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Working Out with my Boyfriend - advice?


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Hi all. I am a 29/F and my boyfriend is a 30/M.

 

Background: We have been together for a year now. I started working out maybe one year before I met him. I started with the old school Insanity DVDs, then I got a subscription to BeachBody on Demand and graduated to Insanity Max 30. I got GREAT results with these programs (I was very lean). I was also eating less. Once I completed Insanity Max 30, I wanted to start putting on more muscle.

 

My boyfriend likes bodybuilding. His idol is Arnold Schwarzenegger. He did not do much cardio or HIIT (if any) and didn't really need to. He also eats giant meals and requires a lot of carbs. He LOVES to cook. He used to work out at the gym and we used to live separately.

 

When COVID-19 hit, the gyms closed and a lot changed. While we still lived separately, I got some free weights right about when the pandemic started and I started some weightlifting programs on BeachBody (The Prep & The Work), which he did with me since the gyms are closed. Somewhere in the middle, we moved in together. When we finished the programs on BB, we agreed that we did not necessarily like the style of the programs, but we liked the results. Since he has been into weightlifting and was excited that I liked it too, he offered to create a workout calendar for us. I obliged. The program focuses on weightlifting and includes some HIIT, and the workouts take 45-60 minutes, which has been fine for now because we both had relatively open schedules for the summer. I've definitely made some muscle gains, but I gained a lot of belly weight back and lost my visible abs I got doing Insanity. I have enjoyed working out with him, and he gives great advice on form and everything, but we do not track our progress and we do the same workouts every week without upping the reps or anything. I feel like I've plateaued and I am unhappy with my belly compared to what I used to have. We do almost no cardio and the HIIT exercises he has are really just weightlifting moves that we do on a circuit instead of by reps.

 

The problem: I've been wanting to change my diet (he cooks all the meals lately) and my workouts. I want to do more cardio and/or high intensity workouts as well as weightlifting. I do not want to JUST do weightlifting. My endurance has gone way down. Whenever I talk about possibly doing my own thing, he seems to get a little upset, although he tries to make it seem like he is only joking. I love my boyfriend, and this is the best relationship I've ever had. I've never felt more loved and supported. I feel like this is a silly issue to have, but I don't want my diet and fitness journey to be controlled by someone else. I want to be able to change up my workouts if I want to, change up my diet, experiment with things, etc. without someone having their feelings hurt or trying to tell me what is right and wrong. I know it is not his intention to control my workouts and diet, and I know he gets pride from basically having someone to train who has made visible progress and who listens to the advice he gives. But if I speak up about my own fitness ideas or anything, he sort of just dismisses me. When I told him I wanted to eat smaller portions, less carbs, and do some more cardio to make my abs visible again he just says things like "I don't want an 'Instagram' body" and that he thinks my body is super sexy the way it is and he's the only person I need to worry about being sexy to [this is also in response to my diet concerns since he cooks our meals lately and we eat a LOT of sugary sweets, and he says he doesn't want an Instagram body because he wants to be able to keep eating those foods. I never said I wanted to go on a strict diet]. But I told him I am not happy with my own body and I need to feel sexy to myself and not just him. I also don't want an 'Instagram body' -- I just want the body I had last summer with more muscle (lol). I feel like in a roundabout way, by saying those things, he is kind of trying to discourage me from achieving my own fitness goals and instead to just adopt his. I could be totally overthinking this and I do feel like this is a stupid problem to have, since everything else in our relationship is wonderful.

 

I kind of want to start a hybrid workout calendar with two BeachBody programs but I also feel a little stunted here, like if I do so, he will be butthurt that I no longer want to do his program. I mentioned the program to him today and he just kind of said he was open to it and then went to sleep (he is starting a job today where he works an over night shift).

 

Does anyone have advice on how to approach this? This is also the first relationship I've been in where both my partner and I are physically active. What can I do to compromise?

