The past two months have been kind of great around my apartment. It’s cleaner. It’s calmer. We’re spending — and wasting — less. We’re cooking more. And we’re actually here less in general. And all this? Can be attributed to my new love, CrossFit. (And to a lesser extent, my mistress, yoga.)
First, some backstory.
So, the difficulties of maintaining your weight and healthy eating habits when you’re in a relationship are something a lot of people know far too well. You’re more comfortable, you would rather hang out with your new SO than go to the gym, you’re eating in restaurants more, women find themselves eating man-sized portions all of a sudden…the list goes on and on. I never thought Eric and I would have this problem. I mean, our love of spin classes is one of the first things we bonded over when we were introduced. However, I’ve been known to eat my feelings, especially happy ones, so if this was going to happen, I kind of thought it would happen to me.
Surprisingly, it didn’t. It happened to Eric. While the new relationship had a lot to do with it, his new job was actually the bigger catalyst. After six months of insane workweeks, my triathlete-loving, “Sorry I can’t tonight because I’m going on a 35 mile bike ride at 7 AM on a Sunday morning,” I-think-you-might-love-yourself-a-little-too-much boyfriend had no motivation and had gained about 15 pounds.
While the relationship wasn’t the main reason, it certainly didn’t help. I mean, I couldn’t blame him for wanting to watch one of our shows together in the evening instead of going for a run. I wanted to do the same thing. Still, I was managing to get my workouts in. The main difference between us? I was taking classes.
To me, classes are the best way to stay motivated. (To be honest, right now, it’s the only way I can stay motivated. The thought of going to a gym to do cardio for 30 minutes alone makes me feel quite sad.) From the motivation I get from a group and instructor to the fact that it’s a hobby to the fact that it costs too much not to go once I’ve signed up, I’m all about classes.
Despite how passionate I am about taking classes, Eric remained unconvinced.
(Even though the rare times he did work out, he was going to classes.)
So every month or so, we’d have the same conversation. He’d tell me he really needed to get motivated and get back in the habit of working out regularly. He’d come up with a plan. I’d encourage said plan. Sometimes I’d mention classes, but he seemed certain he could do it without them. And then, every month, he’d sort of miss his goal. And by “sort of,” I mean “completely.”
I was kind of torn about how much motivation and support I should provide in this situation. I mean, yes I wanted him to get back in the habit of working out and eating healthy because it’s ya know, something I strongly believe is necessary to living a healthy, happy life. But on the other hand, I didn’t want to be bossy about it. And while I cared, I didn’t care. I mean, while he was unhappy about the weight gain, it didn’t bother me at all. I thought he looked great. Sure his health was on the back of my mind, but not enough to start nagging him about it.
During our regular conversations on the topic, I tried my best to motivate him. I kept suggesting he take classes and told him how much I thought he’d like CrossFit. He seemed optimistic that he’d love it, but he wouldn’t pull the trigger and join. There were times when we worked out together, but they were typically one-time things; we couldn’t seem to get in the habit of working out together regularly. I did everything I could to not enable him to stay on the couch snuggling with me. But ultimately, it’s his life and I wasn’t going to nag him into doing anything.
So that’s how I felt about it at first. Then, back in December, I started to really care.
We were e-mailing and he was doing his typical “I really need to get motivated to start working out again regularly” thing and at that point, I had just had enough. See, even though I didn’t care that he had gained weight, he cared. A lot. And it was really hard for me to watch him lose the athletic, fit, “Sure I’ll run that half-marathon in a month with you because I’m in great shape and don’t need to worry about training” part of himself. Like a lot of people who have lost a good amount of weight and discovered how much they actually enjoy fitness, Eric took a lot of pride in this part of his identity. That pride gave him a lot of confidence and the absence of it was hard on both of us. At that point, I wanted him to start working out for selfish reasons: it was breaking my heart to watch him get so down on himself.
So I told him as such. Bluntly. And then I basically said, “Look, here’s a CrossFit gym by your office and I think you’re more likely to go because of the location. It’s cheaper than the one by our apartment. The classes are at convenient times. The way you’ve been trying to do things isn’t working and I’m not surprised — because motivating yourself is hard. But since we can both agree that you will probably love CrossFit and I’m saying that we cannot continue to have this conversation every month, today is the day. I mean this with a lot of love but…seriously, call the guy and set up a consult today or imma go batshit tonight when you get home tonight.”
(You know…in so many words.)
So he signed up. And he did, in fact, thank me later.
Because CrossFit? Has been awesome.
First, as predicted, he loves it. Eric really prefers in-your-face type workouts and just getting his ass kicked, so he’s all about this style of workout. While he hasn’t been doing it long enough to see any huge changes in his body, he’s getting much better at the WODs, so that’s something. The great classes plus the initial results are just making him excited about working out again.
And the effects it has had on my relationship have been even better.
With Eric going to CrossFit three times a week and me going to yoga four times a week, we had to start using a calendar to keep track of who was working out which nights and who was on dinner/dog walking duties. Um, a calendar? Is a breakthrough for us. As I’ve said before, Eric does not share my strength with time management. But his stricter workout schedule pretty much forced him to start doing it, and that makes life so much easier for both of us. To stay on top of everything, we each have nights to be out of the apartment working out and nights we come straight home from work.
The apartment is cleaner because better time management means we’re better about doing our chores. And it’s calmer well…because it’s cleaner. (That makes me calmer anyway.) Really, it’s calmer because (duh) working out beats stress, and because of the aforementioned calendar, but mainly it’s calmer because all that time Eric is spending at CrossFit is time he’s not spending with me.
As I said, we’re home less, and we’re home together less. Because Eric and I are so similar and we are good friends, it’s easy for us to hang out together a lot, which isn’t always good for a relationship. It’s been nice to sort of have our own spheres where we can each retreat and we know the other can’t come with us. An an added bonus, the nights I come straight home, I write more, which has been as big of a boost to my own happiness and confidence as working out. Ultimately, the time we spend apart makes us both look forward to catching up at the end of the day even more.
One more lovely side effect of the fitness revival: Eric and I are back to bonding through nerdy, fitness-related conversations. (We’re also bonding over our sore muscles.) I’m really enjoying little things like talking about our workouts and progress, discussing an article about diet or exercise, trying new healthy foods together, or going shoe shopping for new athletic shoes.
So while I have no desire to do that crazy-ass shit Eric does at CrossFit, I will totally call myself a fan of CrossFit. He’s happier, I’m happier, and everyone is getting laid more.
Sounds like a great workout to me.