By: Matt Weik
I think that most people would have a hard time trying to make this type of relationship work – especially if either or both individuals are stubborn. Having a situation where one individual spends some of their time exercising and preparing healthy meals while another potentially sits on the couch, relaxes, and eats whatever they want. To be honest, to each their own. Obviously, there are reasons why you exercise, and likewise, there are reasons why your partner might not exercise. Whatever that reason, you need to be supportive (or rather, both parties need to be supportive of each other). But, how can you make a relationship work when your partner isn’t into fitness? Well, that exactly what I’m about to cover.
You’re not going to change someone’s mind to jump ship and live a healthier lifestyle if they don’t want to. They, themselves, would need to make it a priority. However, you can be a positive influence on that individual and it could lead them down the path to taking charge of their health and fitness. Below are some ways to make it work and potentially help them get motivated to make some healthy lifestyle changes.
1. Engage in an activity that each other enjoys
You like to exercise, your partner doesn’t. Your partner likes to relax and watch movies, you’d rather be doing other things. What do you do? Compromise. You’ll relax and watch a movie once or twice a week so long as your spouse does something active with you like go for a walk or hike the same number of times – maybe one follows the other like you both go do some cardio outdoors after dinner and then come back and watch a movie to settle in for the night.
If you can get your partner to enjoy exercise while surrounded by nature and fresh air (oh yeah, and by enjoying your company), it might be enough to get him or her to rethink their stance. In most cases, people hate exercise because it’s difficult and tests their body’s limits. Try new things and see if there’s a form of exercise that your partner enjoys and has fun with. Use that as a base and expand out from there into new forms.
2. Make subtle changes to your nutrition
If your partner enjoys pasta, it’s going to be difficult to get them to give it up. And they shouldn’t and don’t have to. However, it all goes back to compromise. Maybe you change out the pasta you are used to eating for a whole wheat pasta or a zucchini noodle instead? Experiment and see if you both enjoy the various forms available. There are some delicious healthier options out there like spaghetti squash that can fool you into thinking it’s the real deal. The key is to try it out together and see if you both enjoy the meal. From there, branch out and try replacing other unhealthy options with healthier ones – like taking those boring bags of beef jerky and replacing them with Brotein Candy… the perfect anytime fitness jerky (shameless plug).
3. Incentivize to create healthy habits
Find something that incentivizes your spouse. Maybe it’s eating at a nice restaurant or getting a new pair of shoes, etc. Find out what the hot buttons would be and use them to your advantage – somewhat of a reward system to encourage healthy behaviors. Maybe it's going out to eat if they engage in five days of exercise for two weeks in a row. Another could be a new pair of shoes if they stick it out for a month.
It doesn’t need to be expensive things or even things that you need to buy. It could be a reward such as you giving them a massage for hitting a goal. Or making your spouse their favorite meal. Whatever the case may be, incentives do work for many people and are a great way to get them to potentially change some poor habits into healthy ones.