I realize that if I had applied some basic lessons that my love for fitness taught me in my relationships, maybe some would have lasted, some would have never begun, and some would have been finished a lot faster.
Valentines Day is a great holiday to celebrate your appreciation and affection for the people you love in your life. For some of us hard core fitness enthusiasts, it might just be another day in America where we can pig out on chocolate and wine.
For others, it might be a lonely night at the gym. Whatever the case may be, the successes you create in your personal relationships with those you love in your life can be strengthened if you begin to parallel it with the love you maintain for fitness.
I love finding life principles that you can apply anywhere in your life and be successful. Love in a relationship is no different from your love for fitness.
If you are able to understand the similarities, maybe you will be able to become more patient, loving, understanding and attentive to the people you love.
Don't Just Find Any Partner, Find The Best Partner
Believe that you are worthy of only the best. Do not settle with someone who satisfies the minimal requirements; find someone who mirrors you strength, vitality, enthusiasm and passion.
Like a training partner, it is absolutely key to find someone that you feel comfortable with, someone whom you can depend on, and someone who you can look towards for inspiration.
You don't want someone who fails to commit to your agreements, devalues your time, or displays negative or pessimistic attitudes.
You want someone who shares the same values and goals as you do; not someone who is just using you for the ride. Make sure that this person is honest, supportive and tons of fun to be around.
Training partners are ideal when you need help lifting your last rep, you need inspiration when you don't want to train, or you need guidance on new exercises.
This partner is someone who is consistent in his/her character, passionate about fitness, open-minded about additional training knowledge, committed to your training regimen and respectful of your boundaries.
This person doesn't necessarily need to be just like you, because you won't be able to excel if the person doesn't pick up the pieces in the areas where you are weak. This person balances your weaknesses and strengths.
Don't Settle With Just Any Partner
Many people "settle" with someone who is not necessarily the best fit for them, but satisfies what they need for that moment: which is usually love, affection and a false sense of security.
It is important to remain loyal to those who have guided you and helped you along your life, but it is also important to know when you should let go.
Allow your mate to explore his/her own direction, but continue on the path you created for yourself. If you become committed to this person, you might create a state of dependency, and you don't want to become dependent on someone who does not want to reach the same destination.
If you love fitness, then you've been doing it for a long time. You probably began your workouts with a friend who had the same drive as you. But as time went along, and life got in the way, the person wasn't as driven and passionate as you are.
Don't let that person hold you back. While it is in our human nature to maintain loyalty to our original pack, we need to be challenged in order to grow.
Don't become a victim to your natural human tendencies to feel the need to be accepted. Love your friends, be there when he/she wants to begin training again, but don't become committed to that person, because that person can emotionally hold you back.
You should instead experiment with different people, and try to find someone to match your character. When you are open-minded and patient, you can find someone who can train with you for the rest of your life.
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Let Your Emotions Guide You
There is a very thin line between love and hate. Understand that when you become dependent on anything outside of your control, whether it is people, money, or objects, you are allowing yourself to become vulnerable to pain.
Just like seasons and the world around us: things change, people change, life moves forward, and you must be able to contain your emotions in order to play offense in a world where most people are in defense.
Use your emotions! Don't be too quick to display anger or frustration in your mate, because the fact is, it's natural to feel negative thoughts. Once you understand the emotional power of what makes you human, you are then able to manipulate it to your advantage.
Figure out what made you angry, or what made you vengeful, and by doing so, you are able to process it better the next time you feel an emotional surge.
Let your emotion drive you to become better than you think you can become. Let your emotions inspire you to train harder, workout longer, become more disciplined so that you can achieve your goal of being the lean, mean, love machine you envision yourself to become.
Once you are able to understand yourself, and what makes you tick: you are then able to create an environment in your mind that is formidable and successful. Utilize your anger and your hate and direct it to the energy you expend at the gym.
Find An Inspiration To Be With That Person
If you are in a relationship, and this person isn't someone you want to marry, then you already have a huge problem. If you cannot visualize yourself marrying this person, then what is the point of being with them?
Dream big! Allow yourself to dream of a knight in shining armor, a white picket fence, a dog, a few kids and an exciting marriage. If you look at your mate, and you see a future of drinking beer, watching television and becoming fat and lazy, then you've got to change your game plan.
In many cases, if you stay with this person, you are either prolonging your time frame to get to your real goal of being with the right person, or you need to inspire each other to set some life goals together.
It is absolutely difficult to train your body if all you want to do is workout. You will get bored. You will become complacent and tired. You must find a goal, or a reason to work hard.
And realistically, anyone can create a goal, it doesn't matter what fitness level you are at. Your goal may be to maintain weight, build muscle, lose fat, tighten skin or rehabilitate bones and joints.
Understand your goals and have long term visualization of the ideal body you would like to achieve. Choose to be your very best, shoot for the stars, and set goals that you want and have the desire to work hard for.
The Times You Despise Your Mate Requires The Most Consistency
It is easy to love someone that doesn't give you heartache, the test is whether you still love this person when adversity comes knocking at your door.
There are times when you don't want to see that person, when he/she really upsets you, or when you don't want to be around his/her friends or family.
The times when you most want to quit the relationship but remain consistently supportive, understanding and thoughtful, is usually what defines a strong and lasting relationship versus one that will flop like many workout programs.
Similar to your love for fitness, the fact is, you will get over this short stage of contempt and still love this person no matter what. And if you are able to suck it up, and sacrifice your ego, your already two steps ahead of the game of love.
We have all been there: you're sore, it's Friday, your not seeing the results you want or you want to watch a game: but you go train anyways. That is not only a sign of discipline and commitment, more importantly, it is a sign of a strong consistency of character.