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I think both of you have unhealthy approaches to food and exercise - way over the top, his need to control, your over-investment in specific types of programs ,etc when neither of you is a professional athlete. I would suggest that you each do your own thing -including in meal prep especially since you don't have kids and that you'll figure out a way to go for a run together or a brisk walk outside a few times a week -or a bike ride, etc. I think you two are feeding off each other in an unhealthy way

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Yeah I'm not seeing how you each can't do your own thing. A few years ago, my wife and I invested in basic equipment for a home gym. I primarily just do free weights with the bar and dumbbells. She does her own weight lifting and then typically yoga. Not a big deal. The only time I've ever said anything is if her form was off to the extent she could hurt herself. But at the end of the day, her body, her goals.

 

If you're convinced his intention isn't to control your exercise or diet, then you turn the situation into that which it would be obvious to both you and him that is what he'd be doing. Eat your smaller potions and do the workout you'd like to do. It'd be nice if you two had the exact same ideas and could effectively work out together, but if you don't, you don't. Plenty of other ways to bond. Let him know you respect his style but you're going after your own. Don't make it an argument or a debate. For my situation, it probably helps that my wife doesn't bounce niche workout and dietary plans off me, so I never feel compelled to bust out the bro science. If that's how you feel it's gone down, maybe just stick to implementing the ideas you like rather than making a discussion of them.

 

Sometimes less is more when it comes to communicating or seeking approval over these kinds of things.

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Yeah I'm not seeing how you each can't do your own thing. A few years ago, my wife and I invested in basic equipment for a home gym. I primarily just do free weights with the bar and dumbbells. She does her own weight lifting and then typically yoga. Not a big deal. The only time I've ever said anything is if her form was off to the extent she could hurt herself. But at the end of the day, her body, her goals.

 

If you're convinced his intention isn't to control your exercise or diet, then you turn the situation into that which it would be obvious to both you and him that is what he'd be doing. Eat your smaller potions and do the workout you'd like to do. It'd be nice if you two had the exact same ideas and could effectively work out together, but if you don't, you don't. Plenty of other ways to bond. Let him know you respect his style but you're going after your own. Don't make it an argument or a debate. For my situation, it probably helps that my wife doesn't bounce niche workout and dietary plans off me, so I never feel compelled to bust out the bro science. If that's how you feel it's gone down, maybe just stick to implementing the ideas you like rather than making a discussion of them.

 

Sometimes less is more when it comes to communicating or seeking approval over these kinds of things.

 

I agree with one minor exception -I think it is bonding when the couple are into exercise/fitness even if they do totally different things -it's a common value, a common love of moving your body, challenging yourself, etc.

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I don't see why it's even open for debate, unless you allow it

Thank him for his input and then do your own thing. You don't need his permission or approval. . Period.

If he gets 'butt hurt' as you put it. Let him work through it on his own

You aren't responsible for his feelings. Not where this is concerned.

Stay upbeat, carry on, eat what you want even if he's cooking it and don't get roped into debating how you want to handle your own health.

If you were doing something dangerous or bad for your health that would be different.

Diets and workouts vary from person to person. There isn't a one size fits all. You know what's best for you. Don't second guess that.

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Oh yeah, you got sucked in to "I just want to show you some things" trap lol..

Just tell him you love him, suggest some fun physical things you can do together that aren't your workout routine, and explain to him that you will be doing your own plan from now on. You are totally different body types, have different goals, and have different nutritional needs. Don't feel bad! You aren't committing a crime, I promise:)

Full disclosure, my SO and I tried working out together when we first got together. Both physically active, but very different styles and motivations. He was keen to try so we could "teach each other", I was not as I've done that dance before. I get weirdly competitive, and he got a glimpse of it. It's perfect with each of us doing our own thing and just sticking to the fun casual activities together.

 

I just want to mention too, Beach Body is a mlm. I'm glad you got Kickstarted into finding a passion for fitness, but google it. There's lots of great stuff out there for you to explore that isn't an mlm and isn't your bf's plan, and I hope you explore it!

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You may be undercutting yourself when you're bringing the topic up. Speak about it seriously and take yourself more seriously when you're discussing what your goals are. Don't dismiss each other. Avoid words like "butthurt" or any other accusatory or anxious talk. I think you need to be a bit more confident and assertive when it comes to your health and what you prefer. Open up the discussion that way and take an interest in his programs also.

