“ Most people when they see Paul and Lanie, they see the external. Their big muscles. But when I look at Paul and Lanie, I see the internal…
because the biggest muscle they have are their hearts “
Justin Lopez -our wedding officiant.
The quote above was said during the opening remarks of our wedding ceremony. It was quite appropriate at the time because throughout the years of our relationship, people have come to know us as that- a fitness focused couple… but only because that’s been one of the many building blocks of our relationship. And it’s also appropriate for the present moment because it’s why we were asked to write this blog. It represents why we are able to be where we are at today in our relationship; on this journey of being better and stronger together. In all things having to do with relationships, health, fitness, and training, we have found that you can’t be successful on the outside without being successful from the heart first. If your heart isn’t into it, if you don’t love it, and love and respect the people you do it with—whether your significant other or community—then you won’t work through the tough times, appreciate the small wins, find the joy in supporting others, and know that there’s always more than what you are currently able to experience.
SETTING THE FOUNDATION
“I love how we approach life as a team, whether it’s training for a triathlon or even folding laundry…. I look forward to be your training partner for the rest of our lives.”
LANIE: Rewind to 2014. Paul and I had just started dating, and we were both into exercising individually (one of our first dates was me meeting Paul at a gym and he showed me how to do squats), but our levels of fitness accelerated when we met and started working out together. I was into fitness, but I definitely wasn’t strong. Paul, solely a power lifter at the time, taught me how to lift, and I always liked doing classes, so Paul would start doing these studio classes and yoga sessions with me at a local gym. Eventually, I had gotten into bootcamp workouts, trying out different gyms, and found Fit-Results on a Groupon. Eventually I invited Paul to go with me, he met Lou, and that’s the beginning of THAT story. Now he’s a senior coach at Fit-Results. And we’re writing this blog. All because of a Groupon.
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But we weren’t always “fit.” There was a time at the beginning of our relationship, when although we were exercising together, we had put on a great deal of “relationship weight,” from stressful lives, eating a lot during the honeymoon stages of our relationship, and not being focused on being our best. Eventually, we decided it was time to make a change. Together, we set out to lose the weight, moved in together, threw out all the garbage in our kitchen (including a hidden emergency candy stash I had at the time I hid from Paul), researched how to calculate macros, started tracking our food, started sharing information from the books and podcasts we would find, meal prepped clean and natural foods, did fitness challenges with our friends, and transformed our bodies.
A lot of people say, “Wow, you must be so lucky to have a personal trainer for a husband.” Which is true! He shares a lot of knowledge with me, asks me about my diet, makes me eat my vegetables and tells me go to the gym when sometimes I don’t want to. But it can also be very annoying because…. Well, he shares a lot of knowledge with me, asks me about my diet, makes me eat my vegetables, and tells me to go to the gym when sometimes I don’t want to. I’m just joking. Kind of. But I really am lucky.
PAUL: But change doesn’t happen without a vision to live into, intention to commit to, and a plan to execute on. So, when we decided to have an exclusive relationship together and decided to move in together, we decided to create a list of Visions and Goals for our relationship. A vision is the type of person you want to be and the way you want to feel about yourself. A goal is something tangible, measurable, or achievable to know you’re stepping into that vision. For example, One of our visions was “To be a couple that is never comfortable, has a lot of fun, and motivates each other to bring out our best…inspiring others to do the same.” Being said, one of our goals was that “We would participate and train for in at least one athletic event every single year.”
So we made a vision for our relationship, and we each made a vision for ourselves individually because we’re not the same person. But we set the premise that this relationship would never workout if there would be a time where we got comfortable, gave up on those ideals, and stopped challenging ourselves to be better. That’s in our day to day living, our intimacy and our levels of conversation, and especially in our fitness. And both fitness and relationships are about being outside your comfort zone and doing things you’ve never done before.
And that’s been the foundation of our relationship. If you set the vision, everything else naturally falls into place. The meal prepping, the training, eating healthy and working out even when we’re travelling, and all the other good choices we try to make to live long lives together. And although we’re VERY competitive, we still have a lot of fun. Because if you’re not laughing, you’re doing it wrong. And we still eat pizza, donuts, ice cream, and cheeseburgers. From time to time. It’s the agreement we have that keeps us from eating it more often than we should=)
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Instead of table numbers, each table was named after a favorite food. (Swipe left) And at each table was a picture of us eating that food. Cause what is love without pizza, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, sushi, donuts, peanut butter and jelly, and ice cream #tadalan2017 #pizzaislife #cheeseburgerinparadise #sushitime #chicagodog #wescreamforicecream #doitfordonuts #peanutbutterjellytime @shakeshack @loumalnatis @portilloshotdogs @stansdonutschicago @lanie_pani
GREATER GOALS MEANS GREATER SUPPORT
“There is so much life to live in and outside of our relationship. So many people to grow into. Together, and as individuals. We will grow, change, have new goals, passions, wants, knowing one thing will remain constant.
