CrossFit Love: How Sharing Fitness Has Improved My Relationship

I think I’ve told you this before but I reeeeeeeeally had to twist Garrett’s arm to get him to come to CrossFit with me for the first time. I believe his exact response was, “No thanks. I don’t need to be a (F-Bomb) Navy Seal.” He had watched a few videos on the internet after I suggested it and instantly decided it was not for him.

(Sidebar: If you are thinking about CrossFit, disregard 90% of the meat head videos on the internet. This is NOT real life.)

Anyway, I finally pleaded my case to him and said that I just didn’t want to go alone. Would he just consider coming with me once, and then if he hated it he never had to go back again. That was almost a year an a half ago, so it’s no spoiler how that all worked out. Now he loves it! Well, at least most of the time. :)


This is halfway through Open Wod #1 which was 7 minutes of burpees. I don’t think he loved it right then. (And who could blame him?)

We have both seen a ridiculous amount of positive changes, individually, because of Crossfit. But the thing that has been the most awesome (and partly because it was completely unexpected) is that it has really helped strengthen our relationship. Bonus! Caity over at Moi Contre La Vie wrote about something similar recently and it inspired me to share our experience.

Here are five big reasons that I’m so glad that Garrett and I CrossFit together:

1. There’s Always A Hand to Hold (Or, Rather A Spotter Handy)


The couple who bench presses together, stays together.

Starting something new can be scary for anyone, which is why it is sometimes easier to do with a friend because you can pump each other up and strategize before or after class. When you do it with a significant other though — the person who can read your non-verbal cues like a book — it’s almost even more comforting. Garrett can tell when I’m nervous or feeling insecure and I can do the same. We both make an effort to support each other a little extra in those moments.

2. You’ll Have Your Own Secret Language

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Whispering sweet nothings about snatch technique, surely.

Having individual fitness goals that you can talk about together is not only beneficial for keeping on track, but it creates a level of intimacy. I know when I make a goal Garrett is 100% in my corner. He keeps me honest and pushes me when I need it, and I do the same for him. It’s built in accountability and built in understanding. Although on the other hand — it’s a built in bullshit detector. Garrett can always tell when I’m making excuses and I can do the same. That’s the best/worst part. :)

3. Having a One Man Cheering Section Feels Pretty Great


We all have bad days. I had a remarkably bad one doing Fran the other day because I was feeling insecure, I wasn’t in a great head space and I let something get to me that I shouldn’t have. Ten thrusters in I dropped the barbell feeling so defeated, but Garrett quickly came over and started pep-talking me back into a good head space. And he knows just how to do that because he is my Partner in Crime. He followed me around for the next 6 minutes just like an overly aggressive Soccer Dad. And while that sounds nutso, it was JUST WHAT I NEEDED in that moment. And I was so grateful for him afterward.

4. We Now Prioritize Spending Time Together Improving Ourselves

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Post-Workout Afterglow is one part  sweatiness, one part happiness

I used to always spent 5-6 hours a week at the gym, but back in the day that was time that I spent away from Garrett. Alone time is necessary (OBVIOUSLY) but sharing a fitness routine for us has increased not only the quantity of time we get to spend together, but it has improved the quality of time. Now instead of spending that time watching tv or reading, we get to spend 5-7 hours a week supporting each other through challenging workouts. And it overflows into other things like making new recipes together, or supporting our buddies at CrossFit competitions on the weekends too. It’s fun having a shared interest that works its way into your social life. Speaking of social life…

5. It’s A Great Way To Meet Other Couples With Similar Interests

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photo courtesy of Caity

Making friends as an adult is haaaaaaard, right? And making Friends Who Are Couples is also kind of a challenge. But lots of couples enjoy working out together, and it’s fun to have met so many in our short time CrossFitting. I just don’t think you don’t get that going to a regular gym, right? I mean can you imagine how creeper that would be if you were approached by folks on the prowl for couple friends at a 24 Hour Fitness? Awkward! :) I’d be wondering if they were going to invite us to a key party, or trying to sell us on their pyramid scheme.

The most important thing that I’m constantly reminded of though when we head into our CrossFit box each though isn’t only specific to working out. When it comes to fitness, life, or especially relationships I think that there have been no truer words spoken than the one’s written on the back’s of all of our sweatshirts:

True Story, my friends. True Story. And I’m just so happy we’ve found such a fun way to put work into our relationship.

*unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of American River CrossFit.