You can immediately recognize a person who will be fit for life by the way they approach fitness. They remain consistent even when they've had enough of the gym, the healthy lifestyle, or the continuous discipline.
Consistency is a true testament of one's ability to handle any stress and stay focused and committed to the values and goals they set within themselves.
A Successful Relationship Requires Discipline And Focus
The relationship doesn't end when both of you depart and are not together. A successful relationship stems from a lot of focus outside of the times you guys are together.
Focus means not becoming tempted by things or situations in your life that might risk unwanted turmoil in the relationship.
For example, many people cheat on their mates, abuse substances, or hide many secrets. It is important not only to remain honest and open with your mate, but also understand the power of focus.
Focus requires you to keep the eye on the prize; the prize of having a strong connection with someone who loves you and will give you the love that no other person, place or thing could replace.
Training and sculpting your body doesn't end in the gym. As many of you know, your diet is what supplements around eighty percent of your results.
You have to stay focused when you are out drinking with friends, socializing at a barbeque, eating at dinners or sitting around bored and hungry in front of a television.
Besides diet, you have to keep in mind that fatigue from your job, schoolwork or friends, might affect your energy at the gym. You have to analyze all aspects of your life and question whether it supports the healthy life you wish to live.
Never Forget Your First Intentions
When you are with someone for a long time, you tend to forget the reasons why you are together. As years pass and memories are forgotten, you lose many original feelings of love, excitement, happiness and achievement. Don't ever forget why you fell in love!
When your mate gets you mad, or when you get frustrated, or when you have had enough of the relationship: don't ever forget the true intention of the person you are with. That person came into your life to love you, so that he/she can be loved in return.
You both exchanged an equal need for each other. Never underestimate the strong foundation of a rocky house, sometimes it's this foundation that will save you from breaking.
Don't ever forget, not only the reason you wanted to start conditioning your body, but also how it felt to achieve something you worked so hard for.
By focusing on your first intentions, you are allowing yourself to become more focused during times when you're burnt out, tired and bored from the fitness environment.
While your first intentions to get in shape may have been for some type of vanity purpose, in the end, the real result was self satisfaction and inner approval.
As time wears away and new challenges and new rewards build on your original journey, don't ever forget that original desire: the desire to inspire yourself, to become a better person.
Balance Your Relationship With The Rest Of Your Life
It is natural to want to share a lot of time with a person when the relationship is new and growing. It is even natural to continue being disgustingly affectionate all the time.
However, like many 'things' in your life, your relationship shouldn't define you, or be the root of your happiness in your life; it should supplement your life.
Even if you don't want to, balance out your life with spending time away from your mate by hanging around friends, playing a sport, or biking alone. You need balance in a relationship.
Once you become too dependent on your mate to sustain your happiness, any small move your mate makes will be taken critically by you because you are easily affected by his/her attitude or lifestyle changes.
A relationship is a part of your life. It doesn't have to be your life! Supplement your already happy life by having a relationship, working out, hanging out with friends, or excelling at your profession.
Most people define a good portion of their identity behind being a fitness junkie. While I've been preaching focus, consistency and commitment, there is a catch to my madness: you can't be successful if all other parts of your life are off balance.
You need to have some fun, get loose, drink with friends, eat some chocolate, and take two days off from training, once in a while.
There is a strong balance between the body, mind and spirit. Understand that fitness is only a thing to supplement your already 'happy' lifestyle, not the center of your happiness in your life.
Don't Ever Lose Hope
Sometimes when you are in a situation where there is absolutely no way you can see the relationship working: just believe that it can.
Once you feel that it is possible to save the relationship, you will begin to see ways that you can save it. Same things go if you feel it can't work: your mind will allow you to find the reasons why it can't.
Utilize the power of visualization and hope. Always hope for what you feel you can't achieve at that time; whether it be marriage, kids, or you 50th wedding anniversary.
Sometimes in a relationship, the only thing left is hope, so don't lose that last emotion, because in life, hope is really the only thing you have.
There are going to be times when you are staring at the mirror and all you see is love handles, cellulite, and a beer belly: fat all over. You can either talk yourself into depression, or talk yourself into success.
Choose success: visualize! Visualize the body you want to achieve, how you want to feel, what you want to wear, or who you want to impress.
When we appear to be far away from our goals, it is sometimes difficult to stay confident and on track. You have to believe that you can attain your goal.
The power of the mind is a strong tool when you are left doubtful, afraid, insecure, or scared. Never lose hope on your dreams. You can achieve anything once you believe it can be done.
Don't Get Stuck In A Routine
Most couples get stuck in a routine. They tend to eat, sleep and occasionally "play" together. The fact is, routine sets in and the relationship begins to get boring.
Be open minded about planning exciting trips, hanging out with different people, stimulating interesting conversations, or playing with each other physically.
It is only natural to get excited about your relationship in the beginning, watch it grow and allow it to plateau. Don't let a plateau hit your relationship.
Welcome new challenges into your life and see how both of you respond and become strengthened from the new stimulus. Don't be afraid of challenges, welcome them, and be empowered by your relationship's survival.
Nothing is worse than doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. As many of you have experienced in your fitness lifestyle, hitting a plateau is absolutely frustrating.
When you get stuck in a routine that works, your body adapts, you get comfortable with it and you stick with it week after week, year after year, while your training becomes more boring and your lack of results becomes more evident.
It is important to constantly introduce new exercises, new programs, or new environments in your training ground. Welcome instability; don't avoid challenges like most people do: understand that in order to grow, you can't be a winner if you are complacent.