Dear Cassey: How can I motivate my boyfriend on our fitness journey?

Dear Cassey,
My boyfriend and I have been working out together, aiming to lose some weight and get fitter. I can see my body responding well to exercise and diet improvements, but this month he is really struggling and while he is feeling stronger, he also feels chubby, especially around the belly. I have noticed his belly does look a bit bigger, but I also know he is putting the work and eating well. What would you suggest that would keep him motivated and help him achieve his goals without starving or hurting himself?
In This Together

Dear In This Together,

Couple. Goals.

Seriously. It takes A LOT to commit to changing your lifestyle, and it’s so cool that you and your boyfriend are taking this on together. That being said, changing how you eat is and getting into the routine of working out is still no walk in the park. ESPECIALLY if you don’t see that hard work pay off. I love that you’re so mindful of your boyfriend’s feelings and discouragement even though you’re seeing some success (YAY for you, btw!).

Your support is exactly what he needs to stay motivated.

The first thing you can do for your boyfriend is to remind him about his WHY. What was the final straw that made him say “YEP. Let’s do this”?

  • You mentioned wanting to get more fit. Was he an athlete in great shape in the past and wants to get back to that?
  • Does he have a specific goal or event he wants to accomplish?
  • Does he just want to FEEL better?
  • Is he self-conscious about how he looks?

Whatever his “why” is, it’s LEGIT and IMPORTANT. Don’t let him lose sight of it.

Next, point out the progress that he probably isn’t seeing. You said he’s been feeling stronger, which TOTALLY shows his body is changing. Get him talking about the ways he feels stronger -it will make him feel more confident and inspired to keep pushing!

I also love writing down my workouts so I can physically SEE how I’ve improved. For example, you could both write down how many reps you do or what weight you used on your most challenging moves. Then watch yourselves get stronger on paper.

Oh and that reminds me – PROGRESS PICS. Are you taking them?

I know they can be kinda awkward to take but trust me when I say that nothing is more motivating!

With pictures to compare every couple of weeks, he might notice that his stomach isn’t actually more chubby. Maybe he’s just a little bloated on certain days. Or if he really isn’t seeing much change there yet, maybe he’ll realize that his arms or legs are looking more toned. We all gain and lose weight in different areas first, so maybe he just needs to notice where the change is happening now.

And finally, encourage him to just stick with it. Consistency is 100%, hands down, without a doubt, KEY for results to happen.

This new lifestyle is for life. I’m gonna bet that you’re both going to have your ups and downs along the way. Keep leaning on each other and do your best to avoid comparing your results to each other. Even though you’re doing this together, your fitness journeys are going to look very different. And that’s NORMAL! Keep cheering each other on.

And remember, I’m cheering you on too! 

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

17 thoughts on “Dear Cassey: How can I motivate my boyfriend on our fitness journey?”

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  1. Overwhelmed says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I have been married for about one month and am currently finishing up my bachelors degree. Throughout the entire stressful COVID wedding planning process I tried hard to stay healthy, eat right, and exercise. Since the wedding, however, I’ve let myself eat whatever and be lazy. Balancing classes, constantly changing COVID wedding guidelines, and moving was so emotionally, physically, and mentally draining that I just needed to breathe and stress eating became my best friend. I’ve been giving myself permission to have fun with food and rest, but now that zoom classes have started up again I find myself eating constantly, snacking almost continually between meals and during lectures. I feel hungry all the time, and it’s not from a lack of good, filling meals. While I’ve been slowly integrating exercise back into my daily routine, I just can’t break from constant eating. As someone who has struggled with anorexia in the past, being purposely focused on what I eat has always been tricky and I’m scared to start monitoring my food intake. How do I get back on track to eating healthy?

  2. Luna says:

    Dear Cassey,

    I’ve been a Popster for over 3 years now, which is so incredible! As someone who never really liked exercising before finding Blogilates, this is such an achievement! So first of all, I’d like to thank you for all that you do and for making exercise so enjoyable one can hardly stop.

    My question is related to making friends.
    I heard you talk about the struggle of making friends as an adult in one of your videos and I recently found myself in a similar situation. I was never the type to make friends easily. I am shy, nervous around people and it is a struggle for me to open up to them. Yet, I find that I miss human contact after a while.

    As someone who’s working from home, I don’t have the chance to make friends with colleagues much and I just miss having someone (or even a group of people) I can chat with.