 

Both of you seem very vested in these activities but you've stopped treating each other or respecting each other as individuals. He may believe he's helping you but you should speak up for yourself.

 

If it means that you both work out at different times of the day or aren't in sync all the time that's fine. See whether you can also keep some of the same elements so that you can share some parts of a certain program and still do that together. I think he is trying to connect and bond with you but he's not realizing he's stifling you. Continue to bond but start working on your goals also.

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You may be undercutting yourself when you're bringing the topic up. Speak about it seriously and take yourself more seriously when you're discussing what your goals are. Don't dismiss each other. Avoid words like "butthurt" or any other accusatory or anxious talk. I think you need to be a bit more confident and assertive when it comes to your health and what you prefer. Open up the discussion that way and take an interest in his programs also.

 

Both of you seem very vested in these activities but you've stopped treating each other or respecting each other as individuals. He may believe he's helping you but you should speak up for yourself.

 

If it means that you both work out at different times of the day or aren't in sync all the time that's fine. See whether you can also keep some of the same elements so that you can share some parts of a certain program and still do that together. I think he is trying to connect and bond with you but he's not realizing he's stifling you. Continue to bond but start working on your goals also.

 

I completely agree.

And yes Beachbody is an MLM and I've been contacted by several people who won't take no for an answer so I just shut them down. It's kind of creepy because these are otherwise nice people and this program triggers this heavy handed pressure filled sales approach so who knows what their sales meetings are like.

Basic stuff works wonders. Cardio can be running or power walking -I love the Leslie Sansome walk from home DVDs/app with exercise band. It's just DVDs if that's all you want - no sales pressure, not an MLM -I do that as a last resort if I cannot get outside - (our fitness room is only partially reopened because of covid otherwise I go there).

I also agree about the food. You sound like you're over the top and doing things for reasons other than health and fitness.

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I would enjoy working out with BF whenever I WANT to, but I'd diverge into my own core and cardio stuff whenever I WANT to.

 

I'd also design my own diet the way I WANT to.

 

Our own body needs needn't be a democracy in order to bond in other times or ways with a lover.

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THANK YOU! I know BeachBody is an MLM and it doesn't bother me. I just have the BOD subscription so I can stream any workouts I want any time. I don't buy any of their other products, I buy my own powders, supplements, and. I just like the BB programs because of their structure and the motivational aspect of it. There are TONS of "Instagram trainers" that post workouts all the time and I have saved many of them to try.

 

I have tried mentioning it to him again and he really gets offended but tries to play it off. I've worked out by myself the last couple of days doing Insanity inside (it's hot and humid where we live) because he just started a new job working an overnight shift, which complicates things further. I keep telling him I have a different style and different needs and I like variety and he just says he can change the plan he made and he needs my input! My problem is, I don't really have input besides the input I've already provided. I am not an expert on workouts, I don't know names of moves and I also don't have time to really think about the kinds of workout moves I want to do because I am full-time law student and I will be starting a part-time job on top of that in September. I like BB programs or workout videos on IG/YouTube BECAUSE I don't have to THINK about it. I can just pick one, and do it. So, I don't know. I will try using some of the language that's been suggested on here. I would like to continue to workout simultaneously with him but I would rather us do our own things.

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You may be undercutting yourself when you're bringing the topic up. Speak about it seriously and take yourself more seriously when you're discussing what your goals are. Don't dismiss each other. Avoid words like "butthurt" or any other accusatory or anxious talk. I think you need to be a bit more confident and assertive when it comes to your health and what you prefer. Open up the discussion that way and take an interest in his programs also.

 

Both of you seem very vested in these activities but you've stopped treating each other or respecting each other as individuals. He may believe he's helping you but you should speak up for yourself.

 

If it means that you both work out at different times of the day or aren't in sync all the time that's fine. See whether you can also keep some of the same elements so that you can share some parts of a certain program and still do that together. I think he is trying to connect and bond with you but he's not realizing he's stifling you. Continue to bond but start working on your goals also.

