Every day, more and more fitness minded couples are hitting the gym together; some are newbies, some are both experienced, and some have one experienced athlete training the other. It’s definitely no secret that couples who work out together have a greater chance of success and see better results. Having someone there for emotional and physical support, such as encouraging one last rep, or spotting them on a heavier lift, is great! This close bond with one another transfers into the relationship outside the gym, and results in a stronger romance.
Below, I’ll share mine and my husband’s journey to becoming the fit couple we are today. Everything from the ups and downs to our first fitness competition. All while maintaining our marriage, and most importantly, our FAMILY.
Albert and I have been married for nearly 8 years and have been working out together for 2 1/2 years. I was the cardio queen; I ran cross country all through school, and had the strong runner legs, but I was skinny. My husband was an avid weight lifter, and was at the gym nearly every day. It wasn’t until after the birth of my second baby that my husband finally convinced me to join him in the gym and start this crazy journey. This one decision has changed both our lives, and the lives of our kiddos.
How The Dollingers Became the Swollingers
On March 9th 2015, two months after having a baby, my husband convinced me to try working out with him. Lifting weights seemed like the manly thing to do, but Albert reassured me that I would not grow as big as he was. That day we stepped into the gym, both of us not knowing how this was going to change our lives. To be honest, I was thinking that I could get a good two months of membership before I quit. Albert was probably thinking I’d last a couple of weeks before I’d go running back to the cardio cinema. To our surprise, I caught on quickly and fell in love with the process. Albert was the perfect trainer: well educated, patient, helpful and never let me skip leg day! At one point, I was confident enough to walk into the weight room and lead the workout. Instead of looking at him for the next exercise, he was looking to me for guidance.
Of course, there were challenges along the way: we had just bought a new house, I was transitioning back into the work force, Albert worked early mornings, and our best time to hit the gym was everyone else’s best time as well. Every night after I got home from work, we would call around and see if anyone could watch the kids while we went to the gym. Sometimes, it was easy. Other times, we were unsuccessful and wound up doing the Insanity workout at home – both of us trying to jump around a small living room, while dodging a 4 year old and keeping a 2 month old baby happy, which was probably the single hardest thing to do.
Prepping our meals was another hurdle we faced, we both had fast metabolisms, so we normally ate whatever we wanted without having the guilt afterwards. The quick pizza runs to Little Caesars for the $5 pizza deal was not on our clean eating menu. It really came down to how bad we wanted to see results. There were days when it was easy to stay on track and there were days when we caught ourselves in the Dollar Tree, throwing all the candy we could into the basket. It was a vicious cycle, we both knew had to stop, so instead of taking all these yummy foods out of our diets, we ate them in moderation. This one little change, was a huge boost to our mindset, and our meal preps became easier and easier to plan.
After a long year of struggles and getting into somewhat of a routine, I had hit my goals and Albert was at his strongest. Both of us, being motivated by one another, were at a point where we needed something to work towards. I had mentioned the idea of doing a show, and he wasn’t too keen on the idea. Nonetheless, he agreed, and I started my 8 week prep for my very first Muscle Contest. Albert did the entire prep with me. We would stay up all night prepping our meals, making egg whites, cooking and measuring out all our oats.
It was finally the day before the big show, we packed up our car and drove a couple hours south to Culver City. We got checked in, got settled in our room and Albert looks at me with the biggest grin on his face. He gets our camera out and asks me to open our bag, so I did. I was a bit confused when I pulled out a pair of turquoise swim trunks. It took me a couple seconds to realize, he didn’t wanna go swimming, he was doing the show with me! I screamed with excitement and automatically started crying, we both sat down and reminisced on our first day in the gym, and to be where we are now was not expected.
Show day finally came, to say the least it was a day we will never forget. I got on stage and froze, Albert got on stage and shined like a natural. We both were so proud of ourselves, never mind the fact that I didn’t return to finals. We took Alberts 3rd place trophy out to dinner and ate as much as we could. Afterwards, we got on the freeway and made our way back home. It was almost 2 o’clock in the morning when we got home, we both rinsed off our tan, hopped in bed, and kissed each other a good night.
A Year & a Half Later
Here we are today, both of us pushing our goals to the limits. If we can’t make it to the gym, we get outside and enjoy a sunny day, catch some waves at the beach, ride our bikes, take the kids on a hike or just spend some quality time with each other. Either way, we stay active, we show our kids that there’s more to life than video games and TV, there’s a whole world out there waiting to be seen.
Recently, helping us out with our fitness goals, has been Max Muscle Nutrition. Sometimes, we have to pinch ourselves, because we are so fortunate to have such an amazing brand supporting our goals and helping us every chance they can. We were so impressed with the quality and taste of the products, we had to start sharing our new found love with family, and friends. Having the confidence to share a product, and know without a doubt that they’ll love it, is the best feeling.
Our go-to Max Muscle Nutrition supplements are Pro BCAA Strawberry Lemonade, Cleanse & Lean, TriTor Cherry Bomb, Cookies and Cream Gourmet Protein, Emerge Pineapple Pizzazz, and A.R.M. Intense Strawberry.
Having our kids raised in a home where health and fitness is normal, was not our plan, but when we see our daughter squatting with her toy broom and our son curling 5-pound dumbbells, it’s so hard not to be proud of our struggles. When we hear co-workers or friends telling us that we inspired them to start their fitness journey, we’re humbled.
By Elizabeth (Lizzie) and Albert Dollinger (a.k.a. the Swollingers); Find them on IG: @theswollingers
What’s next for the Swollingers? Look for an upcoming feature
in Max Sports & Fitness showcasing this awesome couple and Lizzie’s
amazing recipes using Max Muscle supplements!!