Paul and Sandy Sklar have made fitness a family affair.
The first family of fitness’s relationship has grown from trainer-client to husband, wife and parents, with their common bond being self improvement. They’ve turned their gym passion into a successful career of training, teaching and inspiring both clients and social media followers to better themselves by focusing on their fitness goals.
Paul, a former college athlete, is one of America’s top trainers with nearly a million followers on Instagram. Sandy boasts a following of nearly a half million due to her motivational training tips she posts regularly on Instagram. Together, the Optimum Nutrition (ON) athletes own and operate Prescriptive Fitness in Charlotte, NC.
Having such a global responsibility, however, leaves the fitness tandem at times short on their time to share a cozy couples workout among themselves. While training together at times can be a challenge, both Paul and Sandy make it work, through a combination of commitment and compromise. They even make it a full family affair by including their kids in some of their training days.
Paul and Sandy share a few tips on how you can share a love for lunges with your significant other and a variety of relationship-boosting tips to add some family fun in your fitness journey.
Put the WE in Weekend Workouts
Paul and Sandy will agree that including your children for a weekend workout may not be the most efficient gameplan for making long-term gym gains, they both believers in adding some family-time workouts into your weekend schedule. Not only is it an enjoyable activity to share with your entire family, a little sweat and a few jumping jacks are solid foundation for promoting a healthier lifestyle for your kids — although you may have to keep an eye on the smaller children.
“Actually, Paul and I, we kind of just do our own thing,” Sandy says. “Sometimes we’ll kind of work out together, and if our little ones start to run around and do their own thing, we’ll basically assisting whoever needs help watching them. They like to use like some of the resistance bands and some of our equipment. So we’ll show him some stuff — or they may even want to show us an exercise or two [laughs].”
Besides bands, the pair suggest even a light kettlebell can be enough of an enticement for your kids to want to join in on a workout. Whether you’re pushing each other to success or just enjoying a light laugh with the family, the time spent together will pay dividends down the road.
“We use the weekends as our time, to bond as a family,” Paul says. “We don’t always do the same exercises — most of the time we don’t — but we’re always in the same space. We can see each other and feed off each other’s energy. Or the kids watch us and we watch them. Then everybody has fun.”
Take Your Fitness Outdoors
Fresh air and fitness go hand in hand. So what better way for a couple to connect than by heading outside for a run, hike, even walk, or taking a jump rope or other portable equipment to the park for a fun workout. Studies have shown that a run or walk helps improve your heart rate, strengthens your immune system and yes, even help family relationships.
“I think getting outdoors, with minimal equipment or just your body weight can be great exercises,” Paul says. “Also, it’s great just to do an easy run where you’re just running and talking. It great exercise. And it’s fun.”
Share the Workout Planning
When one person controls the Netflix binge-watching choices, chances are that relationship doesn’t end well. Like sharing the remote control, the same theory can be applied when creating workouts for the two of you. If you and your significant other are going to commit to sweat together, it’s best that each of you have an equal role in picking out the workouts.
“Keep an open mind and take turns,” Paul says. “We have different goals, obviously. But when Sandy’s working out or training a client, I’ll watch what she’s doing and vice versa. We’ll play off each other’s ideas.”
If you prefer deadlifts one week, allow your partner the option next workout to choose a long run, hot yoga, or even a heavy squat day. Sharing in the fitness decision making makes the partnership stronger.
“Because we’re so busy during the work week, it’s really hard to make time,” Sandy says. “So our weekends, we take off. That’s our time together and we make sure we make the time.
Keep the Nutrition Flowing …
Paul and Sandy know very well that abs are made in the kitchen, but when it comes to cuisine creativity, Paul admits to keeping the meals mundane. “We’re creatures of habit,” Paul says of their dinner menu normally consists of chicken or fish with either broccoli or pasta.
Weighing at about 170 pounds, Paul says he takes about a gram of protein per pound of body weight in order to maintain his shredded muscle mass. To get the extra protein, Paul takes in several scoops of ON Gold Standard 100% Whey daily. (Sandy especially is a huge proponent f the brand’s skin and joint fixer Collagen + Hyaluronic Acid.).
The family does get creative when it comes to providing healthier options for their kids. Whether its chocolate protein cupcakes or just a milkshake, the Sklars believe keeping snacking healthy and fun for the kids is subtle incentive for promoting a healthier lifestyle.
“We make a lot of shakes together, especially with the kids,” Paul says. “My son has his own little blender, so he likes to prepare his own shakes.”
… As Well as the Compliments
Sure, looking in the mirror and finally seeing your six-pack sparks a rewarding feeling of accomplishment, but hearing the words, “You look hot,” coming from your proud spouse hailing your physical achievements go a long way toward building a stronger body-shaping bond.
Both Paul and Sandy have seen the positive effects training has on couples. They say positive affirmations give both the incentive to keep training, and to keep sharing their fitness paths together.
“We’ll get clients who will come in and say, ‘My husband, when he started working with you, he didn’t have abs, and now he does and I love it,” Paul says. “When both spouses work out, they really like to compliment each other — it just makes it a lot better for them.”