 

Yes, I think you're right. I have voiced it many times and he just keeps saying he'll change up the plan or whatever, but he's not really understanding my words, and then I drop it rather than assert myself. We are a very loving couple and I do really think he is trying to bond with me, and teach me things, which is great. He has taught me a lot and we've done his program for 4 weeks and now but it's gotten boring for me and it's not really hitting me the way I want my workouts to hit. He seems offended that I don't want to keep doing his program(s) and that I want to do my own thing which makes me back off a bit on doing my own thing.

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I completely agree.

And yes Beachbody is an MLM and I've been contacted by several people who won't take no for an answer so I just shut them down. It's kind of creepy because these are otherwise nice people and this program triggers this heavy handed pressure filled sales approach so who knows what their sales meetings are like.

Basic stuff works wonders. Cardio can be running or power walking -I love the Leslie Sansome walk from home DVDs/app with exercise band. It's just DVDs if that's all you want - no sales pressure, not an MLM -I do that as a last resort if I cannot get outside - (our fitness room is only partially reopened because of covid otherwise I go there).

I also agree about the food. You sound like you're over the top and doing things for reasons other than health and fitness.

 

Hi! I've never been approached by any BB sales people! That is interesting you've had that experience. I just purchased the On Demand thing and I stream any workouts I want any time. I am not apart of any specific BB program or anything like that nor do I purchase any of their supplements or feel pressured to do so. I just do some BB workouts from home if I feel like it. I like the programs so I've done a couple of them but I also want to do other things, I just like to have the workouts there if I want them. I'm not a gym person and much prefer to workout at home.

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I don't? You seem to misunderstand. I never seed I needed my boyfriend to tell me what to do or how to eat. I did my own workouts prior to meeting him and he was going to the gym. We only started working out together once the gyms closed (because I'm not a gym person). After we finished a BB program together, he wanted to make us a workout plan to do together as a bonding experience, so we did that for about 4 weeks and now I want to do something else but he wants to keep doing that, so here I am asking for advice on how to let him know I'd rather do my own thing than the program he spent time creating for both of us. Also he doesn't tell me how to eat, he just cooks the meals. I don't cook much and I don't have time to cook much. I do the dishes :p he cooks pretty well rounded meals but lots of carbs, and we also like to indulge ourselves in dessert pretty often, I've gained weight in the stomach area because of the combo of doing no cardio and eating big meals plus dessert, so I'm looking to eat smaller portions and less sugar to get back down to my ideal body weight.

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Why do you use any powders and supplements? Also of course he understands you -he just doesn't feel like listening or changing his actions or behavior.

 

I use powders and supplements to remain healthy and to help reduce muscle soreness. By supplements, I mean -- vitamins (a multi, a probiotic, and omega 3-6-9 with fish oil since I don't eat any seafood). By powders, I mean, protein powder (which I customize with a local shop to add in whatever nutrients I feel I need and lack in my regular diet such as fiber). I also sometimes add in super greens if I didn't eat a lot of vegetables in a week. The protein shakes help with my muscle soreness and also count as a meal replacement especially on busy days when I don't have much time to sit down and eat a proper meal. Nothing crazy.

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For meals, I'll just pass on an idea that maybe will be helpful maybe not.

My SO and I both cook, but we eat quite differently. What we will often do is cook "building blocks" for meals, and thrn each thow together our own plates at the end. He eats vegan and is a big man, I eat omni and I'm a petite woman. So for example, we might cook say, tofu, turkey, grains, variety of roasted veg, salad, and each put on our plate what and how much we like. Fully constructed meals are usually for days we have a lot of time to cook together.

 

Anyways, I know you are going to do well because you have obvious self motivation and discipline. That's awesome! Don't let these bumps weigh you down.. He will get over it.

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You sound like you're over the top and doing things for reasons other than health and fitness.

