With the start of a new year and Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there’s no better time to hit the gym with your partner, as research shows that working out together makes you happier in your relationship and increases your emotional bond. Independently, you’ll get a performance boost in your routines and be one step closer to achieving your personal fitness goals, while as a couple, you’ll have another person to encourage and support you in your health and wellness goals. Working out and sharing healthy vegan meals with the one you love is truly special and should be celebrated not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day of the year, which is why we’ve created a five-step guide to hitting the gym with the most important person in your life. A few days of this routine will surely improve all aspects of your life. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
1. Pre-workout snack
Nothing says “love” like sharing food, so before you and your sweetheart head to the gym, prepare an easy pre-workout snack of fresh fruit such as sliced bananas and apples with a few dates. These fruits provide the kind of vegan carbohydrates you need to fuel your couple’s workout without making you feel sluggish.
2. Push-up high-fives
The tried-and-true push-up is still, by far, one of the best ways to use your bodyweight to get ripped. Although push-ups are usually viewed as a solo exercise, you can make them a partner workout by facing each other and doing synchronized push-ups from an arm’s length distance. After each push-up (when you’re back in the starting position), extend one arm straight out to give each other a high-five. Do as many push-ups as you can together, and increase that number over time.
3. Squat with rotational pass
Similar to push-ups, no workout is complete without a few sets of squats. Stand back-to-back with your partner, and both of you drop into a low squat position. Hold a medicine ball at your chest, and rotate from the torso to pass the ball to your partner. Then your partner, holding the ball, rotates in the other direction to pass the ball back to you on the opposite side. Repeat this exercise for 10–12 reps before switching directions.
4. Swimming stretches
You’re not going to sculpt six-pack abs with crunches alone (that’s where your vegan diets come in!), but swimming stretches will strengthen your core, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Both you and your partner should lie on the floor on your stomachs, facing each other with outstretched arms. Lift your heads, chests, legs, and arms while placing your hands on top of your partner’s. Use each other’s rhythm and pressure to paddle your arms and legs together in a swimming motion for one-minute sets.
5. Beach towel seated row
Another great exercise you can do with your partner (even if you are nowhere near a gym) is the beach towel seated row. To start, you should both sit on the ground with your legs outstretched, feet touching, and facing each other. With bent knees and straight backs, each of you should grab one end of a beach towel. As one person pulls, the other slowly releases while counting to three. Switch directions, and do this back and forth for 10–15 reps and three sets. This exercise a great way for you both to work your backs and biceps, and you can do this pretty much anywhere.
6. Post-workout snack
Once you’ve finished these sets, blend two chocolate almond butter vegan protein shakes to replenish the nutrients you burned. Depending on your individual fitness goals, you can alter this recipe to either pack on mass or build lean muscle. But the core ingredients are pretty much the same.
Chris Willitts is the founder of VegetarianBodybuilding.com, creator of the V3 Vegan Bodybuilding System, and a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness, Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine, and Natural Muscle Magazine.
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