WAG Q&A: Staying Fit While in a Relationship
Sometimes, when you’re in a relationship sticking to fitness and nutrition plans can be challenging. In this episode of WAG Q&A, Adee Cazayoux, founder of Working Against Gravity, is joined by her husband, Michael Cazayoux. They share how they’ve made their relationship work for them and their individual goals. Let’s talk about accountability!
Q: How does working together on goals help you overall?
Michael: One of the best things about having a partner is that you always have someone to hold you accountable by pushing you as you’re working toward your own goals. One of the first concepts Adee and I learned in our relationship was the difference between codependency and co-commitment. A mentor taught us early that codependency is when two people commit to NOT holding each other accountable for their own weaknesses. For example, let’s say I have a weakness with nutrition plans or diets while Adee has a weakness in exercise. In a codependent relationship, we would commit to each other—usually subconsciously and almost always unspoken—that we’re NOT going to hold each other accountable for working on our own weaknesses. On the other hand, co-committing to each other means we hold ourselves and our partner accountable for what we say we want, or for whom we want to become. So, in this example, Adee would hold me accountable for sticking with my nutrition plan and I would hold her accountable for sticking to her exercise regimen.
Adee: Michael’s example is actually real life because we actually do that! Chasing goals as a couple really helps us. I see Michael every day, so when I see him looking to achieve nutrition or fitness goals, I don’t want to be left behind. Watching him pursue his goals actually becomes a huge motivator for me to achieve mine. So, when there’s a day when I’m thinking about maybe NOT going in for that workout, but I see him crushing it at the gym, I’m like, okay, I’m definitely working out today because he is. Also, when we work together, it’s easier for one of us to pull the other back in if one of us is having a bad day.
Q: How does your partner help you become the best you?
Adee: I’m the kind of person who responds well to external accountability. So, if NOT getting to the gym means someone else is going to care, I am going to go! In our relationship, I use Michael as my accountability. For example, if I say I want to wake up early, like 6:30 am, which is a really hard thing for me to do because I love to sleep in, I give Michael permission to hold me accountable for waking up. At the same time, I make a promise to myself that I will not get defensive and upset when he follows through. So if he rips off the covers and blows in my ear, or turns on the lights—whatever it is to get me up—I’m not allowed to get upset about it because I’ve given him permission to hold me accountable. This practice actually gets me out of bed and I’ve never regretted it once.
Michael: One of the best things about any team is that it’s very unlikely that every person on the team will have an off day at the same time. On our team, in our relationship, if I’m having a bad day, Adee’s almost always there to pick me up and vice versa. Here’s a specific example: We were on our way to a personal development event the other day. It was a Monday night and we were both really tired. Adee started verbalizing that she’s really dreading attending this thing, dropping hints like, “We could just go get some ice cream and go home and watch some TV show.” But I held off and was like, we’re going. We arrived and parked about 20 minutes early. We were just sitting there in the car waiting when a seed of a thought popped into my head and started growing. Probably about 5 minutes before the start of the event, I was like, “Let’s just not go.” But by that time, Adee had already committed herself to going and said, “No. We’re going.” So we went in and actually had a great night! So, when one of us is potentially choosing something that compromises our integrity, the other is almost always there to pick us up.
Q: How do you shake the nerves of going to your partner for accountability?
Michael: Holding your partner accountable is always going to make you feel uncomfortable and a little bit vulnerable because there is a slight risk your partner might get defensive or lash out at you because they wonder if you’re being malicious. Adee and I have made a commitment to one another that we’re always going to hold the other accountable for the person each of us says we want to be when things are going well. So when it’s 6:00 am and she had told me the night before she wants to wake up early, but she’s not getting up on her own, I have a choice here. I can wake her up and hold her accountable for her goal and risk her becoming defensive, or I can NOT hold her accountable and just go about my day. There’s always a decision to be made. Do I want to do the right thing that feels a little uncomfortable or do I want to play it safe?
Adee: Sometimes playing it safe protects you from discomfort or potential risk, but at the same time, you’re also inhibiting yourself because your partner is not at their best, and ultimately, you won’t be at your best either! The two of you are kind of one being. For example, whatever is going on with Michael is in the air, in our relationship and in our household. I’d suggest you always assume the best in one another, but if you ever have a moment when your partner says something to you and you feel that tightness in your chest beginning to form, it’s probably because what your partner is saying is true. For example, if Michael says, “You said you were going to work out and you didn’t,” and then I begin to feel that tight chest, I’m recognizing that what he said is true. I’m annoyed that he said that, but he’s right. I didn’t follow through with what I said I was going to do. Assume the best in your partner because they love you for all that you are and all that you’re not. In that moment of discomfort take some positive action because it will be best for both of you in the end.
Michael: With time, this accountability practice gets easier. Doing things that are risky or make you feel vulnerable will always feel a little uncomfortable, but it will get easier.
Adee: It is difficult. If you’re that person who’s getting defensive when your partner is pointing out something or reminding you about something that is good for you and is holding you accountable, just remember: your negative reaction will make them less likely to help you again. If you really want to hold each other accountable, it’s up to you to not react defensively so you continue to work together towards your goals of being the best you!
We hope some of the tips we’ve shared can help you and your partner hold each other accountable. Tune in next week for our special edition about relationships and food!
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