When my grandma hears counter-culture, she thinks of tattoos and loud music.
But today, the true counter-culture way isn't what you may have in mind.
Being counter-cultural means behaving in a way that differs from mainstream society. With divorce being so common, you could say it's almost become a norm. So in my eyes, a counter-culture couple would be two individuals who conquer the percentages and stay true to each other.
Infidelity is everywhere, but since all of my life experiences originate from the gym, that's what I'll be referring to today.
I see it every day. A cute girl walks into the gym and guys do a double take (sometimes triple or quadruple take). And vice versa. Which is a totally NATURAL reaction - believe me, I find myself people watching (which sometimes leads to me awkwardly staring because I was a lifeguard and forget that's not normal) but there is a line that often gets crossed in the fitness community.
Many times, I see people "step out" when they are in committed relationships because they are getting attention, praise, and accolades from their gym crush and nothing at home. I know nothing.
Seriously, I know nothing because EVERYONES situation is different. I know that the temptation to cheat is strong in the gym setting. None of this is meant to be judgemental… I have had my own gym crushes too.
I just want to create a counter-culture to our current culture, concerning relationships.
From my personal experience in coaching couples, I know how important it is to have your significant other supporting you when you are trying to make positive changes to find your fit.
And I know sometimes that does not happen so easily. I've even seen some partners try to sabotage the success of their newly fit partner because they don't like seeing change. Then of course the temptation to step out increases, especially when you get positive reinforcement from your gym crush… and just straight-up crushed by your partner.
We need to change together! Be a counter-culture couple. And when either of you finds a new passion in life, be the "wind beneath their wings" (corny...but) instead of the doubting Thomas inside their head making them second guess their new healthy, positive lifestyle changes.
I spoke with a few other fitness friends who are great examples of a counter-culture couple, and they had a lot to say about the importance of having support from their partner.
// Claire Thomson is FAR from basic (however her cute bows and love for puppies may lead you to believe otherwise) She is an SFG-1 certified kettlebell instructor, NASM certified personal trainer, and an all around badass. Here is Claire’s Story //
How have you changed since becoming a swinger? ...kettlebells that is ;p
Since becoming a swinger (as J.Go calls it) I've felt stronger, more confident, more proud and more in shape than ever before. Previously, I've found it very easy to be proud of other people: I love seeing their hard work and being proud of them. I never could see myself in that way. I was disciplined, however, even reaching my goals I never really felt proud of myself. Once I started learning kettlebell technique, feeling confident in my form and the weights I was moving, I started to feel a sense of accomplishment and a pride in myself that I had previously only experienced for other people.
Have you ever been in a relationship where you were not getting the support you needed to reach your personal goals?
I have been in a relationship that did not support my goals. While he was a very supportive guy, and encouraged me in the gym, unfortunately our lives drifted a part very quickly after I started working with Charlotte Kettlebell. I had a profound realization one day when I was talking to him: we both had had very stressful days at work, and before going home, my choice was to go to a deep stretch yoga class, and his was to go grab a beer. I started to realize that while he was supporting me by cheering me on, I was not going to reach my fullest potential without a real life change. So I made one: amicably and confidently.
From our introduction until now, I've been learning from Zack. I lucked out big time.
What advice would you give to someone who may be in a relationship that is not supporting their current fitness goals?
What do you want more? The answer is apparent by your actions.
What is one of your favorite things about your boyfriend, THE Zack Henderson?
What to say about THE Zack Henderson. I'm very fortunate to be dating an incredibly knowledgeable, hard working and curious man. He is pushing himself to do new things, and by osmosis, as am I. Of course, we are a fairly unique couple, in that he taught me kettlebell and powerlifting technique, in which I was passionate enough to make my own career. I'm even more fortunate that his students are my very best friends, and my family. As a coach, mentor and best friend, I cannot say enough about him.
>>>If you want to learn more about this rad swinger and learn more about how she perfected her craft with kettlebells check out her website: https://clairethomson.com/
Or follow her IG: @claireswings
//Tracy Cook is the one who convinced me to compete in my first powerlifting meet and I have never met someone with so much passion to help others succeed. She is now SFG, SFG II and SFL certified and holds multiple NC records in powerlifting (18 so far!!) Here is Tracy’s Story //
Hey Tracy I am so excited to have you sharing because you truly inspire me, tell everyone a little about your fitness Journey:
After being a self-proclaimed workaholic and couch potato for most of my life, at the age of 42, I decided that it was time to make a change. My husband thought that I might enjoy kettlebell training and suggested that I meet with a trainer for a couple introductory sessions. I knew after the first session that I had found something that I could really love. For the first time in my life, I became excited about fitness and looked forward to my training. I loved seeing the progress and learning what I was capable of. At the suggestion of my trainer, two years ago I signed up, trained for and competed in my first powerlifting meet. I have never had so much fun training and preparing for anything before. I was completely hooked after that first meet. The thing that I am the most proud of with my fitness journey is that I have trained consistently every single week for the last 4 years. Strength training is now a true passion for me and has become a way of life.
How have you changed since you found your passion in powerlifting?
I love my training and look forward to it every day. I take care of myself and finally have balance with my work life. Everyone who knows me understands how important my training is to me and that it is a priority. I have never felt better about myself than I do now.
How has your relationship changed with your partner?
My husband has been incredibly supportive of all of my goals. When my trainer first suggested that I try a powerlifting meet, I really did not even consider it. My husband convinced me to do the meet because he thought that it would be something that I would really love. I know that I would not be doing a lot of what I am doing without the encouragement of my husband. Now instead of working all weekend long, we go on hikes or go to the gym together.
What advice would you give to couples who are trying to "find their fit" and be the healthiest they can be?
Find something that you love to do. If you love to run, sign up for a race and train for it
together. If you love strength training, go to the gym together, even if you like to do different things while you are there. Most of all, be supportive of each other’s goals.
What is one of your favorite things that your partner does for you?
Supporting my goals 100%. When I first became active in 2012, I signed up for a half marathon and a Spartan race. My husband would go on trail runs with me and ran the Spartan race with me. He would wake up at 5:00 in the morning on the weekends and drive me to where I would train for my half marathon so that I could get the mileage that I needed in. I have accomplished many goals over the last 4 years and every one of them have been with the unwavering support of my husband.
Follow one of the strongest people I know on her IG: @TracyHCook
I love working out with Tom. He motivates me to keep going when I wanna stop and he pushes me to continue to strive for my very best. And I need that. But sometimes, I don't need that. I just need to be alone and smash weights jamming out to Kendrick Lamar and J Cole (my true gym crushes) But whether you're sig-o is always at the gym by your side or not, their support needs to be… or you may be setting yourselves up for failure. Being a "counter-culture couple" may or may not include tattoos and loud music. I do know that true love outlasts a gym crush. When you've found that rock in your life, make sure they are a tool for reinforcement for you to continue to grow who you are and not a rock that will crush you.