The Quantified Couple

My husband Michael and I constantly juggle the demands of our work lives while making sure we have time for our family. With a relentlessly growing list of personal and professional to-do’s, it can be very challenging to fit in exercise, even though we run a fitness company!

Koko was born out of our desire to make a more prominent place in our lives for fitness. The goal was not just to be stronger both as individuals, but as a couple. We also wanted to be great role models for our son, and being fit parents is one of the best gifts you can give your children.

So how do we make it happen? One very useful practice is exercising together. We started doing this out of convenience, but over time we’ve discovered that working out with your significant other makes for a more effective exercise regimen and a more satisfying fitness life. Here’s why:

1. Accountability & Sustainability

When you work out solo, it’s easy to skip a day. Who but you even notices? But when your spouse is standing right in front of you, ready to work out and asking you to join, it becomes much harder to wimp out. You see that look on their face – What, you’re admitting defeat?!? – and realize you have no choice.

An Indiana University study of married couples who joined health clubs together confirmed this dynamic. The couples who worked out separately had a 43% dropout rate over the course of a year. Those who went to the gym together had a 6.3% dropout rate. Working out together clearly makes exercise a lot more sustainable.

2.  Shared Experience & Results

What happens when you can’t work out at the same time?  The next best thing is to exercise within the same system or program, so you can share experiences and progress reports.  Michael and I don’t work out together every single time. But we’re always quick to share our latest data, whether it’s how many Koko Points we’ve earned, our respective FitCheck body-composition readings, or our all-important strength scores. The Quantified Self is a great concept, but The Quantified Couple is even better.

 3.  Friendly, Healthy Competition

Michael-Mary-Obana-Lannon

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to keep you motivated.  My husband and I are different heights and sizes, but the data-driven approach allows us to compare ourselves in a precise, apples-to-apples way. Koko’s technologies show us what we’ve done, how we’ve progressed, and also how strong we are (our “Q Score”), taking into account our respective sizes.  So, even though he can lift more weight than me, the data proves that, pound for pound, I’m actually stronger!  (I must admit, I love this.)

One couple has a weekly competition to see who can earn the most Koko Points. The spouse with the most points on Saturday night gets to sleep in on Sunday morning, while the other spouse gets up early with the kids.  Another husband reportedly sneaked in extra workouts while the kids were getting baths Saturday evening, just to eke out more Koko points for the week.  All in good fun, but it also keeps us healthy.

Child See, Child Do

The thing that has been most amazing about our fitness journey is the impact it has had on our son.  Seeing us make exercise a priority in our lives has made him more conscious of his body and the choices he makes about it. And this hasn’t happened because we lectured him about it. It’s simply a function of how we live as a family. That’s the nicest benefit of all.

Mary Obana

President and Co-Founder


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