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Ideally, when I workout there wouldn’t be another living soul within a mile radius. Between the pools of sweat and the guttural groans and the pained look on my face, I’d rather stub my big toe every morning for a month than have another human being present when I’m exercising.

But things aren’t what I would consider “ideal” these days. In the era of COVID-19, my partner and I are more stressed than I think we’ve ever been in the seven years we’ve been together. And as we’ve both been attempting to balance work and parenting our two children and facilitating our eldest son’s at-home e-learning and keeping up with the ever-growing mountain of dishes in our kitchen, we’ve had less and less time to spend with one another.

So, it was the need to find a quick, healthy way to relieve stress, coupled with the desire to spend more one-on-one time with each other, that inevitably turned us into one of those couples who workout together. And surprisingly, what used to terrify me has become the one part of our daily routine I look forward to the most. I still sweat an obscene amount and the guttural groans didn’t go away and, yes, my face still does some pretty weird stuff during a workout, but as we’ve both committed to bettering ourselves both physically and mentally we’ve learned how to celebrate ourselves and the innate strength we embody as both individuals and as a couple by working out together.

P.Volve, a workout method that connects the mind and the body, has been with us every step of the way as we’ve embarked on this newfound fitness journey. With a litany of online workouts, my partner and I have found a few tried-and-true favorites, have been able to connect on a deeper level, and are able to feel proud of the work we’ve put in to ensure our mind and bodies are as strong as they can be during this unparalleled time. The following workouts have become our go-to stress relievers and strength builders (and while they’re fun to do with a partner, you can absolutely do them solo, too). 

1. This 10-minute at-home ab workout

This expresse, intense ab workout is great when we’re both in need of a middle-of-the day break. My partner and I usually take advantage of this quick workout when we get our kids down for their afternoon nap and have a few minutes between work Zoom meetings or conference calls. And since it’s such a core-focused workout and requires you to be intentional with your motions and your breathing, it’s also a great way to center ourselves in the midst of an overwhelming day and practice mindfulness and stillness.

2. Tighten up with no equipment 

As two busy working parents, convenience is the name of our workout game. Which is why we naturally gravitated towards this equipment-free workout. With a series of unique moves and stepping patterns, we can tone and lengthen our bodies sans any heavy or expensive weights that would only take up space we, honestly, do not have. My partner excels at the side-steps, which work to strengthen the muscles, while the leg lifts that tone my inner thighs and glutes are my jam. 

3. This 20-minute express workout 

Here’s another quick, no-equipment exercise that’s all about activating the natural resistance present in the body. And while this is another go-to in the early mornings before our boys wake up, or in the afternoon during their nap, we have also loved watching our sons mimic our motions during this quick workout, too. (Twenty minutes is just long enough to hold their attention and curiosity.) So not only do my partner and I get a couple’s workout in, but we get the added benefit of feeling great about our parenting and the chance to show our sons how important it is to make time for your mind and body. 

4. Keep it pumpin 

This 30-minute express ankle-weight workout targets the butt, thighs, and legs. Unlike a barbell or dumbbell weight set, ankle weights are easy for even the most novice among us to use and don’t take up a lot of space. And like so many of the P.volve workouts, the movements are slow and controlled, once again forcing my partner and I to focus on our breath and be intentional with our bodies and the way we’re using them. Not only do we love the way we feel physically after this workout, we love how mentally focused we are after those 30 minutes of getting our sweat on.

5. 20-minute sculpted arms and abs 

Another quick workout (are you noticing a theme, yet?) that allows my partner and I to utilize the P.band and really harness the power of isometrics and strength training from the comfort of our home. While this workout is quick, I can say it is not for the faint of heart. After switching between the plank-based moves and the low-impact standing moves, you’re sweating, out of breath, and I swear you can feel your body stretching and lengthening in real-time. 

6. 6-day total body workout  

While we usually opt for the quick and efficient workouts, lately my partner and I have been looking for a challenge. Enter: the 6-day total body workout. We’ve recently purchased 2 lb hand weights, which we’ve been using along with the P.band and ankle weights, and are committed to seeing this workout through. The beauty of working out as a couple, of course, is that you have a built-in accountability and hype person. (Which comes in handy, because this workout targets and sculpts your inner thighs, glutes, and abs, and while it is designed for all fitness levels it will definitely challenge your body and mind.)

7. Oh-those abs 

This 30-minute, intense workout was an instant favorite. Like so many P.volve workouts, this program is all about slowing down and being intentional and focused. Which, again, gives my partner and I another chance to practice mindfulness and get out of our heads. When we’re deliverable with our body, we feel more connected to the muscles we’re stretching and strengthening. And, in the end, we walk away feeling more connected to ourselves and each other.

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