It is not a secret that bodybuilding, especially competing in bodybuilding, can be one of the most selfish and time-consuming activities someone can participate in. Trying to balance a boyfriend (now fiancé), prep and a fulltime job left me exhausted, hangry and him upset with me for my eyelids constantly drooping when we did get to spend time together. After the competition was over, it was hard to understand how I can keep my fitness regime and physique while still giving my fiancé the attention and time he deserves from me. Bodybuilding without competing is still a substantial time investment and if not done properly will have some negative impacts on relationships. Bodybuilding does not have to be the death of socializing or eating food you enjoy because your husband/wife or girlfriend/boyfriend wants to live the fitness lifestyle. My fiancé and I have found a few ways to make bodybuilding a positive, healthy and enjoyable aspect of our relationship and lives together…
THOSE WHO TRAIN TOGETHER STAY TOGETHER
This cliché makes me even roll my eyes looking at it, but it couldn’t be truer. During prep I had my workouts planned and written a week ahead of time. I knew what I was to be doing and when to be doing it, along with how much to eat and what I was going to be eating. Surprises and spontaneity were not a part of my life or my boyfriend’s. He surpassed the point in his life where the gym needed to have that kind of structure in his workout and I couldn’t be cavalier in my training when competing. For this reason, it never occurred to my fiancé or myself that we should work out together. Even after I stopped competing, the gym became something I rushed through because the more time I spent there, the more time I was losing with him that night after work. This time juggle caused me stress and him to get bitter that the gym came before him.
Looking back to when I finished competing, it seems like a no brainer that we should have started using the time we spend in the gym as bonding time. My workouts were no longer written down, I did not need to have a strict regime and structure and I was actually getting bitter about the gym in general. One weekend I sat down with my boyfriend and I said how upset I was that the gym was no longer a place I enjoyed. I explained that I was racing to finish because I felt that I was neglecting my time with him and his needs and that I didn’t have a plan of what I wanted to accomplish or goals I was working towards achieving. From that day forward, fitness became a ‘we’ activity and no longer a bitter ‘me’ activity. We plan our workouts together throughout the day, decide what we feel like lifting that night and have a ton of fun with the time we spend together while in the gym. We have learned to lean on each other for advice about physique goals and the motivation to reach them by simply deciding that we needed to work together as a team. There really is something to be said about the feeling of lifting, sweating and working hard together. It creates a strong trust, bond and understanding of each other that can otherwise take years to establish in a relationship. Lifting with one another has made our relationship stronger and gives us more opportunity to spend time together.
TO CHEAT OR NOT TO CHEAT? WHICH MEAL IS THE QUESTION…
Dieting is easy! Said nobody. Ever. I don’t care who you are, dieting is pain in the rear end. This is largely due to it being difficult to eat out at a restaurant and hard to enjoy the food you are eating when you feel forced to eat it. But, what you put in your mouth is arguably the largest portion of the battle to keep the tushy tight. The struggle I encountered was finding food that fit into both of our macros and my fiancé would eat without giving me dirty looks. Find ways to incorporate healthy foods into dieting that are enjoyable. It will be much easier to stay on point with the diet for most of the week when you cook food that both of you enjoy. A great example of a healthy meal that my fiancé and I both enjoy, is a simple sandwich - some toasted Ezekiel bread, tomato slice, lettuce, mustard, low sodium deli turkey meat and voila! Simple work day meal that is tasty and easy to make. Believe it or not, Instagram and Pinterest are a wealth of information for healthy recipes and food ideas. Expand your horizons, cook out of the comfort level and try new food and recipes. They all might not be winners but this is how to learn both of your ‘healthy palate tastes.’ That is exactly how I created a repertoire of food, meals and recipes that my fiancé and I have been enjoying for months.
The hardest part of dieting for us as a couple is the cheat meal. There is this slippery slope of when our ‘cheat meal’ starts to morph into ‘cheat weekend’ or ‘cheat week’ if we really fall off! Learning to keep each other in check is an acquired skill that my fiancé and I are still learning to perfect. What helps the most is wisely choosing what day we place our cheat meal on. We had tried to have a date night cheat meal on a week night, but this resulted in a restaurant food extravaganza, including wine and beer, and a continuation of the party with the left overs and poor eating until Sunday night. At which time we decided that we need to get our act together. It seems Monday is the day of the week when we like to be on point and clean up our eating. With this in mind, I suggested that we try to cheat meal on Sunday night and it works for us. We eat what we’re craving, devour all the sugar we can get our hands on and start fresh on Monday morning dedicated to keeping our diets clean until next Sunday. Look for the moments throughout the week that you both can enjoy your cravings and won’t fall victim to the slippery cheat meal slope.
Learning to design a fitness lifestyle for two people can be challenging, but is completely doable. Have fun lifting together, make jokes, work hard and enjoy the time you have together. The gym is a place to blow off steam and let the stresses of life go, what better way to enjoy it than with your favorite person on the planet? Food and dieting isn’t easy, but don’t give up! Look for new ideas, spices and flavors. Do not let the lifestyle become a burden or stress to you or as a couple because the purpose is to be healthy, be active and enjoy one another.
Follow me on Instagram @sammiegirl_fitness for more into this healthy lifestyle.