What if it was “deadlifts and gains” instead of “Netflix and chill”?
As it turns out, more Americans work out now than in years past, and it’s possible that burning all of these extra calories can be good for your relationship.
We asked over 2,000 people (both single and committed) what their top deal breakers were in a relationship and how they measured their fitness goals together. We wanted to know the kinds of workouts couples do, and if they believe working out makes them happier together. We even asked how often they have sex to see if their #FitnessGoals make it all the way to the bedroom. Want to know what working out together could do for your relationship? Continue reading to find out.
What Matters Most in a Relationship
Relationships are hard work. Even when you think you’ve found a good match, certain quirks can ruin the entire thing.
For men in a relationship, the No. 1 deal breaker was bad hygiene. In fact, 64 percent would not be able to look past it. While a large portion of women (67 percent) thought hygiene was also an important part of sticking around in a relationship, it was personal insults about their weight that led 75 percent of women to pull the plug on their partner.
When it came to fitness goals, men and women acknowledged they were looking for someone whose #fitspo matched theirs – 33 percent of men and 24 percent of women said they couldn’t be with someone who didn’t take care of their health. Further, roughly 20 percent of men and 40 percent of women said when a partner was resentful of their eating or fitness habits, it wasn’t a match made in heaven.
What Matters Most When You're Single
Men and women who were single had slightly different opinions on what was (or wasn’t) a deal breaker.
Bad hygiene was still a top concern for men and women – but fewer respondents told us it was a deal breaker compared to those in a relationship (56 percent of men and 58 percent of women). Perhaps it’s difficult imagining being with someone whose concern for cleanliness doesn’t match your own.
Additionally, 54 percent of single women (compared to 75 percent of women in a relationship) felt having a partner who calls them fat was a deal breaker.
Ultimately, when it came to participants not currently in a relationship, men and women were less likely to call just about everything we asked a deal breaker. One difference: Single men were more likely than those in a relationship to identify a partner who was overweight as not worth their time (36 percent and 33 percent, respectively).
Sweating for Love
The benefits of working out have been well-documented – and can help fight stress and combat negative emotions and depression. To understand how exercising can also impact relationships, we asked respondents how much happier they were when they worked out or dieted with their partner.
Couples who worked out together with their partner over 50 percent of the time rated their happiness at just over an eight out of 10. Those who worked out less than 25 percent of the time together were less happy by a full point, just over seven out of 10. Because working out isn’t just about burning calories, it’s also about listening to your body, couples to find the time to help each other get fit are sharing more than just gains in the gym.
Similarly, couples who went on a diet together rated their happiness about a full point higher than those who didn’t (8.0 compared to 7.1).
Ways to Burn
Men and women indicated their favorite fitness activity was hiking. Men also preferred weightlifting and running, while women preferred to burn calories through yoga and dancing.
Men and women noted their partners were into slightly more intense workouts. Weightlifting was cited as the go-to workout for boyfriends and husbands to stay shredded, while running was said to be the preference for girlfriends and wives. Running, especially across long distances, not only releases endorphins into our brain but improves circulation in our body – giving runners a better sense of self-esteem. Running, like weightlifting, allows you to set goals and bask in accomplishment when crossing the finish line.
Men in a relationship also enjoyed hiking as well as biking, and committed women continued to get active with yoga and dancing.
Fit Between the Sheets
Our research found that couples who worked out and dieted together were happier in their relationship. But what about sex? We also found that men and women who participated in certain exercises were more sexually active than others.
Of the over 2,000 people surveyed, those who participated in CrossFit had a passion for squats and intimacy. CrossFit couples were the most sexually active, according to the findings. In fact, a similar study conducted by Match.com – a popular online dating site – found that even singles who did CrossFit had more sex than those who didn’t. A CrossFit couple might be unstoppable in more ways than one.
Couples who exercised by lifting weights together were the second most sexually active, and those who joined their lovers on the dance floor were also more likely to be sexually active than those who ran, practiced yoga, or did Pilates together.
Frequency May Vary
Burning calories may seem like a chore, but if you keep your activity tracker going during a lap between the sheets, you might discover that it’s easier than you think. An average of 30 minutes in bed could burn over 140 calories, and there are all kinds of interesting ways you can mix it up to shed even more.
We discovered that couples who worked out together the most often were more likely to have sex four times a week or more. Working out, in general, can be good for your libido, and working out together can help increase your emotional bond. Combined, these elements of exercise equal an increased sexual appetite. Over 8 percent of respondents who exercised with their partner more than four times a week also told us they had sex over four times a week. Less than 3 percent of couples who worked out together once every few months admitted having as much sexual intercourse.
If you and your partner have different fitness goals, consider listening to a fitness podcast together or finding an online challenge you can both participate in to find a common fitness routine you can share on a regular basis.
When it comes to how workout and fitness goals impact relationships, people who wanted their partners to work out more were over 30 percent less supportive of their partner’s fitness goals. Just wanting your significant other to spend time in the gym or burn more calories doesn’t mean you understand their goals or what they’re trying to accomplish with their routine. These partners may be more concerned with the vanity of working out rather than the important ways getting fit can impact their partner’s long-term quality of life.
Respondents who had different fitness goals than their significant other were over 40 percent more likely to indicate feeling supported by their other half while working out. Communicating the value of staying healthy between partners might create a better sense of support than assuming you want the same things.
We also discovered that having more sex wasn’t always a good thing. Couples who had sex less than four times a week were more supportive of their partner’s fitness goals than those who had sex more than four times a week.
Supplementing Your Workout
There are far more advantages to working out than just burning calories – you can reduce stress, anxiety, and even feel more creative when you take the time to get active. Our study found that exercise can even help strengthen bonds when you and your partner make time to work out together. From feeling happier and confident to having sex more often, staying in shape is good for your heart in more ways than one.
At Kettle & Fire, our goal is to provide a quality addition to your regular workout regimen. Our bone broth can help improve joint health, reduce cellulite, and boost your immune system. It has all the good stuff you need to support a healthy lifestyle, including high levels of protein (including collagen), amino acids, calcium, and more. Best yet, our broth is the first and only USDA grass-fed bone broth in the U.S. Our goal is simple – we want to help people improve their health and life. Visit us online to learn more.
We surveyed over 2,000 Americans about their relationship status and fitness and diet habits, as well as those of their current or most recent partners. In a relationship refers to people just hooking up, in an open relationship, married, or in an exclusive relationship. Single status not only refers to singles, but also people who are divorced or widowed.
A favorite exercise is any workout that a respondent selected as one of their top three favorites. To rank favorites, a weighted value between 1 and 3 was given to the top three favorite workouts.
High sexual activity was set as any couple who reported having sex more than four times a week.
Fair Use Statement
Excited by our study? We’d love to see you share what we discovered about the importance of working out in relationships with your readers. Please make sure to link back to this page so that our contributors earn credit for their work too.