I’ve been married to my husband, Armand, for more than 8 years. We started our relationship in 2002, while working together as fitness trainers in one of the biggest fitness centers in Makati. A few years before that, we were already familiar with each other because we came from the same school and we had the same course in college (physical therapy from De La Salle University -Health Sciences Campus). For the past 16 years, we’ve been working as fitness professionals, always discussing things about lifestyle change and always striving hard each day to improve our lifestyle habits and to impart our skills and knowledge to the people around us, while strengthening our relationship as a married couple.
We are not a perfect couple, but we always try our very best to learn from the past and take every chance, each day, to keep our relationship healthy, strong and happy. Let me give you insights how a relationship can benefit from having a healthy lifestyle and share with you tips from some of our experiences on how to stay fit as a couple.
1. Identify a common passion to bring out the best in each other.
Find one common thing in your partnership that can lead you both to your dreams, fantasies and major life surprises. This will always depend on your upbringing, education, family history, personal interests and goals. You can both translate that common passion to various interests like music, sports, arts, travel, etc. or that can always bring you growth, happiness and meaning.
Our love for health and fitness (the quest to always improve the quality of life) strongly binds our relationship and brings our career to the next level. I will always remember when Armand and I taught the very first “Electric Rooftop Ride” together exactly a year ago. Even until this moment, there are no words to describe the kind of happiness we had while we were sharing our common passion, skills and interests to the world while leading the pack.
2. Use differences to learn from each other.
Be open with each other when it comes to self-improvement. Set aside some time to discuss each other’s differences, strengths and weaknesses. Analyze how your partner’s strengths can influence your well-being. If he is more disciplined when it comes to healthy eating, then learn from his effective strategies. If you are more motivated to workout on weekends, then encourage him to share an active Sunday morning with you.
I’ve learned so many things from Armand when it comes to balancing and simplifying things in life – minimalist cooking, shopping, traveling, working out and a lot more. Being a go-getter and risk-taker person, I believe that I also positively influenced and challenged him in all the years we had together, from 3k runs to gruelling trail runs.
3. Support each other all the time.
A healthy living is always easier to achieve and maintain if you’re blessed with a supportive loved one, because you breathe, move and eat together almost all the time. Communicate regularly on how you can achieve your health goals with your partner. Help each other to stick to the plans by discussing effective strategies like keeping unhealthy foods out of sight to resist temptations or to set aside 30-45 minutes at least once a week to workout together.
I started a whole food, plant-based eating with Armand six months ago (though we gradually prepared ourselves for this lifestyle years ago). We were able to enjoy and sustain a new way of living because of each other’s support and encouragement when it comes to choosing, buying, preparing and cooking our daily meals.
4. Explore life together (always with fun and a bit of healthy competition).
The best way to celebrate life is to always do things with someone who have helped you to achieve wholeness and have always brought meaning to your days. Make each moment with your partner fun, exciting and challenging. It’s always enjoyable to do things together like take each other’s workout photos, try a new workout, explore a healthy restaurant or train for a marathon. You can always think of your unique ways as a couple to connect while handling life’s stressors.
I used to regularly join run races and marathons with Armand. We supported each other to conquer full marathons, at the same time, compete with each other during races to set our running personal bests. We truly enjoyed the whole process of training and working out together and helping each other to reach the best potential.
5. Be the strongest person when the other one is at his weakest.
Always pull each other up. Be sensitive to your partner’s needs and wants. Be the most positive person that you can be when the other one is feeling bad, disappointed or unmotivated. That’s why you always have to do something good for yourself by being the healthiest and the fittest that you can be, so can effectively act as your partner’s coach, motivator and mentor when the darkest moment arrives.
Whenever I feel down and unmotivated to exercise, I just ask Armand to give me three ultimate reasons why I should workout. He will always reply with a strong presence using these statements “ First, focus on good things that will happen to you. Then visualise what will happen and how will you feel if you skip your workout. Lastly, focus on this moment, you are lucky enough to have this chance to workout.”
Happy Valentine’s day to you and to all the couples out there!
Happy Valentine’s Day to my dear husband!
Connecting with each other requires sweat, time, tears, sacrifice, patience, understanding and trust. Even without asking each other, we both know our ultimate wish every time we go to a new church, every time we start a novena, every time we blow our birthday candles, every night when we pray. But despite our enduring partnership, personal strengths and accomplishments, we always believe that keeping a strong faith in God is the ultimate weapon in keeping relationship alive and healthy.