Out of all the reasons that relationships can fall apart and get ruined, fitness is near the top of the list.
That’s because it’s something that can slowly build into an intolerable problem over the course of months, without either partner ever really meaning for it to happen. What’s even more problematic is neither person wants to acknowledge what’s going on, but silently holds a grudge.
And because it involves lifestyle, the resistance to solving the problem is very high.
Being in a situation where one partner wants to get fit and the other one doesn’t have the same motivation towards that goal is a recipe for disaster – one in which both partners can get hurt and the relationship could even fall apart.
Jealousy, anger, bitterness, disappointment – all these negative emotions can come bubbling to the surface when it comes to having different fitness goals than your partner.
So what is there to do? How can you motivate your partner if you’ve got differing fitness goals than them? Here’s what to do:
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1. Don’t start out with your partner on the defensive
Rule #1 when it comes to convincing someone to do something they don’t necessarily want to do is to not upset them and put them on the defensive.
In this situation, that means that you absolutely can not make them feel bad about themselves or how they’re currently living their life. All that does is make them resentful of you and upset at you from the get go.
Remember, you’re not trying to force them to change here, you’re trying to inspire them and make your relationship that much better. Bullying them about their choices has no part here.
2. Tell them why you’re changing your lifestyle
Think about the real reason why your partner might be reacting negatively to your new desire to get fit. It could be that it makes them uncomfortable, because they don’t know WHY you’re getting fit. Maybe they’re assuming that you’re trying a new workout regimen because you want to attract someone new.
For that reason, it’s important to communicate with them, and tell them exactly why you’re working on your fitness. Tell them that you want to feel better about yourself, and you want to have a healthier body, and that you want to be in the best condition you can be so that you can give your relationship 100% of your best self.
A great way to motivate your partner to join you is to ask them to help you. A lot of the time, what motivates people isn’t the desire to help themselves – it’s the desire to help others. If you ask your partner to help you that could be the boost they need to start improving their own life.
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3. Pick a goal that works
You might be super clear about your own goals – but your partner might not be. And if you don’t have a clear goal, fitness becomes less about achievement and more about painful, un-fun work.
That’s why it’s so important to pick a goal that’s 1. Attainable and 2. Attractive to your partner.
Think about it this way – if your partner doesn’t have a specific goal, then there’s nothing for them to work towards, and it’s harder to get them motivated.
At the same time, if they don’t have a goal that they feel motivated to achieve, or feel that it’s possible to achieve, they’re going to feel discouraged before they even start, leading to a negative reaction.
The best way to do this is to talk to your partner about what they want to accomplish, and help them define an attractive, reasonable goal for themselves to go after.
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4. Create context for your partner
A lot of the time, a negative reaction to fitness being brought up in a relationship is due to a partner not realizing how far they’ve slipped in their personal appearance and upkeep.
At the same time, you can’t just jump in your partners face and yell, “you used to be hot, now you’re fat. what’s up with that?”
A great way to illuminate your partner’s current health is to use an old photo or video to subtly remind them that they used to be in way better shape. When they see how far they’ve fallen from how they used to look, it’s great motivation to start working on looking better.
5. Include fun in your fitness plan
People are much more likely to do something they don’t really want to do when you add an element of fun to it. If you want to get your partner to start working on their health, “go to the gym and sweat and toil for an hour” isn’t the best sell.
Instead, try doing things that involve exercise that your partner also enjoys doing. Do they like the outdoors? Maybe try bike riding or taking a walk through a beautiful park. Do they have a competitive spirit? Try a sport you can both enjoy.
No matter what, when you make getting in shape more fun, you greatly increase the chances your partner reacts positively.
6. Work out together with them
If you’re always working on your fitness goals by yourself, it’s very easy for your partner to start to feel left out and get resentful.
That’s why a great way to improve your partner’s fitness and your own, while you also improve your relationship, is to work out together. That way, you’re spending time together and working closer to your fitness goals.