When it comes to the goals that we have, we might take on the same challenges together or we might do entirely different things on our own. But we know for us to be successful as a couple we have to do our best to ensure that we will be successful as individuals on our own journey. So to be successful requires mutual support from the other . Our strengths are each other’s strengths and we also take on each other’s weaknesses as our own so that we can support each other to be better. When one of us has a goal we set out to do, we never reject, judge, or doubt the reasons or ones ability to achieve that goal. We never say, “Why would you want to do that?” or “Do you think that’s even possible or realistic?” What we do say is ,”Okay. Now how are you going to get that done?” It requires a great deal of empathy and understanding to know that whatever might inspire us to take on a new challenge… is just the beginning of yet another adventure. Now this might seem like relationship common sense, but there are multiple couples we know where one person is really into health and fitness and the other is not… so for many reasons the latter person shows passive aggressiveness towards their fitness goals, indirectly objecting to the things the former person wants in his/her life. Sometimes one partner will say, “I don’t want you to go to the gym anymore. You go too often and I need you at home.” Or one person might shame the other for the healthy foods they start eating, or even reject the positive physical changes they see in their partner because they aren’t making changes of their own. It’s unfortunately common because change is threatening to the identity we’ve created for ourselves and how we’ve already defined our relationships. But if we can’t take on one another’s goals as our own, where does that leave us?
PAUL: For example, rewind yet again. But this time to 2016. I decided to do my first Ironman within a year. Already on board with the task at hand, Lanie knew that it would be a year of a lot of training, early mornings and late nights, and gone on the weekends. Buts then it ALSO required me to do a number of races throughout the year because I had never done any triathlon in my life yet. AND to add to that, we were scheduled to be married in May 2017, and still, I decided that I wanted to do a Half Ironman (my first ever triathlon) in April- not only just a month before our wedding, but I also wanted to do it in San Diego. Not once did Lanie question me, but rather was key to me successfully completing that task. She supported me all winter as I trained, was there for me as I cried through injury, travelled with me to California, – and not only throughout that year did she support me to complete my Full Ironman, but she even took on completing a half Ironman together.
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“We have to be IN that water by 5AM.” … “well, let’s set our alarms for 4am!” …Training is a lot easier when you have someone to support you. You don’t have to do the same things and you don’t have to do them together, but understand each other’s goals along with the drive and sacrifice it takes to get there. #trainingpartnerforlife early AM swim session with @lanie_pani #arewetrainingtoday #stopexercising #starttraining #beatyesterday @niketraining @nike @garminfitness @rokasports @tyrsport @speedousa #niketraining #nike #justdoit #rokar1 @ironmantri #swimbikerun #ironmantraining #instagramfitness #fitfamily #fitcouple #chicagofitness A post shared by Paul Tadalan (@paul_tadalan) on
COMING TOGETHER FOR A CAUSE
“I vow to partner in everything we do.”
We were asked to write a blog answering the question, “How to stay fit in a relationship?” But the real question is, “How do you create a relationship that empowers you to stay fit?”
It all comes down to Partnership. But what does that look like in action?
It’s having a vision, communicating goals, and communicating when one of us isn’t living up to those goals on a day to day basis. Because not only is a very common phrase said between us, “Hey, I need your support on…” (i.e., staying away from sugar, getting to the gym, drinking more water, shedding some pounds, etc.), but it also requires the ability to give and openly accept feedback. So we ALSO say, “Hey, remember when you asked for my support on ‘X?’ Well you’re not doing what you said you would do.” It’s that type of honesty and dedication that helps us stay on track because we’re by no means perfect. We’re gonna fall off, fail, or slow ourselves down. We do it all the time. But it’s the support system we created that shortens the time to get back to where we want to be. On the road to that vision.
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Everyday is some sort of combination of swim, bike, and run… but still gotta make time to put in work in the gym to get stronger, faster, and better outside of it. Snatches, Plyos, Core work and Sleds with @lanie_pani at @fit_results_chicago . #iamchicagofit #workforit #everydayathlete #chicagofitness #niketraining #niketrainingclub @niketraining @nike #timetotrain #ironman2017 #ironmantraining #instagramfitness #triathlontraining #workoutmotivation #iphone7
Sure, we might grind on our own, and we might stand alone on the podium, but lets not forget the people that helped us get to where we are. Sure… maybe its possible to find success all on our own…but what kind of journey would that be? Everything is better when its done in relationship with other people. Maybe it’s your significant other, your friends, your family, roommate, or within the community of the people at your gym you train with. Win, lose, or fail… it feels good to know you have people in your corner because that’s just more motivation to come back stronger every day. And it feels good to support the people you care about.
And we don’t just want to support each other– health and fitness is bigger than just us. It’s a societal issue, a family issue, a mental health issue, and an issue within our education system and how we get our food. So we want to partner with and support everyone we know. But to create change in the world is to first create change with ourselves. And we can’t do it alone. Create a relationship that pushes you to be better, surround yourself with people who support you, (you’ll find a lot of them at Fit-Results), and get working on those goals.
Paul and Lanie Tadalan