Fitness Tips: Do’s & Don’ts for Active Couples

By: Sheri Matthews

Okay. We get it. You’re busy. These days, we all are. Especially those of us who live the active, athletic lifestyle that takes so much of what little free time we have. But it can’t be all work and no play. With another Valentine’s Day in the rearview mirror, we’re taking a look at some of the do’s and don’ts for either meeting that special, equally active someone in the coming year; or, if you already have, how to keep the excitement alive.

Thanks to this little thing called the Internet, meeting someone these days has become much easier, and a much different ballgame. Patty Vogan, an acclaimed speaker and writer with a master’s degree in psychological sciences,, and the founder of Victory Coaching International, a leadership and communications training company based in San Clemente, CA, was as busy as anyone. She didn’t get out much. After 20 years on her own, her friends finally said to her, “we are so sick of you becoming boring.”

Patty, then a 51-year-old swimmer and biker who wanted to meet someone as active as herself,  agreed to —  at the time simply to appease her friends.  She was a California girl, cycling on weekends, fishing, rafting, surging … she needed someone who could keep up.

Well, Patty met Mike Geyer, who’s now her fiancé. As it turned out, Mike lived a mile away form her the whole time. So the moral of the story is … get out there.

DO check out some of these sites: Active Singles and Running Singles.

DON’T date the gym on the weekends. Kill two birds with one stone and find someone who’s as passionate about fitness as you are. Mike was a longtime outrigger and Patty has always been an ocean lover growing up in Southern California, so in 2013 they started six-man canoeing and bought a two-man for themselves. They now are part of the Dana Point Outrigger club. Perfect.

Of course, it doesn’t stop once you have found that special someone. Again, why not continue using that athletic lifestyle to keep the relationship exciting and challenging in a healthy way? Take Lizzie and John Brenkus, for example. Lizzie  is a former dancer turned triathlete and founder of Lizzie Brenkus Fit, LLC — providing consulting, fitness expertise and custom yoga programs for professional sports teams. She somehow finds the time to run everything from 5ks to marathons, and she’s also a three-time Ironman (Arizona, Kona, and Tahoe). This year, she’s slated for the Leadville 100-mile Trail Run. She’s a wife. A mother of two. And her husband, John? Well … he’s somewhat busy, too.

You may have heard of him. John Brenkus is the creator and host of ESPN’s Sport Science. He’s also the bestselling Author of The Perfection Point. Lizzie was kind enough to slow down long enough to enlighten the rest of us on what works for the Brenkus’ when it comes to balancing an active family and career lifestyle. She’s more of a “Do” gal than a “don’t” gal, so here we go:

Do believe the mantra: “A couple that plays together stays together.”

Lizzie knows that competing and training evokes “feel-good emotions,” so to share that with one another is meaningful. After seeing John do Ironman Arizona, she thought, “I want to, and will, do that.” It gives both athletes and appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice of their sport.

Do redefine date night: A date night just means being together. You don’t have to be in front of a TV. “It may mean we get a babysitter, and that John gets to ride his bike for four hours while I run and we set points along the route in the Santa Monica Mountains where we meet up,” Lizzie says. “Afterwards, we go for smoothies.”

60391-458-016fDo share goals: “When you set goals, you have an emotional attachment to them.,” Lizzie says. “John and I share our goals with one another on a regular basis. Having support makes it exciting and knowing your spouse has your back is like love, it gets your heart rate up.”

Lizzie is proud of Johns athletic and career accomplishments, and he admires the inspiration she brings to her clients and friends. By sharing goals, you know what is meaningful to your partner. With that in mind …

Do set new goals: Redefine your paths so that you don’t get a in rut. Set new things, keep it interesting.  Make it a 5k, an Ironman, or a trail race. Just keep moving forward. And if you have a family …

Do include your kids: Having children does not mean you forget who you are and your active lifestyle.  “We set actives as a family,” Lizzie says. “Some we do all together, and some on our own, but they are part of this lifestyle.”

As the Brenkus’ train for the 2014 Leadville 100 (Lizzie’s doing the trail run; John’s mountain biking), all while continuing to balance a marriage, family and two busy careers, let that be the inspiration to get the passion and excitement back into your busy life. And if you’re still looking for that someone to share your passions with, remember, don’t wait for someone else to inspire you. Inspire yourself. Next thing you know you’ll look up and be like Patty and Mike. Because good things don’t come to those who wait; they come to those who don’t!

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