This is why you should sweat with your sweetie or a best bud.
Now these are some power couples.
A-listers like Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez are bringing their fitness A-game into 2018. The former Yankee posted an intense interval workout on his Instagram this week, where J-Lo and A-Rod both sprinted up stadium steps and ran through a series of burpees, squats and pull-ups.
Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez also took a Hot Pilates class in West Hollywood together, while “Today” show work buds Savannah Guthrie and Jenna Bush Hager hit the gym this week to show the benefits of getting fit with friends.
People who commit to getting healthier with a partner are often more successful than those trying to diet and exercise on their own. And considering only 8% of Americans keep their New Year’s resolutions, you can use all of the help you can get.
Melinda Friedman, 52, has always been health-conscious, but her husband David, 54, has struggled to maintain his weight on his own during their 30 years together. He’d give up carbs and shed pounds for a while, only to gain the lost weight back and more once he ate bread again.
“I’m a very disciplined person … and he may not always be,” Friedman told Moneyish. But after she went on nutritionist Tanya Zuckerbrot’s five-day retreat at the Golden Door spa in California last October, she got her husband to join her in the F-Factor Diet, Zuckerbrot’s fiber-rich meal plan that Megyn Kelly and Katie Couric swear by. He’s lost 22 pounds, and she’s down seven.
“It’s just fun when you do it together. We feed off each other,” Friedman explained. She reminds him to stay hydrated with tricks like downing a bottle of water before his morning coffee. And they’ve started splitting an entree when they go out to eat, since restaurant servings are often twice the size of what an actual portion should be.
“We were both at the gym this morning, working out with trainers who are also a husband and wife couple!” she added. “Being supportive and motivating to each other helps a tremendous amount.”
Teaming up with a workout buddy helps keep you from being one of the 67% of people throwing away $58 a month (about $700 a year) on gym memberships they don’t use. A little competition also burns more calories. A Kansas State University study found that when people worked out with a partner they perceived to be in better shape than them, they actually increased their own workout time and intensity by up to 200% to keep up.
And it’s just easier to make a healthy new habit stick when you take it on together. A 2015 U.K. study of 3,700 middle-age or older couples found that men and women were more likely to stop smoking, exercise more or lose weight if their partner did it alongside them. And in pairs where both partners were too heavy, and one began working out to lose weight, the other person was three times more likely to drop pounds.
“It’s really hard when one person is trying to be healthy, and the other one is ordering pizza every night or bringing home bags of chocolate chips,” Michele Shapiro, 54, from Manhattan told Moneyish.
That was the case with Shapiro and her husband Eric Epstein, 56, for much of their 27-year marriage. But then he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and she found it harder to maintain her weight as she got older. “We were staying up too late, eating dinner too late. Eric used to consider shrimp cooked with a stick of butter a well-rounded meal,” she said.
So they made a fresh start together by hitting the Hilton Head Health retreat in South Carolina for a week last fall, where they took cooking demos and enjoyed long bike rides and exercise classes. The Manhattan couple came home with cost- and calorie-cutting skills, such as cooking meals at home and bringing lunches to work instead of ordering fatty takeout. Epstein has lost seven pounds and no longer needs diabetes medication. Shapiro also lost a few pounds, and both maintained this weight loss during holiday party season.
“We really just needed to get on the same page,” said Shapiro.
Plus, you can divide and conquer the grocery shopping and food prep, which keeps your meal plan on track. Brandi Porter and her boyfriend have lost and kept off a combined 170 pounds over the past decade – including the 10 apiece they dropped during their three years living together.
And they need to work together to stay healthy. They are both equipment operators in Alberta, Canada, which has them sitting for 12-hour shifts.
“We are gone from our house for 14 hours a day during our work sets, so we have to plan everything,” Porter, 30, told Moneyish. “Planning out meals ahead of time allows us to have a full weeks’ worth of meals prepared, so we are not grabbing fast food or making unhealthy choices. I’ll chop the vegetables and get the frying pan ready, while he cooks the rice. Or he’ll prep lunch while I take care of supper.”
And for the days when they don’t have the time or energy to travel through the dark and snow to the gym, they still fit in 20 or 30-minute workouts using the Aaptiv personal trainer app and their own exercise equipment at home.
“If I’m doing a cardio workout alone, after 10 minutes on the treadmill I’m bored out of my mind,” she said. “But with the app and working out together, we commit to a 30-minute workout, we push harder and we have a blast.
“Plus, we don’t skip workouts, because we don’t want to bail on one other,” she added. “So if I’m having a crappy day and I don’t want to work out, he’ll say something like, ‘Hey – you can do it!’ And I do, and I always feel so much better.”
Plus, sweating with your sweetie strengthens your relationship. Studies have shown that couples who do a physical activity together report feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partners afterward. That’s partly because exercises like lifting weights in rhythm or running together puts you two in sync, which creates bonding. Plus, exercise gets you hot and bothered in ways that mimic romantic attraction, such as getting your pulse racing and your palms sweaty.
“We’re spending a more time together, which has been an added bonus,” said Epstein. “We’re even planning a bike trip for our next vacation.”
His wife added, “Much to my surprise, Eric’s now a fan of pool Zumba, something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime! In addition to all these great changes, we’re also now eating dinner an hour earlier, which means we can get to bed earlier, which we know is critical for sustained weight loss and good health.”
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