Valentine’s day highlights the similarities between the gym and relationships
Valentine’s Day has been and gone and it got me thinking about the parallels between fitness and relationships. If I had only realised this earlier in my life, I would have saved myself some heartache!
In fairytales, Cupid’s main purpose was to help people fall in love but the problem is that we don’t live in a fairytale world.
In the fitness world, people interested in joining a large chain gym are met by the sales Cupid who entices the prospective member into a one-year romance after only a 15-minute conversation — 15 minutes!
Now how would you react if after 15 minutes of meeting a man or a woman on a night out they started talking about how you would both spend the next year together?
Personally, I would make my excuses and sprint home to put my rabbit into protective custody. It would never work out — I would be setting myself up for failure.
I would need time to develop a relationship with someone first, get to know them before making a decision on whether to continue meeting each other.
It is this reason that so many people have either left their gym after only six weeks or they are avoiding it and are instead feeling used and reluctant to enter another gym relationship. Cupid’s arrow has left a scar and the sight of the keyring and the monthly direct debits are reminders of this recent whirlwind romance.
For some fitness enthusiasts, Valentine’s Day represents a day off training for a romantic night out for dinner and wine. For others it might be a lonely night at the gym with like-minded souls. Whatever the case may be, there is a parallel between the successes you create in your personal relationships and the love you maintain for fitness.
For example, when you choose a partner in a relationship the criteria will be similar to that when choosing a training partner. You should find someone you feel comfortable with, someone whom you can depend on, and someone who you can look towards for inspiration.
You don’t want someone who fails to commit, devalues your time, or displays negative or pessimistic attitudes. You want someone who shares the same values and goals as you do, not someone who is just using you for the ride.
This person doesn’t necessarily need to be just like you, because you won’t be able to excel if the person doesn’t pick up the pieces in the areas where you are weak. This person should balance your weaknesses and your strengths.
In relationships, some people settle for someone who is not necessarily the best fit for them, but satisfies the love or satisfaction they need for that moment.
You may remain loyal to them in the same way that you may have remained loyal to an old training partner even though you may have outgrown them.
You both started out with the same goals, but as time went by, things changed and that person wasn’t as driven and passionate as you and their goals changed. When this happens, you may need to consider changing partners.
Relationships, like training, can reach a plateau and so it is important to continually do something new and exciting, like trips abroad, or engage in new activities to prevent boredom setting in.
Your body also becomes bored if you do the same training programmes continually and so you must update your exercises and your training programmes every three weeks.
When you are training it is important to set targets and to visualise what you are trying to achieve.
You need to look at your goals — whether it is to maintain weight, build muscle, lose fat, tighten skin or rehabilitate bones and joints.
The same can be said for a partner. You might have an idea of what your partner looks like, where they socialise and what form of income bracket you want them to be in.
Consistency is a common characteristic found in successful gym-goers. Their excuses are left at the door when they are sore from a previous training session and although they may not be getting the results they want, they train anyway and it is this consistency that will help them remain fit for life.
Relationships too only work when both partners are focused and are not tempted to stray.
You need to be consistent when it comes to your body. Changing your shape does not end in the gym because 80pc of your results will be dictated by your diet, so if you stray from your nutrition you are affecting its relationship with your training.
Relationships will hit challenging times where you believe that there is no solution to your problems.
Likewise, in training, there are going to be times when you are staring at the mirror and all you see is love handles, cellulite and a beer belly: fat all over.
Never give up hope. It is when we appear to be far away from our goals that it is difficult to stay confident and on track. So if you want to be a lean, mean love machine you need to treat relationships and fitness like banks — you will only get out of them what you put in.