Ahead of the much-anticipated SSS Fitness Fest, we have been talking all things fitness with our group of ambassadors and fitness enthusiasts. We caught up with power couple, Ben Ouattara @ben_dubai82 and DinaTaji Al Farouki @dina_dubai84 to find out more about their workout style and their couples’ exercise routine, to find out what makes them tick and why they think we should all be working out with a fitness buddy. This is what they had to say:
Why should people work out as a couple?
We believe that working out as a couple has many benefits: you spend time together, help to motivate each other and keep each other accountable not only in the gym but also encourages you to eat healthier. It also helps a lot not only to work out together but to share each others’ goals and then support one another on the way to accomplishing them.
How did you guys get into the ‘couple workout’?
Three years ago we decided to get ready for a personal photoshoot where we wanted to be in the best shape we were ever in, and we prepared for that goal together, putting ourselves on a strict diet, working out and motivating each other, which made us realise how much we enjoy it and it brought us even closer than we were before. We translated this into many other areas of our life and we believe that anything you share as a couple can improve your relationship and help you to bind on another level, whether it’s learning a new language to travel to a new place or learning to dance, or preparing for a marathon. It’s a blessing to be able to share this with your loved one.
Do you need any particular equipment?
You can train anywhere at any time with your partner if you want to get a quick workout session in, but no matter what your goals are we believe that variety is the key, and there is no substitute for lifting weights in a gym to build muscle. Whether you train with weights, your own bodyweight, stretch or do cardio, everything can be done with a partner. We love to try new routines and classes, and we teach each other new exercises all the time.
How does this work if the two people are at totally different fitness levels? Or different weight categories?
We have a big size difference and a weight difference of almost 50 kg, but the good thing is that the stronger person can support and help the weaker or not as advanced one and guide them, by adjusting the exercises – for example having the weaker one do knee push-ups and the stronger one will do the more advanced push-ups. Or you could have one do the exercise twice as fast or add extra weight so you can really let both partners have a great experience without having one person over-challenged or not challenged enough.
How often do you train together?
It really depends when we have a deadline, a fitness-related goal like a competition, or a photoshoot and the schedule allows it, then we have weeks where we train together every day. Sometimes we train together once or twice a week. As I (Ben) am a filmmaker and sometimes have irregular working hours, we have times when we can’t really make it but we always get right back on track, because we just love it.
What are the mental and physical benefits of this style of workout?
First of all we want to say that this is not necessarily a “style “ like tae-bo or many classes that have a certain limitation and promise that you can reach all your fitness goals just following that routine. We both use various “styles” to train like weightlifting, HIIT, cardio, Calisthenics, yoga and even explosive workouts like boxing, but we do it as a couple and share the experience and the journey, and combine many different ideas and techniques. So any couple can pick and choose different styles and adjust it to their goals, for example endurance if you both want to run a marathon, or flexibility, power or aesthetics. The mental benefits are really the core of this; we believe that going through some challenges together, vulnerabilities, helping each other out, pushing each other to the limit, sweating and smiling together on a regular basis in a physical way and not only on the couch or at dinner, or out with friends can add a new dimension to your life as a couple – it did it for us. We prepared for the photoshoot and later for a fitness competition and a Spartan race; we were a couple but we became a TEAM.
How important is it to have a fitness buddy?
Everyone needs motivation and accountability, and no matter how dedicated you are, you will hit a plateau or have a day or a week where you just feel like giving up. It’s amazing to have someone next to you not only reminding you of the goal you set for yourself, but also walking next to you because they are on the same mission. The second thing is, just like any team sport like soccer or basketball, when you have a workout buddy, the workout becomes more like a game. You don’t see the time go as slowly as if you were to do a 30-minute HIIT session alone with a stop watch.
And finally, what are you both looking forward to most about the upcoming SSS Fitness Fest event?
We love the whole idea of fitness enthusiasts, old and young pros, as well as beginners coming together and mixing energies. We look forward to inspiring, motivating and teaching, but also to get inspired, motivated and to learn from those more experienced than us. We will share workouts, give speeches and participate in as many challenges and workshops as we can and wish to meet new friends and workout buddies!
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