From Expletives to Exercising Together – How to Build Your Fit Marriage

Note:  This is a (fantastic) guest post by Nina Nelson of

I still remember the first time my husband tried to take me jogging with him.

We set off on a dirt road near our house and my husband, the long-time runner, gave me, the long-time walker, pointers on my form.

Stubborn as we both are, we both became frustrated pretty quickly. After just a few minutes, he ran on ahead of me while I let out a stream of expletives as I turned to walk back home.

Ah, the memories.

We took a turn for the better, though, last August when we were chosen to be a part of a test group for a new fitness program. After several months of refinement, this program eventually became the current Thrive90 Fitness program!

Our Turning Point

Tony DiLorenzo, the husband on our favorite marriage podcast, One Extraordinary Marriage, was tweeting about some exciting stuff he was working on with another marriage blogger. They had developed a fitness program for couples to do together and needed people to test it out.

I just knew that we would be chosen as I filled out the application and got so excited about finally getting in shape. After having four children in five years, my body was, shall we say, flabby.

You can only laugh off the “are you pregnant” questions so many times before you realize that something needs to happen.

Of course, we were actually chosen to be a part of the test group and excitedly got started. It was harder for me, since I was the most sedentary, but I could keep up for the most part and I loved feeling myself get stronger.

The most surprising thing, though?

We were having fun working out together. Really.

The only person I swore at was Tony when he said, “only thirty more seconds of this static pike.” 😉

And we started to take our recreational intimacy other places. Dates started shifting from dinner and a movie to outdoor adventures. We’ve gone snowshoeing and hiking and are planning on doing a race together in July.

Does this sound like something you’d like to have with your spouse? You can.

A Baby Step Plan to Your Fit Marriage

Start small

If you’re not used to exercise, I highly suggest just getting out for walks together. They don’t have to be long or exhausting, just take time together to get outside and be physically active.

Yes, you can bring your kids along, but also make a point to exercise when it’s just the two of you. Once you’re comfortable with walks, start planning short hikes and take a picnic. Gradually build intensity from there.

Make goals

My husband’s goal is to get hired at the Portland Fire Department. It requires passing a physical exam, so we’re preparing for it together. Pick something that you want toward together and take steps to achieve that goal.

It could be a 5k for a local charity or a weight loss goal for an upcoming wedding. Whatever it is, lovingly keep each other accountable so that you can delight in the achievement together.

Have fun

One mistake Ian and I have made is turning something fun into a competition. Rather than approaching recreational intimacy as a team, we went at it as competitors, and both came out losers.

Yes, it’s ok to compete if you’re playing tennis or something like that, but keep it fun. It doesn’t have to be about who does better. However, if you want to make a friendly wager, tie it into physical intimacy. The winner could get a hot bubble bath for two or a full-body massage.

Put it on the calendar

Recreational intimacy is important and deserves to be a high priority. Figure out how you want to schedule it with your spouse to make sure that it happens. Work at it together to make it a habit – it usually takes about thirty days to create a habit that you will stick to.

Choose days and times that work well for both of you. If one of you likes to workout at night and the other prefers morning, alternate so that you both enjoy it. Whatever schedule you choose, have fun and remember that this is about getting active together.

You can also get started the way we did by taking part of the Thrive90 program. The intensity builds gradually, keeping burnout at bay.

I love that the workouts are short – 30 minutes or less – and that I don’t need a lot of room or equipment to do them. Tony and Dustin also threw in some quick bonus videos that are anything but easy and are a great way to get in a workout when you’re really short on time.

Whatever avenue you choose, get out there and get moving with your spouse. You’ll be glad that you did.

Nina Nelson is a busy Mom, wife and Thrive90 graduate who blogs at:

“Mommy brain: when your grey matter turns into grey hair…”    Ian Nelson

(photo source)


  1. Okay, that was inspiring. My husband and I used to jog together after baby number one. We had a similar experience, one of us was being a little too bossy. However, the memories of it are mostly sweet, might have to give it ago again.

  2. Thanks Jenna! That would be great if you started exercising together again. It’s so much fun. And the rewards have been pretty great, too.

  3. Thanks, Nina. I just got started on the program (and have blogged about it a little myself) last week. Hubby’s not really doing it with me right now due to conflicting schedules. However, he’s already a body-builder type and spends 2-3 hours a day at the gym. I’m hoping he will try some of these with me and maybe spend less time at the gym. As an aside, I understand what your hubby is going through as mine is a firefighter/paramedic and that’s why he trains so hard at the gym – he says he needs to maintain his physical strength in order to continue to do his job. Anyway, I am sore, but I held that static pike a tiny bit longer the second time around, and I lost a tiny bit of weight during the first week. So I continue plugging away each day. Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. Heather, that’s great! It feels so good to see that progress, no matter how small. Keep it up! I really enjoyed this program – and Ian did as well. Hopefully, your husband will try it, too, and need to go to the gym less. Nice work!

  5. Great post Nina, whilst my wife and I have different training goals, fitness and strength levels and pre-existing injuries (Mrs Niko has two prolapsed discs in her lower back) we manage to train together twice a week through structuring our exercises to suit our individual needs. However we select exercises that take the same time to complete, so that we are still able to complete circuits together.

    I tell people not to dismiss training with your partner because you don’t complete the exact same exercises, it’s not a competition, you are motivating and encouraging each other to train. There is a time and place to be competitive and for me it’s not when my wife and I are training together. Select exercises that are intense enough for your needs.


    • Niko,

      I’m so glad that you and Mrs. Niko have been able to work out a training plan that you can do together, despite different training goals. It’s so important to realize that working out with your spouse should isn’t a competitive event. Kudos to you for making this effort with your wife and figuring out a way to build recreational intimacy in your marriage. Thanks for the comment.

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