My fiancé and I met at a gym -- I work for one and Rod is a member. I was walking to the locker room wearing my "Pilates" uniform shirt, and he was working out with his friend by the squat cage (home to weight plates, Olympic bars and general "manly" fitness tools). We got to talking, and soon he offered to take me out surfing (his profession) and I offered him a Pilates session (my profession). And that was all it took! For us, movement, sports and fitness have always been an important part of both of our lives, so from our very first meeting, we already had a lot in common. What we didn't have in common were the types of exercise we engaged in. My background was mostly dance, Pilates, yoga and martial arts. His background was swimming, weight lifting, surfing and kayaking. So in the initial courting stage, it was a novelty to try out each other's choices in exercise -- although my adventures in learning to surf have turned out better than Rod's in dancing...
Rod gave me a very warm wetsuit (I am a wimp when it comes to cold), and taught me how to paddle out, how to read the waves and know where to take off, how hard you have to paddle to catch those rascally waves and most importantly how glorious it feels to glide along the face of a breaking wave. Back in the gym, he taught me how functional weight lifting was the missing link in my training regime -- we worked hard on basic but important compound movements like pull ups, dead lifts, overhead press, front squats and kettlebell swings. I went from not being able to do a single pull up to being able to do 6 in a row. My Pilates and yoga practices both improved because I had more underlying strength to bring to the movements.
In exchange, I brought Rod into the Pilates studio and we found that while he could bench press 330 pounds, he didn't have enough core strength to roll himself up off the mat, and he could barely touch his toes. I taught him a lot about why core connection and flexibility are equally as important as brute strength. He can now do a pretty decent "fruit roll up" as he fondly calls the Pilates exercise called the "roll up", and he has much more core endurance. In addition to Pilates, we also tackled the yoga studio together. I love yoga -- especially the very challenging arm balances. He kept saying he needed more yoga, so I bought him a high-end yoga mat (even fancier than my own) and started taking him with me to my yoga classes. Initially it was very hard for him, and he would ask me after class for modifications for certain poses. Now, he asks me when our next class is going to be, and his flexibility has improved (especially his hip and thoracic mobility).
Through our journey, which continues to develop, we have both opened our minds to things we didn't even consider before. The cross pollination of our workouts has genuinely enriched both of us. Guys generally need more core strength, flexibility and mobility to keep them injury free, and women should use heavier weights to help them keep osteoporosis at bay and give their bodies sleek lines and strength. Sharing our knowledge about fitness with each other has taught us a lot about marriage too -- we've learned how much we can challenge each other, how important the balance of give and take is, and most importantly we have developed deep respect for each other. Whether he is cheering me on as I find the perfect slot to take off on a wave or I give him a little smile in yoga as he gets his feet off the ground for a second in Crow pose, exercising together strengthens our relationship every day. So guys, don't be scared of the yoga mat and the Pilates studio, and ladies, put down the little pink dumbbells and get competent in the major compound lifts. Maybe after seeing your excellent form, your future partner will even ask you for a spot!