Should couples train together?

By Douglas Pieterse, Co-Founder & Head Personal Trainer
"It may be simple but not always easy"

There is an age-old saying that couples that train together, stay together - at least until they don’t! In my experience, I've seen that training with a significant other can be a lot like marriage. In the beginning, you can’t get enough of each other. You love seeing their pain face and the sweat bead up between their breasts as you daydream about the trace it leaves on its way down. Eventually though, there comes a point when you realize that it runs down the back as well and that sweet sweaty kiss becomes just a sweat kiss. This is around the time when you ask yourself if spin class is really your jam or are you just doing it to maximise your time together. So, you end up going your separate ways to do the training that works or appeals most to you, and that's great! And besides, you may find that you miss your old training partner and pop in for a visit or you find happiness elsewhere.


I think this is a pretty fair summary, but if you don’t agree then I have another reason why it may be better not to train together. Men and women are inherently different. I am not teaching you anything you don’t know, but something you may have missed is that what’s good for her doesn’t always apply to him. If you don’t agree, then try going for a wax. Women generally have a much faster recovery time than men do, they also tend to take shorter breaks and work with a sense of task completion. In other words, they look at what needs to be done and try to get it done as quick as possible. Men on the other hand are able to push higher intensities but at the cost of longer rest periods and slower recovery. We do also like a bit of chat between our sets and don’t feel as much urgency to get it all done in no time. Don’t get me wrong there are exceptions to this rule but this has been my general observation over the last 10 years. 


As we get older though, this divide seems to narrow and couples are then more likely to start training together again. At this stage you give each other support and seem to know exactly how much effort and how far your loved one is able to push before having a heart attack. If your life insurance is great then there is a chance she will believe a lot more in your capabilities and heart attack shmart attack. It would seem that older couples train really well together and I have always been impressed with their strong bond and relationship that they portray. In the future I aspire to do the same when the time comes: hopefully she will be into yoga by then.  

The good:

You get more quality time with each other, which helps build a bond. Christmas and birthday gifts are much easier to choose. Together you can uphold a healthier lifestyle in your house with the informed support of each other (I mean who eats celery sticks by themselves anyway?). You can carpool. 

Who is it for?

Couples that enjoy spending time with each other, whether it’s good, bad, painful or fun without getting annoyed by till death do you part support.  

Watch out:

Men and women have different needs when it comes to training and will also have different results. So don’t get too competitive with each other, remember you are both very special snow flakes. Also keep in mind some people want to be coached by the person actually wearing the coaching shirt and may not respond well to your 'helpful' training tips. 


Train at the same time, potentially same gym but you don’t always have to be in each other’s face while gasping for breath or making birthing sounds. 


Generally I do my own training but do really enjoy the occasional workout with my wife to reassure myself that she is still able to lift more than me. This keeps me focused on getting stronger. 

The Verdict:

Decide where you are with your relationship and training and don’t be afraid to do what’s best for you when it comes to your time in the gym. There is always time outside the gym to go to the movies or on a date night.  

What others say: 

“ Working out with Dave is my favourite part of each day. Sounds ridiculous, but we have grown to appreciate so much more about each other while witnessing the struggles and triumphs that CrossFit provides.

I don’t think it’s for every married couple, but works perfectly for us.”


P.S. Dave said it’s humbling when your wife is lifting 65 lb for thrusters and he’s only doing 45.

Liz Prado