 

I just want to address this comment as well because this is at least the second comment of this type. I am not "over the top". I only started working out and eating healthier like two years ago. Before that, I felt like crap about myself, I had no energy, I was physically weak, and too thin to the point where my family members and friends would be asking me if I was eating and/or telling me I looked unwell. I would not eat sometimes for a day because of stress and depression. When I started working out, it not only made me feel better, stronger, more energetic, healthier, etc., but it had a DRASTIC affect on my mood. It was something constructive that I could do that was healthy, and also something that I could do that gave me visible results. I could set goals, and achieve them with physical and mental results. It is an outlet for me to relieve stress. I enjoy it. I do prefer high intensity workouts, I am a small person so they come easy to me and I get bored easily. Those types of workouts keep me moving almost constantly, and I feel great when I am done. For the lack of time that I have in my life right now, they work perfectly for me. Just because you don't enjoy a certain type of lifestyle does not mean that someone who does is "overdoing it" or is "over the top" and that's not for you to judge. I wasn't asking about whether anyone thinks my workout preference or my lifestyle choices are the rights ones. I am simply asking for advice on how to let my boyfriend know that I may not want to do all the workouts he wants to do all the time without offending him since he seems predisposed to taking offense to it. I appreciate your concern, and maybe I don't do it JUST for physical health and fitness, but it counts as a mental escape and stress relieving activity for me as well, and I don't see a problem with that.

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Yes, I think you're right. I have voiced it many times and he just keeps saying he'll change up the plan or whatever, but he's not really understanding my words, and then I drop it rather than assert myself. We are a very loving couple and I do really think he is trying to bond with me, and teach me things, which is great. He has taught me a lot and we've done his program for 4 weeks and now but it's gotten boring for me and it's not really hitting me the way I want my workouts to hit. He seems offended that I don't want to keep doing his program(s) and that I want to do my own thing which makes me back off a bit on doing my own thing.

 

Let it blow over and keep reaffirming in other ways (NOT having to do with your work outs) that you love him. I'd think of this as mixing business with pleasure. The lines here are blurring. You do need to practice more assertiveness. Stay upbeat and your regular self and don't become resentful or dismissive towards each other or give each other the cold shoulder. Thank him for the suggestions but you can also mention that you'd like to try out something new of your own (a new repertoire or routine).

 

I think the way he's showing you he's affectionate and loving is by sharing his routines and ensuring that you get the best workout (in his mind). This is something like his love language for you. Don't get offended. It's just a waste of energy. Stay yourself and upbeat and enjoy your workouts and continue reaffirming your love and affection for him. You're taking away some of his joy. Just reverse it and give back in other ways. It's part of give and take in a relationship.

 

You're doing great, by the way. You sound like a happy and balanced individual. There are always those moments in a relationship where we question ourselves because the other partner feels strongly about something.

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For meals, I'll just pass on an idea that maybe will be helpful maybe not.

My SO and I both cook, but we eat quite differently. What we will often do is cook "building blocks" for meals, and thrn each thow together our own plates at the end. He eats vegan and is a big man, I eat omni and I'm a petite woman. So for example, we might cook say, tofu, turkey, grains, variety of roasted veg, salad, and each put on our plate what and how much we like. Fully constructed meals are usually for days we have a lot of time to cook together.

 

Anyways, I know you are going to do well because you have obvious self motivation and discipline. That's awesome! Don't let these bumps weigh you down.. He will get over it.

 

Thanks for the understanding and kind words! I used to cook for myself and I definitely ate much smaller meals when I did haha but we just moved in together recently and we are in the middle of a pandemic where we are both home ALL the time so we are definitely just figuring out how to live together! It has been pretty wonderful I have to say. He loves to cook and has more time to do it than I do so that is kind of why he became the chef. His meals are literally chef quality meals, so I can't complain. I just don't need to eat huge portions like I have been doing to the point where I feel overstuffed. You know, he just does these things out of love or as a way to bond with me and seems predisposed to get upset say, if I don't finish a meal, or if I don't want to lift weights for an hour lol. I am just trying to learn how to handle this because I've honestly never had an issue like this before. I was not physically active in my past relationships and I was the one who did all the work, meal prepping, cleaning, etc. so this is very new to me!

