While the saying, "those that sweat together, stay together" has been drilled into our married-lady heads since as long as he put a ring on it, quite honestly, it’s pretty spot on. When my husband and I met, I was just starting my training for an Olympic-distance triathlon, my first and only endurance race I had ever attempted at that point in my life. As a lifelong athlete—what sport didn’t I do?—running and working out was my bread and butter.
My husband, on the other hand, was a gym rat who lifted (heavy) weights occasionally with his buddies and played basketball when he could fit it in his busy work schedule. Our fitness personalities couldn’t be more different. I married the man who said, “I only run if I’m being chased” and a year after our “I do’s” he crossed the NYC Marathon finish line.
I pat myself on the back for taking my non-fitness-loving hubby and making him a true endurance-believer. Throughout our dating, engagement, and early-married years we completed triathlons together, half marathons, trail runs, CrossFit workouts, Tabata classes, and Bikram yoga.
As a former fitness editor, working out (a lot) was kind of a job requirement (or occupational hazard?), but my hubs definitely reaped the benefits, too. It was fun attempting new fitness challenges with him and having a very common bond that grew as we grew together. Fast forward to the birth of our baby girl, and working out together literally became non-existent. With no grandparents, family, or helping hands around, it was challenging during the first year to find a way to do these things together, and when we could get alone time it definitely wasn’t spent at that kind of barre.
Not only were we sort of out of shape, but our bonding was taking a beating, too. So when the opportunity popped up to work out with Heidi Powell, who co-hosts ABC's Extreme Weight Loss with husband Chris Powell, we jumped at the chance to take a beating. Not only was Heidi kind of the coolest mom/wife/trainer I’ve ever met (she was training for her first big fitness competition at the time) but my husband and I got all those feelings back that we had missed from our days sweating it out alongside each other.
Nowadays back home, our crazy toddler keeps us busy as does work, family obligations, and first-time homeowner projects among other things, but we always try to hit our basement gym at least one evening together for a do-over of Heidi’s powerful partner session. The truth is, besides family stroller runs on the weekend, I still hit up Soul Cycle on my own and my husband is part of a basketball league and that’s just the new normal. But any couple can make the effort for a sweaty workout together just once a week. It’ll do you, and your bodies, some good
Here’s a rundown of our circuit training session with trainer Heidi Powell.
“This partner workout is a metabolic conditioning circuit that will target nearly every single muscle group for a nice total body burn,” says Powell. The circuit is designed to encourage one person to work faster and harder to alleviate the load of their partner.
“We always say, 'the couple that plays together, stays together,' so while both individuals are getting fitter physically, so is your relationship,” says Powell. And we can all agree this is not any more similar to life in general. When we overcome hardships, it’s hard not to be better as a couple. So ready, set, go!
We always say, "The couple that plays together, stays together."
- Heidi Powell
Directions: For this Tabata routine, each partner does one of the two listed exercises at the same time as each other. Do as many reps as you can in 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Do this two times total.
1A. Battling Ropes: Hold each end of the battling ropes in your hands and swing vigorously, alternating arms up and down. If you do not have ropes, lower into a squat holding light weights (2 to 3 pounds) with your palms facing in and arms extended forward, and move arms up and down slightly one at a time.
1B. Walking Lunges: Hold 10-pound weights (adjust weight size if needed). Step forward with your left leg, bending both knees 90-degrees while keeping the weights by your sides. Step your right leg forward and return to standing, then repeat by stepping your right leg forward into a lunge. The partner doing battle ropes stops once the person doing walking lunges has done the length out and back (or about 8 to 10 steps in each direction). Each partner does two rounds of each move.
2A. Man Makers: Stand, holding a dumbbell in each hand, then drop squat to the floor as you place the dumbbells on the ground and jump or step feet back into plank position with feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Perform a push-up and return to plank. Do a single arm row with your right arm (by driving elbow behind you) while balancing weight on your left hand. Return right arm to the floor, then perform another push-up and the single arm row with your left arm. Jump feet forward to your hands, returning to the low squat. Stand up straight and press dumbbells overhead above your shoulders, palms facing forward. This is one rep.
2B) Sled Push/Pull or Squat Walks with Resistance Band: While most people don’t have a sled hanging around to push or pull, you can try doing a modification with squat walks using a resistance band. Tie a resistance band into a loop with enough tension so that when you place it around your ankles and stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, you have the right resistance. Lower into squat position, knees at a 45-degree angle, and walk sideways, taking 8 to 10 steps to the left, then right, keeping your knees bent and maintaining resistance on the band throughout.
3) Clean and Press to Frog Jump: Place a heavier set of weights (8 to 10-pounds, modify if needed) on the floor between your feet. Lower into a deep squat, keeping your chest lifted, then reach to the ground to pick up a dumbbell in each hand. Stand up, bending elbows, bringing weights under your chin, then press weights overhead in one fluid motion. Reverse motion to return weights to the ground. Placing hands on the ground, do a frog jump over the weights and turn around to face weights again. Repeat the clean and press. Each partner does 30 reps, until you hit 60 total. (For example, if you can only do 10 at once, your partner takes over to do a portion or all of his 30 reps, then the other partner finishes it off.)
4) 100 Burpees Between the Two of You: Person one does as many burpees as possible. When exhausted, stop and let your partner take over. Keep switching until 100 reps total have been completed between the two of you.
5) Shuttle Runs: Finish off your workout by setting up three markers in your driveway (or points on the track). This time, you’re competing with your partner. Run to the first and closest marker, then back to the start. Run to the second marker, then back to start. Run to the last and furthest marker and back to start. Do this 3-5 times.