    I have my boyfriend, but besides him, I do not have anyone I can talk to every day. We had to spend a few days apart because we were both busy and it put me in a real bad place mentally. I realized how much I depended on him and to be honest, it scared me a little.

    I’m wondering if you have any advice on finding friends and reaching out to friends without feeling like you are using them to replace somebody.

    Thank you!

  3. Alixier says:

    Dear Cassey,
    Thanks for sharing so much love and positivity in the world – every since my friend introduced your workouts to me, I have absolutely LOVED them. Since you have such a large following, I thought it could be an interesting social experiment for you to conduct a poll on “Coregasm.” Definition from Healthline: ‘A coregasm is an orgasm that happens while you’re doing a core exercise or workout. When you engage your muscles to stabilize your core, you may also end up contracting the pelvic floor muscles that can be essential to achieving orgasm.’

    I myself discovered this maybe 4 years ago, when I was doing planks. Since then, I have them whenever I do an intense core workout. Exercises that trigger them in your videos are “Flutters” and “Earthquake.” Would be realllly interesting if you decide to cover that topic. I’m sure I’m not the only one in your community who experiences coregams 😀 😀

  4. JOJO says:

    Hey Cassey, this question is quite a serious one and it is non-exercise related: how do you deal with racism? I myself and many people have been victims of racism. With this Covid19 pandemic, more and more Asians are being targeted with racist comments and even violence. I am an Asian who lives in England. I am targeted almost every day with people trashing my home or throwing garbage at me when I’m on the streets, with people shouting filthy racist comments. When I politely defend myself with words, they get violent and some would even threaten me with knives. This might be a simple and stupid question but how do you deal with people who are racist towards you and others? I am scared to walk out of my door even though I shouldn’t be ashamed of my own race. You are an inspiration to me in gaining healthy and fitness, confidence, and self-love. I hope you could help me with this (:

  5. Jessica says:

    It’s all about that support! Personally, my boyfriend is the type of person that THRIVES on instant gratification. He’s addicted to it (video games!). So with working out, he has a hard time keeping up with it because of the severe LACK of instant gratification. It’s a slow process. I always tell him to make sure he’s being aware of how his clothes are fitting! The scale irritates him every time he gets on it, but sometimes he’ll say things like, “These pants are looser!” And I’m like YEAH!! Focus on that! There will always be points of disappointment and stagnancy during this kind of lifestyle, so long as you’re there to help push him past it, he’ll achieve his desires.

  6. Ariel says:

    While it’s not likely the case: Some body types have difficulty seeing progress, particularly with certain autoimmune and other hereditary disorders. Trainers at the gym can give great tips for your boyfriend to see a bit more progress. Sometimes it’s also helpful if you can make it fun with outdoor activities and, when possible, one of his friends.

  7. a struggling girl says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I was quite skinny when I was 17, but I wasn’t happy with my body so I went on a restrictive diet and did excessive exercise and ended up being very unhealthy (no period, insomnia, hair loss etc.). I lost weight, but I was still unhappy. After almost a year, my parents found out that i didn’t have my period, so they started stuffing me with food and only allow me to do light exercises. I realized I started bingeing on food, and after bingeing I would do cardio to burn off the calories. My binge eating started to get uncontrollable. Then after that, I decided that compensating my binge eating with exercise is not gonna work forever, so i forced myself to not exercise after a binge and forgive myself. Within a year, I gained 20 pounds due to bingeing. Before the quarantine, I still experience extreme hunger, probably because I was doing lots of HIIT and tried to restrict my food(but ended up binge eating). Now I tried to do more low/moderate intensity workout and I don’t feel extremely hungry anymore. I no longer obsessed about calories and macros, and I find myself bingeing much lesser, but I feel like I am still addicted to food. Like I would find some snacks and try to eat some ‘unhealthy’ food even after I finish eating a nutritious meal. It’s hard for me to stop snacking because I stay with my family and they have lots of snacks at home. I would give myself permission to snack and overeat (or I will call it a ‘mini binge’ because I am already full but I just want to have more) until I am actually kindda bloated. For someone who is recovering from binge eating, I don’t want to restrict myself too much, but I feel like I’ve been eating more food than ever. The bright side is, the frequency of me bingeing on food is way lesser, but I want to lose the 20 pounds that I gained due to binge eating. Some people keep telling me that its all about willpower, but they don’t understand mu struggles with binge eating. Now that I am getting better with binge eating, I want to try losing weight again, and that means saying no to all the snacks my mum bought and controlling my apetite. Im scared that it would trigger my binge eating again, so sometimes I allow myself to eat. But on the other hand, I feel like I just have no willpower and discipline, and I should really stop eating so much. I woudnt go on crazy diet like what I did before. But the idea of losing weight is terrifying to me. The more I thought about losing weight and controlling my portion, the more food I eat (hope it makes sense). What’s your thought on this? Do you think this is the right timing for me to start losing weight again? Do you agree that I simply just have no discipline and willpower at all, and I should really suck it up and control myself?
    Ps. I am an Asian, so my parents don’t really think that having an eating disorder is a thing, they just keep telling me to eat lesser.

