Fitness + Passion = Love: Austin’s fitness power couples have the whole package

By Devyn Bernal & Madie Leon – February 7, 2013
Paul Marcus
Danielle Famolare and Carey Rouse

Owners of Group4Fitness

Did you know?
Danielle Famolare placed in the top five in her division for figure modeling at NPC in Texas and Carey Rouse is also an NPC physique competitor, placing in the top three for his division in Texas

When Danielle Famolare and Carey Rouse found each other via three years ago, sparks flew instantly. “There was an automatic physical attraction, which was important to both of us,” Rouse explained. “Before, I had dated people who didn’t work out like I did and if they didn’t go [to the gym], I wouldn’t go.” The fit pair hits the gym together for most workouts but warns against trying to keep up with your partner. Their advice: “Train at your own pace, and race your own race,” as constantly competing can create unnecessary tension. They should know: the two started training and competing after they began dating. Famolare tried her first competition two years ago and did so well she eagerly encouraged her beau to give a try. “I had to convince him to do it with me,” Famolare stated. “He wasn’t interested in the diet.” (Rouse joked that he still doesn’t follow the diet.) Competing together made training more fun. “Being there for each other as a motivation is important,” Famolare explained. “It’s a really tough struggle when you have a partner who isn’t supportive.” Rouse agreed: “As hard as it is to be physically active when your partner isn’t physically active, it’s about four times as hard when you’re trying to diet and eat healthy.” They’ve recently taken their partnership into business; Famolare and Rouse see their company as another expression of their love for fitness, and they joked about the business benefits of their physiques. “We can’t walk into a public without somebody challenging her to an arm wrestle,” Rouse joked. “She’s like a walking billboard.” “We’re laughing,” Famolare rejoined, “but it’s actually true.”

Veronica Castelo and Sarah Lowenstein

Director of Marketing for
Sarah – Manager of Business Partnerships for Lifetime Fitness

Did you know?
Veronica Castelo was a producer for Austin News 8 and Sarah Lowenstein was the 2001 Illinois State Wrestling Girls Champion in the 108 lb. division

Veronica Castelo and Sarah Lowenstein began their relationship on a fit note; their first date date was a run around the lake, which revealed that the two were more equally matched than Lowenstein had expected. “I wanted to make sure Veronica could hang, and she ended up whooping my butt,” Lowenstein remarked. “It was definitely on from there.” Outside of the initial attraction, an obvious desire for making health a priority runs deep in the relationship. Both volunteer and work with charities in Austin that focus on health issues like childhood obesity. As for health being a priority in their own lives, Lowenstein explained they get pretty creative: “We really have fun trying new classes, boot camps, or athletic events together. We’ve already participated in several of the same races, and we plan to compete in the Couple’s Tri.” Inside and outside of the gym, the pair manages to make workouts a priority: “Living in Austin, there are so many great social events within the fitness community that it is easy to kill two birds with one stone and get in a great workout while simultaneously spending quality time with the person you love,” Lowenstein said. Castelo explained that a healthy relationship comes from more than just the work inside the gym: “It’s all about balance. I love to work and workout, and maintaining a healthy relationship is equally important to me. We make sure to find time for each other—sometimes that means working out together and sometimes that means being totally lazy together. You need both!” These successful professionals clearly reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, but what's the best part? They replied, “We both consistently look and feel great. It’s as simple as that. When you live a balanced, healthy lifestyle, you nurture an inner confidence that can weather any storm. When both people in a relationship have that, together they are even better equipped to tackle anything life throws their way.”

Joe and Joyce Prusaitis

Owners of Tejas Trails

Did you know?
Joe has run 82 ultramarathons

Joe and Joyce Prusaitis, owners of Tejas Trails, have been keeping fit together for almost twenty years. “We met on Town Lake Trail, both of us training for our first marathon, back in 1992,” Joe began. “I have always been attracted to fit, athletic women, but it was her smile that won me over.” The running couple has raised six children and now spoil four grandchildren, but they continue to maintain the stamina to work out and live a healthy lifestyle. As much as they enjoy training together, the couple knows that relying on a fitness routine is not enough to keep a relationship strong. “We’ve been around long enough to know what is important, and blindly sticking to a plan is not near as important as so many other things,” said Joe. “Life throws quite a few curves and we have learned to adapt.” Fitness is obviously important for the ultramarathon runners; they simply believe a healthy body, spirit, and attitude are all tied together. Joyce thanks their active lifestyle for keeping her and Joe connected and teaching them how to comfortably disagree. Where's the time for romance with business demands and extensive workouts? Their secret is prioritization: “We come first, the business a distant third or fourth, and the training, unfortunately, last.” Eighteen years of marriage is evidence that their balance has been successful. The Prusaitis' biggest piece of advice for couples: Keep it fun and simple, and keep your priorities straight. Joyce said, “You are each more important than any fitness goals, or anything else.”

