Valentine’s Day is frequently celebrated by the city’s fitness studios as a day to offer a slew of couples workouts—from partner yoga galore to spinning alongside your sweetie.
But this year, sweat sessions for couples are stretching beyond February 14, with more studios offering more workouts aimed at couples year-round—and the launch of NYC Agape, the city’s first fitness program built exclusively for couples.
In places where the workout is not necessarily tailored to them, couples are still showing up to sweat together: the New York Times reported that SoulCycle, Barry’s Bootcamp, and Pure Yoga are all wooing workout duos. Couples even got engaged in both SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp classes recently.
So why all of the love in such sweaty places?
“Couples are running around so much, they don’t talk to each other, and things get lost along the way,” says NYC Agape founder and former football player Mike Brown. “Working out together strengthens communication, which in turn strengthens your relationship.”
Brown, who runs NYC Agape out of Noho’s Work Fitness, instructs each couple in his program individually, using functional movement training and boxing and outfitting couples with Nike Fuel Bands that they wear 24-7 for the duration of the five weeks. Brown tracks their calorie-burning progress closely and pits the various couples in the program against each other.
When the results come in, the winning couple gets an in-home catered dinner. “They band together because they’re competing against the other couples and they feel like they’re in it together and need to motivate each other while it’s going on,” Brown explains.
Motivation is key, both in terms of getting you to the workout, and pushing yourself harder in order to match your partner’s speed and intensity. “It motivates me to go [workout] when I’m feeling lazy because I know he’s been waiting for me,” wrote Debbie Umland, when we polled Well+Good readers on Facebook. “It’s also nice that we have this interest in common, and it’s a fun thing to do together.”
Of course, if your abilities are too mismatched, working out with your BF or your GF can be frustrating, as you struggle to keep up or feel the need to slow down. Brown says that during NYC Agape boxing workouts, he avoids this by creating parity between the couples. “You don’t want them to be discouraged by their partner,” he explains.
Lest that lead to verbal sparring outside of the ring. —Lisa Elaine Held