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14 comments to CrossFit Love: How Sharing Fitness Has Improved My Relationship

  • Justin E.
    April 12, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Great article Holly! A ton of this hits so close to home

  • sizzle
    April 12, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I have been talking to Mr. Darcy about sharing a personal trainer together. He hates working out but wants to support me. I hate that he doesn’t seem to care about his own health and would like us to team up to be healthy. I mean, it took us 36 years to find each other which means our time is limited as a couple (morbid, I know) and I’d like to make it last as long as we can!

    • Holly
      April 12, 2012 at 11:18 am

      This is *exactly* how it was with Garrett and I to start. He wanted to support me, but hated the gym. And then it made me sad that he didn’t want to be in better shape because I wanted him to be around FOREVER. I was pretty aggressive about it too since my dad died of a heart attack so young. Keep encouraging him to do stuff with you and something will stick! I think we do it more now because it is fun and fun to do *together* in particular. The health part is now just the icing on the cake, so there is totally hope!

  • Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie
    April 12, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I’m so glad that you liked my post! :)

    I feel like this is a really important but un-discussed topic for those of us really interested in health & nutrition, I’m glad that you tackled it as well!

  • sizzle
    April 12, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I love hearing that, Holly. His mom has had a heart attack and I’m like HELLO WARNING! Plus, we don’t have a lot of shared hobbies outside of going to the movies or watching tv (hello, couch potato!) so I hope that if we get this house, we can change our lifestyle together. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Erin
    April 12, 2012 at 11:39 am

    The boyf and I are in the middle of a *huge* fight about this very topic. I think it’s great that you and Garrett can work out together. The boyf and I are currently in a debate about this very topic…

    The boyf thinks I should cancel my current gym membership and join him at his gym. I am a middle of the night, gym to myself type of person. My gym is open 24/7 (his isn’t)and I know all of 3 people (the owners) at my gym; everybody I know works out at his gym. I am way to insecure to work out in front of people, and I admit it! :-)

  • bethanyrx
    April 12, 2012 at 11:43 am

    You guys are just ADORBS. ;) This is such a stressful time for us (and Eric especially) as the house project wraps up that he doesn’t seem to have the energy for his usual activities (swimming, running), and I don’t have the heart to ask him to commit to one.more.thing just yet. Also, I know he doesn’t particularly like weightlifting, but he’s had some back problems in the past (thanks to too many years laying heavy tiles) that I think could be mitigated by some heavy lifting, so hopefully I can convince him to at least try it!

  • LizScott
    April 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    A lot of what this speaks to is priorities — I think it IS hard for couples where one has a priority that the other doesn’t share. Working out – be it Crossfit or triathlon or whatever – is something we both priortize in our life, and so doing it doesn’t feel like a burden — I’m not ignoring the family or being selfish – this is a huge part of how we life our life, and I’m engaging in it.

    In addition to all the benefits you listed above (adult friends! Shared time!) I also think this is a big factor in STICKING WITH IT. A loooooooooooooong time ago when I was a trigeek someone said to me: “Triathlon isn’t a hobby. If you want a hobby, take up kniting. Triathlon is a lifestyle.” — and I feel that what about working out in general. Healthy LIFESTYLE not “Healthy couple of hours I was able so squirrel away before it inconvenienced anyone”

  • LizScott
    April 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Also – damn I love those pics :)

  • Angela
    April 12, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I SOOO wish I could talk my Garrett into Crossfit or just working out at all with me. I’ve tried. A LOT. I think he’s getting to a place where he sees he’s got to. He skin is getting big because he lost so much weight without working out. I love this post! I love what you two have found in each other!

  • AndreAnna
    April 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Awww, I love you guys so hard! While Mike and I both Crossfit, because of those damn kids who, like, totally need stuff, we rarely if ever get to workout together. Usually,he’s walking in as I’m grunting through my last set of awful lifts and ready to die.

    But it definitely gives us something to talk about, share stories about, and bond over.

    Plus, how awesome is it for our kids to grow up in an environment so supportive and health-focused and not to mention, have bad-ass parents?! I can just hear Charlotte now, “My Momma can Squat clean your momma!”

  • kara t.
    April 12, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    This is such a great post! Most of the people at my box are married and a majority of them both do crossfit. Some of them have kids so they have to switch off classes.. but I love seeing couples there motivating each other. So amazing!!

  • Denise
    April 13, 2012 at 8:06 am

    I HATE working out with my husband, but right now I’m trying to encourage him to join Crossfit. I just joined a women’s only gym that has classes (I need the classes at this point in my weight loss/get healthy journey) so I can’t do it with him, but he’s been talking about CrossFit since we did a Whole30 in February. I think he would really like it.

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