My Partner is Fitness-Obsessed. Here’s What I’ve Learned.

My significant other is fitness obsessed and it has changed my life. Think I’m overreacting? I’ve got the receipts on how his fitness has taken over our lives:

  1. Our biggest monthly expense (after rent) is paying for fitness-related expenses, like gym memberships and workout gear.
  2. Our summer vacation was delayed by half a day so he could go to the gym in the morning before hitting the road.
  3. When touring for houses, proximity to the gym was a top consideration.

Fitness has always been a driving part of his life as a long-time competitive cross-country and track runner for a decade plus. When we first started dating, I got used to the morning workouts and afternoon practices, but I can’t say it really affected me. It wasn’t until college ended and he picked up Athlean-X, a whole new fitness program, that I started to feel the obsession creeping in. Athlean-X focuses on weight training for lean muscles and strength without bulking up (at least, that’s what I heard).

His fitness obsession is fueled by job duties and a need to relieve stress and occupy his mind. As a police officer, he wants and needs to be in the best shape he can be to take on whatever physical tasks he encounters during a long shift, and working out is paramount in his mind. Like myself, he thrives on routine and structure and setting aside specific time to work out keeps his world running. A skipped/missed workout is day-ruining, in his mind, because it affects his mental health.

Over the past two years of committed workouts from my significant other, here’s what knowledge I can pass on:

Costs will increase

Gym memberships aren’t cheap. Neither are the workout clothes, shoes and gear that are “necessary.” Supplements and pre/post-workout powders and drinks contribute an additional cost each month, not to mention the pricing of “organic” or healthy foods, that must be bought in bulk to compensate for the amount of fuel that must be taken in to match the amount of energy going out.

Timing is everything

Gym time is prime time. Firstly, there are certain times that are the “ultimate” windows to go to the gym when it is just dead enough to allow access to all the equipment. Secondly, gym time supersedes all other time. All other activities, including dinner, chores, errands, fun and vacations – yes, even vacations – must revolve around gym time. Additionally, gym time is not just a quick hour in and out. Workouts generally lasts at least an hour and a half, not counting the time it takes to put together pre/post workout drinks, stretch and showering before being fully functional.

Less stress

Thankfully, this is a benefit that includes us both. After a solid workout, focusing on something else and getting out some energy and aggression, one emerges more relaxed and less stressed. While a less stressed partner is always a plus, I’ve found that working out for me is an instant stress reliever whether I focus on cardio or a good kickboxing class, especially after a stressful day at the office.

Unspoken encouragement and motivation

I’m not a lover of the gym, but knowing that my partner is heading over to the gym, prompts me to grab my workout gear and tag along. I know that I have to entertain myself in the gym for at least an hour and, purely to avoid boredom, I can usually knock out some decent cardio and basic weights, or hop into a class. As he buys healthier food, I’ve noticed that my diet has shifted slightly away from my favorite junk food. Before I knew it, I had my own gym routine. I’ll even confess — I’ve looked into a structured workout plan.

However, beyond expenses and time, there are additional strains. Within our relationship, there’s a difference in priorities, an underlying frustration when gym must come before something that I would like to do. With a not insignificant amount of our monthly income going towards working out, there’s been a strain on our finances, forcing us to sacrifice other things, like eating out or activities. My advice to others: try to embrace it. At the end of the day, there are worse obsessions and addictions that affect a person or a relationship. If these workouts, this commitment, is what he needs for his mental health, his well-being, his job ability, it’s worth it. It’s a work in progress to find a happy ground, but as they say, “no pain, no gain.”

Do you have a fitness obsessed partner? Do you have a similar experience? Tweet us at @litdarling!  

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