7. The beginning is the hardest part
Working out is like pushing a giant boulder – it’s hardest right at the beginning when you have no momentum, but as you gain momentum and keep moving forward it gets easier and easier to do.
With that in mind, remember that your partner might have the hardest time working out right at the beginning, and that getting started is the hardest part.
A way to help them is to give them some momentum – a little push – to getting started. Do they like lifting weights? Try getting them a kettlebell. How about swimming? A membership to a gym pool is a great place to start.
8. Don’t forget to reward yourselves
One of the most important aspects of a workout plan is the rewards. If you don’t take the time to treat yourselves after you’ve achieved a goal, then all the fun can go out of working out – and you might forget why you’re even doing it.
Make sure to pick rewards that both you and your partner can enjoy. You’ll both always have something to work towards, and it will make a big difference in the motivation you feel to get going on your fitness.
When you’re both supporting each other, helping each other, and rewarding each other, you’ll find that working out will get easier and easier – and you and your partner will look better and better as time goes on.
How To Get Your Partner To Work Out With You
- Don’t start out with your partner on the defensive
- Tell them why you’re changing your lifestyle
- Pick a goal that works
- Create context for your partner
- Include fun in your fitness plan
- Work out together with them
- The beginning is the hardest part
- Don’t forget to reward yourselves
If you loved this article, then check out these other must-see related posts:
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I always felt that if my partner really loved me they might be interested in the same things that I am. Therefore, if I want to workout with a partner, they would be there for me. Is that so much to ask?
I reward my partner with things other than a better body. Most of the time he just asks for some alone time in the den, but not always :)
These are good tips that I have not tried yet. I feel like I have tried everything else already. I am going to give it another shot!
You should try them. The sooner you can get a partner to workout with you, the better the workout is and the better you feel about it!
I hope that if you want your husband to work out with you, he will. If he won’t, you need to make sure that he knows how important it is to you and see what happens then.
When I wanted my b/f to work out with me, it was an uphill battle. I did not push him, however, I just made it clear that we are not getting younger and a good exercise routine is a benefit for BOTH of us.
Getting your partner to work out with you can be a tough task. Message them gently and in time they will come around!
Good tip. Each week I pry a little more and make it seem like working out is a fun thing we can do together.
I made the mistake of offering up a goal that was not easy to reach. It seemed ok at first, but shortly we could both tell it was not going to work out. You cannot expect that your schedules will meet up perfectly for a good workout each week.
I have always found it difficult when trying to force them. I just do my normal workout and if they do not want to be with me, then so be it. After a few days of leaving them home alone, they get the hint.
Great tips. Maybe with these I can get my fat ass of a husband off the couch LOL. If he likes it when I look great, I should get the same, right?
I agree. LOL. I think its funny that you call him a fat ass, but you are still with him. I wouldn’t be able to tolerate that.
I think that if you start out slow, if they never did anything like this before, and reward yourselves for reaching goals, you will have no problem getting a workout partner!
It is not easy if your partner does not really want to, but over time, you should be able to show them how important it is to you and if they are a good person, they will join in just for that reason.
I would find out how they would like to work out and try to work with that.
This does work. It is at least a place that you can start.
I will second this! It does work and I am happy that we now workout together each week!
These are great ways to get your partner to work out with you. Even if they are not that into working out, why not try a few things that they WILL do? Once they are hooked and see that you are doing something together, it might get more involved.
It might be as simple as hinting about it for the first couple months. Don’t push, or force, what good is a workout partner if they really do not want to workout?
If it is something they might be interested in, it will be much easier. If they get all stubborn and things like that, it will be a hard fight, but then you just have to make them realize.
It can be tough, but with the right push, they might join you and make the workout even more fun!
You just have to make them realize how important it is to you AND how important it is to them that you work out together.
I tell him, “you workout with me or I will find someone that will”, that usually works :)
LOL. That is a great strategy!
Working out with a partner is so much easier. I think if you explain to them why you want a partner, they should go along with it. If not, maybe it is time to find a new partner.