than working hard and achieving something at the end of the day.
James finds Chloe’s commitment and energy hugely motivating as she’s regularly up early to smash out her training routines – she lives and breathes what she writes and shares across Instagram.
At the same time, Chloe sees James constantly adapt and evolve his training plans, as his rugby goals change. One of the factors that dictates this, as he says in his own words, is father time creeping up on him.
He now mainly focuses his routine on recovery, mobility and power, putting in every effort to maximise his performance when it comes to match day.
Together, they’re hitting their goals time and again.
USE WHAT YOU FIND AND WHERE YOU ARE
James and Chloe rate their holiday workouts as some of their favourites, as it’s really the only time they get to train together, as they both have such different goals. Yes, they’re on holiday to relax and recharge, but it doesn’t stop them keeping in shape ahead of their return home. It’s really important to keep active, but it’s not about going mad. Training should be fun.
So, whether it’s shuttle runs across the beach or bodyweight workouts in the sand, working out in a new location with different scenery can offer another level of inspiration.
On their most recent holiday in Ibiza, James and Chloe set themselves the challenge of swimming to a rocky outcrop just off the beach. What SHOULD have been a leisurely, rewarding swim, turned into a 75-minute, there and back, epic workout – with a short break in the middle, on the rock.
Your challenges don’t have to be as mad as this, but setting each other small goals each session, brings your training to life. This could be as simple as playing volleyball on the beach.
ENJOY YOUR REWARDS
Chloe may have demolished James in the swim (lightweight speed > muscle-mass), but they felt great afterwards, meaning they could put even more energy into their night out later on!
Set whatever rewards you want, but make sure you only reap the benefits AFTER you’ve hit your workout goal for that day, week or month. While exercise may limit the damage you do to your body by eating and drinking what you want, you certainly won’t attain the physique or level of fitness you dream of.