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Let it blow over and keep reaffirming in other ways (NOT having to do with your work outs) that you love him. I'd think of this as mixing business with pleasure. The lines here are blurring. You do need to practice more assertiveness. Stay upbeat and your regular self and don't become resentful or dismissive towards each other or give each other the cold shoulder. Thank him for the suggestions but you can also mention that you'd like to try out something new of your own (a new repertoire or routine).

 

I think the way he's showing you he's affectionate and loving is by sharing his routines and ensuring that you get the best workout (in his mind). This is something like his love language for you. Don't get offended. It's just a waste of energy. Stay yourself and upbeat and enjoy your workouts and continue reaffirming your love and affection for him. You're taking away some of his joy. Just reverse it and give back in other ways. It's part of give and take in a relationship.

 

You're doing great, by the way. You sound like a happy and balanced individual. There are always those moments in a relationship where we question ourselves because the other partner feels strongly about something.

 

Thank you! I do feel very happy and balanced in my life at this point. I definitely don't feel offended but I am trying to avoid making him feel offended. I think you're right that he's trying to show his love by teaching me all about weightlifting and what not. I know once I showed an interest in it, his heart flew haha. That is great advice to basically reverse back some of the joy he loses from us working out together in other ways! I will definitely think more about what else I can do to make him feel loved and needed.

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My BF and I were together for a year each doing our own thing with one or two shared things that we always did together... he loved weightlifting, I love CrossFit, so we did our own work outs during the week and then on weekends would go on long hikes. Then after a year of being together he decided that he wanted to try CrossFit... now he is absolutely in love with it.

 

We also have vastly different physical needs... I am a peri-menopausal female that went from being an ectomorph to being someone that really struggles with putting on fat around my middle, as well as having a number of food in-sensitivities, and Crohn's so I am prone to inflammation... so I need to be very diligent about what / how much I eat, and self aware of how much stress I am putting on my body... he is a former professional cyclist, a mesomorph, and naturally athletic with A LOT of energy to burn so he needs to eat more and eat differently

 

At the end of the day I can't keep up with him and maintain my ultimate physical health. I eat differently, and work out differently... we also have varying differences in our schedules... so we choose to work out on average two days a week together at CrossFit, and then do a hike on the weekends, and when we can't work out together we motivate one another to keep moving and cheer each other on after. It's working well for me.... I think my BF would love it if we worked out together every single time but he also is happy as long as I commit to doing it with him on a regular basis.

 

It's about finding a balance that works for you and doing what you love, while find a way to do something together with your BF as well. Lot's of guys don't understand that women have different needs nutritionally / at the gym so perhaps sitting down and sharing information you find about that sort of thing might help as well.

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Thank you! I do feel very happy and balanced in my life at this point. I definitely don't feel offended but I am trying to avoid making him feel offended. I think you're right that he's trying to show his love by teaching me all about weightlifting and what not. I know once I showed an interest in it, his heart flew haha. That is great advice to basically reverse back some of the joy he loses from us working out together in other ways! I will definitely think more about what else I can do to make him feel loved and needed.
Why? You're not telling him his workout plan is ****. You've simply found something that you enjoy more. Would I personally greatly prefer my wife let me come up with a regimen for her rather than subscribing to BB? Honestly, probably. But if she's having a good time and getting / staying healthy with it, it's absolutely 0% my place to tell her what she should have to consult me.

 

I'm sorry, but him getting upset you didn't finish a portion that was larger than you ever asked for or you not following the weight lifting routine he wants you to isn't just a cutesy haha expression of love. He's decided your nutrition and exercise are his domain. It's not cool, and it's certainly not something you entertain. The extent to which he's being a full-on jerk about it boils down to whether he can respect your straight-forward wishes. It's not a good look either way, but some people occasionally need to be told in more uncertain terms than others do. "It's nothing against your workout plans. I simply feel more motivated to workout with this, so this is what I'm going to do." Some people will take an inch of wishy-washy and run with it a mile. Don't make it a negotiation.

 

And again, not saying that you are, but if he has fundamental differences with the plans you're following, it's best not to bounce the specific details off him lest you want to invite those differences being discussed.

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