Monday, January 26, 2009

When She/He Doesn't "Get It"

My wife was never really into athletics. She likes to exercise, but she doesn't "get" my need to lift heavy things... at all. That's okay and, actually, I wouldn't have it any other way. You see, I really do believe in the idea of couples shoring up each other's weaknesses and complimenting each other's strengths. My wife keeps me from becoming a total meathead, and I keep her from being a total priss. We have our differences from time to time and, occasionally, issues concerning my "hobby" come to a head, but we've been together for a long time now and I've learned a few things about keeping training time sacred.


Make your training goals and plans clear to your significant other. Make your training plans clear to your significant other well in advance. Having a large calendar with training times written down in a central location shares your level of commitment with everyone.


Training in the morning can be invigorating. Training late at night can be a great stress reliever. Be flexible about when you are willing to work out. It will make finding time to train a lot easier and inconvenience everyone else less.
For the record, I'm just like most people and, if I had my druthers, I'd be training in mid-late afternoon and have a solid, uninterrupted 1-2 hours of time to work with. However, since my son was born, most of my training has been in the 9pm-12am time slot, with a lot of 15-30 minute sessions thrown in wherever possible.


Consistently finding hour or two hour blocks of time is tough enough if you are a working man (or woman). Finding a half hour here and there is a lot easier.
Split your training sessions into main exercises and assistance work and do them in separately. With focus, you can ramp up to respectable poundages and get in your work sets in a much shorter length of time than you are used to. It may require a few weeks to acclimate to the new pace, but it's doable for most. No more putzing around with your iPod, cell phone, preening yourself in a giant mirror, staring at the gym "eye-candy", or long water breaks - get in and get out!

(or anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine's Day, etc.)*

Training sessions scheduled on "date nights" are a major no-no. And, (if you didn't know this already) it doesn't matter if there are no plans whatsoever - do NOT schedule anything on your spouse's day off, Valentine's Day, major holidays, etc.
I know what you're thinking; "But Christmas Day is a perfect training day!! Nobody else is in the gym and I have so much time!". You're preaching to the choir, buddy. Give it up. You can't win. Spend the time with your partner. ...and NO, I don't mean your training partner!


Gestures like the occasional "Aw, what the hell - I'm supposed to train, but I'd rather be with you honey!" can go a long way towards fostering good-will. ...and who knows if it's spontaneous or if you managed to get your training session in earlier in the week? Front load your training week and days like this are easier to come by later in the week.


I don't make much and every year is in the red when it comes to lifting expenses vs. coaching income. That's okay because I don't do it for the money. On the other hand, I can't be spending money irresponsibly either - it's easy to rack up costs in the thousands of $$ when you are buying equipment, traveling to competitions and seminars, paying for gym memberships, and reading S&C literature.
Learn how to say "no" when it comes to unnecessary lifting toys. Do you really need that #2.5 CoC? Can you do without this month's PLUSA even though it has that Dr. Judd article you've been waiting for?
Find ways to cut costs elsewhere. Ride a bicycle when you can. Give up that daily can of Coke from the vending machine. Eat out less.
$5 here and there adds up very quickly - we all know this, but deny it when it suits our moods. Don't indulge yourself in that line of thinking anymore and your spouse will see you as a more responsible person and be secure that training hasn't turned you into some neanderthal man that puts lifting metal, stones, and sand on a pedestal higher than the love of his or her life.


Aaron Friday said...

Boris, you are much larger and blacker than I envisioned, LOL!

Fortunately, we don't have any illusions when it comes to holidays or Hallmark days. Celebrations happen whenever they are called for, and it's usually spontaneous.

Since my wife is more devoted to iron than I am, I follow her to the gym rather than the other way around.

Must be good karma on my part.

On the other hand, I'm obsessed with economics and preparation for bad things to come, which should suit me well in my next life as a squirrel.

Boris said...

Sounds like a good match Aaron!

I've done a lot of training on holidays, but they've never gone well even when the wife was understanding. I just gave them up eventually and this year I was so busy shoveling that I just called that GPP and was done with it!

I'm a big fan of squirrels btw.

Boris said...

Oh, and the large and black thing - you know, if I stand in just the right light in the bathroom and look in the mirror at the right time of day I can see an ab or two. It's kind of like that.

Adam said...

Most peoples relationship time is built around staring at the the idiot box or stuffing their sucks, so making training the central "time spent" activity is the way to go.

You have to learn how to put your foot down on issues--health is most important. If you're a man, being married takes 15 years off your life, so you might as well spend some more time in the gym...

Anonymous said...

Great topic Boris. So many times communication is a problem

Rannoch Donald said...

Excellent post Boris. Rings a bell.

I think alot of people don't get "it". It becomes a given, something you do like brushing your teeth or walking the dog.

I deserve to be able to train the way I do. But sometimes you simply have to justify it for those who don't get "it"!

Sean Schniederjan RKC said...

This is a good topic Boris. I like what you say. I think alot of it depends on the dispositions of one's spouse. My SO is a fiery Italian woman who I've tried in so many ways to coarse into working out with me. That didn't work.

I've resigned to not worry about it. Man is an artist and a lover and in being an artist we tend to want to shape our spouses into an image that we choose, like a sculptor shapes the clay out of the image he has in his mind. Love is more of an act of acceptance of who the other is. For the love to grow, we have to be good at the latter.

I've found that since adopting this attitude, the wife has been more curious about my training lately. She's extremely pregnant right now so maybe she'll get into it when she recovers, but if not no big deal.

Iron Tamer said...

Great post, true wisdom.

Another related point about "getting it":

A post PR set phone call that went something like this-
Me(huffin and puffin): I just.....snatched a 24kg.....260 ten......minutes!

My Wife: Why?

fawn said...

I am so lucky to be married to Aaron! He is the person who turned me on to weight training.

He bought me Power to the People for Valentine's day about 3 years ago. He also taught me how to deadlift.

Aaron is the perfect training partner. When my squat training fell on Christmas Day last year, he joined me at The Press Gym for my workout. This year we spent Christmas Eve deadlifting.

Aaron goes to all my powerlifting meets, including Saint Louis Missouri last year and Columbus Ohio this year. Both trips were a huge expense.

I am so lucky to have a spouse who not only supports my gym time, but encourages it. Plus Aaron knows more about movement that I do, which makes him a great coach.

Thanks for the message Boris! For some you offered a strategy for compromise, for me it reminded me how fortunate I am.

Boris said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone! I'm jealous of some of you for having spouses that get it. Hopefully, the article was helpful for a few of you.

"Why?". I've heard that a few times!!

Franz Snideman said...

This was GREAT Boris!

Makes sense....and will lead to better marital relationships without a doubt!!!!

Boris said...

Thanks Franz!

Sanka said...

this blog just gets better. Your posts are an extremely good blend of how to mix that die hard training attitude with real life.

Franklin said...

Boris this post is so dead-on its scary .. it gets my vote for the S&C POY.

I am incredibly lucky that my s.o. is very supportive in my training. But I have a tendency to overdue it and that's when I have to back off and spend more time with her .. it only takes one of her looks to get my attention that something's amiss.

It did help her understand my need for training hard when I got her swinging the 12kg bell as it has helped her meet the physical demands of her massage therapy practice.

Completely off topic, are selling SKWAT teashirts? .. if so I want to order a couple .. thanks

Boris said...

Thank you Franklin!

...and yes, I think I'll be selling the Skwat! shirts sometime -check out the post comments about the "Heavy Kettle" shirt.