    1. Ann says:

      Hi! This isn’t Cassie, but I do have some advice for you. I suggest not weighing yourself for awhile. I also suggest eating healthy, but not completely restricting yourself. Obsessing over stuff like perfect nutrition can lead to binge eating. I have also struggled with a similar problem and sometimes all the willpower in the world can’t stop you from eating. (I lost a ton of weight and then gained it all back) You are beautiful and strong. You have discipline and willpower. But, you also might need help with your situation. If your parents aren’t being helpful, then maybe you could reach out to a friend who can help you stay on track with your goals. For now, take a break from dieting and just eat healthy. Trust your body, and try not to focus too much on appearances. Lose weight if you must, but also remember to be kind to yourself. No negative self-talk!
      P.S. Blogilates fitness videos really helped me get in shape btw

  8. Esraa_912 says:

    Dear Cassey,
    As I am sort of a plus size, i have a relatively large butt, and I was wondering will doing too much butt exercises make my butt even bigger (plumpier?). I know some people would love having a bigger bootay, but for me, I honestly prefer a small butt (please don’t kill me). XD

    1. hargun says:

      Hey Esra! I’m nor Cassey but doing butt exercises won’t make yours bigger. you will gain some muscles and a more defined shape. the only way your butt will grow is if you ar
      e eating in a calorie surplus

    2. Anna says:

      Working out in general will help you loose fat/get slimmer in all areas of your body. Butt exercises won’t make your booty bigger, just stronger, which in turn helps you slim down (lean muscle burns fat even when you aren’t working out!) Don’t be afraid, work it!

  9. Deer in this together, you are the best girlfriend ever! 🙂 he’s lucky to have you in your life, and your friends are lucky to have you in their lives.

  10. Addicus says:

    The causes for lack of progress when taking on lifestyle changes can be very complex. If you’ve ruled out lifestyle factors and eating more calories than before assuming they’re “healthy” foods, you may want to consider other causes. If he’s losing weight, getting toned but you both continue to notice him being “chubby” or bloated in his belly, I would rule out food intolerances and SIBO. Sometimes, this issue can become more blatantly obvious when you change your diet in favor of more healthy foods. It may be worth looking at how his diet has changed. Can any of these items be the cause? Also, if his stomach is the least bloated in the morning and becomes bigger as the day goes on (and you’ve ruled out food intolerances) ..maybe consider SIBO. Good luck!

    1. Anna says:

      I was thinking along these lines too! There may be foods that are causing inflammation or digestive issues for him. An elimination diet (taking foods out for a few weeks and then adding them back in, one at a time each week) can help see if a particular food is causing issues. Inflammation can seem like fat/chubbiness – sometimes an inflammatory food can cause a person to gain several pounds!

  11. Katerina Tsitoglou says:

    I do abs and I hurt the back place of my head.when I do abs my head burns not my abs.what I do wrong?

  12. Liz says:

    Stress plays a huge part in weight loss, especially in the belly…and now is a very confusing and hard time! It could be also due to stress that he’s not seeing changes in that specific area. in addition to progress pics, I find measurements also help. You may not be able to see how you are changing, but taking measurements can show you in the ways you can’t see as well.

  13. Falling Out of Love says:

    Hi Cassie! How do you stay in love with your body? I continue to struggle with this. There are days that I hype my body and there are some days that I just really hate it. There are times that all I see are the imperfections, the belly fat, the scars and the flabby arms. I get really overwhelmed by this that I feel down as if I hadn’t made any progress at all. It got me to think that this body of mine won’t get better. That I’m always gonna be stuck with what i have. How do you remove these thoughts and just stay in love with your body?