Both singles and couples are a bit fed up with “things couples do” stuff that keeps popping up all over the web. While some are genuinely cute, true and interesting to read, a lot of them tend to be mushy, overly romanticized and they seem more like quotes from your favorite soap opera than something that a real couple could identify with. Still, there are things out there that only certain couples can understand and relate to. Turning your romantic partner into a gym partner is one of those things. Unlike some other couples’ related topics, this one really has genuine benefits to a relationship and we are here to discuss some of them. The reason I claim that only certain couples understand this, is because you need to attempt this in order to realize how great it is!
1. You get pep talks from someone who knows you
We all know that motivation is very important and, sometimes, it gets really difficult to get yourself pumped up for your workout. Sometimes, there are real problems in our way, but other times we simply rationalize and say that it’s OK to skip training today, and tomorrow, and the day after that. Now, imagine if you have someone who knows all your excuses and can find a way to get you going during those “tough” days. I don’t just mean sweet talking you into it but also showing you some tough love and getting you really hyped. Couples who do this know each other better and don’t let each other slip into their bad habits.
2. You focus more and work out better together
Social psychologists have proven thorugh studies that people who work out in the presence of their partners perform better. We are simply wired to attempt to be the best version of ourselves in front of each other and you have access to a bigger pool of energy. The mere presence of your partner works to your advantage and vice versa.
3. You spend more time together
A variety of joint activities that you do together inevitably leads to closeness and greater familiarity, and this applies to all couples. Working out is not easy. If it is easy, you are probably doing it wrong, and being that you are going to prepare for, go through and relax after the training session together means that you are really going to spend some time together.
4. You are not grossed out by sweat anymore
Getting used to each other when you are smelly is an inevitable part of intimacy. I mean come on, you can’t always smell like a field of flowers, can you? Any couple that has some comfort issues between them should try to intensely workout together. When you start dripping from excretion, smells quickly become irrelevant. Working out together means you both need a shower afterwards, most times together.
5. You can blow out steam better
Things can really get hectic and some days are just plain bad. You come home, you are cranky and sometimes you lash out at your partner who wanted nothing else than to cheer you up. This kind of frustration transfer can be very bad but going to the gym together where you can lash out your rage at the weights, while you confer emotionally with a person close to you, can mean the world for your stress levels, as well as your stability as a couple.
6. Your sex life gets much better
There are a lot of skeptics out there who claim that you don’t need to be physically fit to have a good sex life and you don’t, but being fit helps a lot. First of all, your body is capable of lasting longer as well as performing better and with more variety. Having visually more appealing bodies boosts your passion for each other, as well.
7. You massage each other regularly
While a lot of couples use massages for special occasions, stressful days and as an excuse to get intimate, you two will realize that it is much more than that. A good massage after a hard workout means a great deal to your body and is something you can’t do yourself. This will make you appreciate each other even more and be more than willing to return the favor.
8. You and your partner learn to work as a team
You don’t need anyone to help you out, you have a trustworthy person next to you and you are ready to go. Also, you always have someone to watch you and point out that you might be doing something wrong, which reduces the possibility of injury and helps you get better results.
9. You start to appreciate slow days more
In some cases, couples start hating their routine and this can create a lot of problems. When you work out on a regular basis, you consider slow days a blessing and you don’t complain about them at all. It is a chance for the two of you to lay back, relax and do nothing except maybe watch a few episodes of your favourite TV show.
10. You grow stronger together
Watching a person grow stronger next to you and go through weakly hardships with you lets you see a side of them you probably never saw before. Seeing them brave through the pressures and coming out triumphant really builds the trust you have in them and you will start viewing them as a capable person that can adapt to changes and pull their own weight in a relationship. Recognizing these qualities in each other is a big step forward in a relationship. As you can see, there are more than a few reasons to workout as a couple. After all, everything is much more easily achieved if you have someone who cares about you and who you care for to brave you onward and to rely on when times get hard. In the end it, is also very romantic, wouldn’t you say?
You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.
Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:
1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically
According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.
“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor
Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:
If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.
If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.
Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:
Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.
Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.
To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.
Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.
Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.
Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.
Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.
Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:
2. Focus on your goal
One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.
Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’
Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.
Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.
If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.
3. Convert negativity to positivity
There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?
‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’
It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.
Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”
Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.
Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:
4. Understand your content
Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.
However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.
“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor
Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.
Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.
One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.
5. Practice makes perfect
Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.
In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.
Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!
6. Be authentic
There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.
Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.
Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.
To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.
With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.
Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:
7. Post speech evaluation
Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.
Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation
We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.
You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.
Improve your next speech
As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:
How did I do?
Are there any areas for improvement?
Did I sound or look stressed?
Did I stumble on my words? Why?
Was I saying “um” too often?
How was the flow of the speech?
Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.
If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too: