We are Joel and Laura. We are married, parent two busy boys, and we own a fitness & nutrition coaching service together. We have also run marathons and ultra-marathons together and cheered each other through individual competitions and long races. Literally, we have hired babysitters just so we had time to train together.
Does it seem a little extreme? Perhaps to some. But we see it as extreme ownership over our health, relationship, and ensuring that each of us does the things that make us individually fulfilled as well.
Joel put me (Laura) through my first CrossFit workout way back in 2008. After my quads recovered from the jumping squats, we have been working out alongside each other in gyms, basements, and our driveway. Our first CrossFit affiliate opened in 2014 and then our second, CrossFit Lambton Shores, in 2019 (now Shores Fitness & Nutrition, 2020).
If you ask me how a non-athletic, uncoordinated book worm has turned fitness into a lifestyle, a job, and a hobby I genuinely enjoy (99% of the time) – I’ll tell you one thing over and over:
Because we were doing it together.
Not always well and not always gracefully, of course. We’ve snapped at each other on grumpy long runs and raised our voices when someone’s burpees weren’t fast enough. Surely, feelings have been hurt. Despite the occasional frustrations, though, we have both accomplished things we’re proud of, held each other accountable, completed races and workouts we never thought possible and tried new things without fear of judgment from the other. All because we were both invested in the process and the outcome.
So, if you are on your fitness journey, or starting (or thinking about it), I encourage you to encourage your partner or spouse to join you. If your partner/spouse wakes up every day and hits the gym or heads out on long runs every weekend morning, I challenge you to consider joining them
(you don’t have to run to tag along with a runner, bikes are awesome).
Why? I’ll tell you:
That partner/spouse is working really hard to better themselves, and
you are probably part of the reason why. Fitness and health journeys are rarely just about us. Quite often, people new to a healthy lifestyle want just as much to feel happier and more in control as a benefit to the people they love, as they want to lose weight and tone up. If you think your spouse is waking up at 5:00 am every day purely to look good, maybe you should ask to be sure. I bet the reason is deeper than that, and he or she will feel massively encouraged that you care enough to take a little time and join in on the journey, even just in conversation.
Here’s a funny one. Fitness lifestyles can get pretty pricey. Gym memberships, trainer fees, entry costs for competitions and races…someone who really wants to live an active lifestyle often needs to prioritize it into their finances. Although working out or participating in events with your spouse means two fees instead of one, the lack of opportunity for guilt trips is priceless (and way better for your relationship). When you both understand the benefits of physical activity and time together, there is SO much less resentment surrounding the costs.
Common interest and time together
Though Joel and I spend loads of time together now, it wasn’t always this way. Separate careers, cars, and work hours often had us running in two separate directions. Meeting at the gym, or at the gym equipment in our basement, kept us coming back to the same place over a common interest each day. Going out on a long Saturday run gave us time to catch up on what went on that week. CrossFit gave us something common to focus on and encourage one another toward. Since we completed these things together, I understood his struggles when they arose and he understood mine. We never both wanted to quit on the same day, so here we are 12 years later. Sharing fitness as a common interest has not only made us healthier as individuals, but also as a couple and as a family.
Getting to know each other
My sister and I used to say that before we married someone, we’d go on a road trip with them. Well, Joel and I met living internationally when neither of us drove, but going through a physically strenuous experience teaches you plenty about a person too. You learn the best things to say or do when your partner/spouse has reached their physical and emotional limit. You figure out how they feel encouraged and what discourages them. How they behave under pressure. How competitive they are and how to make peace when you’re at odds. I’ll never forget expressing to Joel that it stressed me out, rather than spurred me on, when he counted down to the end of my workouts. So the next time I was suffering he simply blasted Bon Jovi and watched me finish. Now that’s knowing your spouse.
Ever tried to eat healthy while your spouse orders a pizza? Or wanted to go to the gym, but he/she is sitting down for a movie night? It’s hard. It adds one more road bump on your already challenging journey to health and fitness. Succeeding in your goals is easier and more enjoyable when you are on track with a loved one. They get it and you get it – Why it’s important to go. Why you should cook dinner at home instead of eating out one more time this week. Why redistributing your finances is a worthy discussion. The changes you make on the journey to health are (hopefully) not just for quick weight loss or a short-term goal. It’s a lifestyle you are working on and it will be most successful and enjoyable if you do it with the one you’re sharing your life with.
In many years of fitness, we have seen it go both ways: people quitting on their goals because their loved ones “don’t get it” and guilt keeps them out of the gym. We have also seen people changing their health, and the future of their families, by getting on board together and making lifestyle adjustments. Trust us, the latter is more beautiful and inspiring than you realize.
If you aren’t convinced, come and chat with us or the number of couples that we have pursuing health together with Shores. Invite your spouse on your journey or invite yourself on theirs! Find something you both enjoy that makes you happier and healthier and go do it
together (and start it with a free intro call with us!).