Andrea Fisher and Jamie Cleveland

Owners of Hill Country Running, Texas Iron

Did you know?
Fisher has five Ironman swim course records and Cleveland is a former Canadian National Champion

Andrea Fisher and Jamie Cleveland began dating after the Half Ironman in Mexico over thirteen years ago. While Fisher was struggling in the heat, Cleveland ran by in an “itsy bitsy red Speedo,” and that was all the motivation Fisher needed to finish. She didn’t win her heat that day, but eleven years of marriage can count as a win for the Ironman. Several years afterward, the fit pair asked themselves this question: If you enjoy someone’s company and enjoy your line of work, why not combine the two? Now, the triathletes spend their time training together, raising their daughter, keeping up with Hill Country Running, and coaching for the Texas Iron. Being a busy working mom and wife doesn’t leave Fisher much extra time in the day, so being able to spend her workout time with her husband is a bonus. “We bike, swim, and run together, but we are also respectful of each other when we need to do our own thing,” she said. “The times we do workout together are great bonding moments and we truly appreciate them.” The gym is not their only source of romance, however; the couple strives to arrange a date night several times each month. “We get a babysitter for our daughter and unplug from everyone for a night,” Cleveland explained. “It’s sometimes hard to do, but we always make it a priority.” The busy couple vacations in Colorado, plays hard on the beaches of Hawaii, or hikes the greenbelt with their daughter and pups, as Fisher explained, “Those types of experiences add joy, memories, and intimacy to any healthy relationship.” Cleveland and Fisher encourage other couples seeking fitness to be supportive and patient with each other and—most of all—enjoy their time together.

John and Stacey Conley

Owners of Conley Sports Production

Did you know?
John was a member of the All-U.S. Army Europe Cross Country Team ('77) and Stacey founded Marathons of Texas

John and Stacey Conley met in 2000 when Stacey was working in event planning for Motorola and John was hired to run the company’s marathon. “He was a genuine, nice guy and I liked hanging out with him,” Stacey said. “Fitness had nothing to do with it!” However, that Motorola connection led to a relationship closely tied to running, particularly marathon running and event planning for races across the country. The close quarters at work give a bit of an advantage. “There’s always time for romance,” Stacey insisted, “even if it’s just a quick smooch as we pass each other in the office.” Another advantage is traveling to exotic places all over the world; they even got engaged at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Ireland. The Conleys’ shared workspace and fitness goals have provided an outlet for positive expression. “We’re supportive of each other and proud of each other,” Stacey said. “I’d say that’s good for a marriage.” While they can be found working out together, the two emphasize the importance of doing what suits your own needs. “Being truly fit is an attitude as much as it is something physical,” John explained. “Be patient and know that like being an athlete, relationships take time and if done right, will last forever.” Fourteen years later, there is obviously some value to be put into the couple’s advice. “It took me a year to get the courage to ask her out. But in a way I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t with her.”

Web Exclusive Profiles:

Ali Putnam and Jesse Martin 

Media and Communications Manager for the Circuit of The Americas 
Owner of Stronghorn Fitness

[Also Jesse really wanted us to mention his junior high athletic record; apparently it’s pretty impressive]

Did you know?
Ali Putnam and Jesse Martin are both featured as models for AFM’s Muscle Movement of the Month in February (Also Jesse really wanted us to mention his junior high athletic record; apparently it’s pretty impressive)

About two years ago, Ali Putnam was sneaking a workout into her busy schedule. Little did she know that Jesse Martin was admiring her from across the gym. “It took me a bit to work up to more than a wave,” Martin admitted. “We would see each other in passing, and her push-up form was great, the best I’d ever seen!” Putnam was attracted to Martin’s confidence, his outgoing personality, and his pull-ups (or so he says). Once he got past the initial wave, the couple hit it off and they’ve been together since. Putnam works for the Circuit of The Americas and Martin writes his own fitness blog. Despite their hectic schedules, the couple always makes time for each other, whether at the gym or elsewhere. “Workout is a close second behind our relationship, our first priority,” Putnam said. “Plus Jesse is a romantic.” They look to each other for motivation and keep each other accountable when it comes to their fitness regimen (both joked that they want to look as good as possible for each other). Their healthy and physical lifestyle has improved their relationship in more ways than one—each is now more cautious regarding diet, and they grocery shop, cook, and eat together when possible. They challenge each other to try different things and have learned from working out together. Putnam encourages Martin to swim more and Martin taught Putnam how to improve her running. The best part about being fit together? “It’s amazing to have energy to do something together, whether its surfing, skiing, anything that keeps us up from the couch,” Martin said. “And looking good naked,” Putnam replied with a wink.

Jack Murray and Stacey Keese

Owners of Jack and Adam’s Bicycle Shop
Keese- Owner of Skeese Greets

Did you know?
Stacey and Jack were on the same high school cross country team

A staple of Austin’s dynamic athletic community is found in Jack and Adam’s Bike Shops. Most of the shop’s regular patrons may not know however, that the store is owned by high school sweethearts who got their start on the track during cross country.  “We’ve been together for half of our lives and our healthy lifestyle has always been a part of it.” The expression is by no means an exaggeration; Jack Murray and Stacey Keese have been together for eighteen years.  The time together has taught Keese and Murray that every workout doesn’t have to be spent together, especially for a couple who owns two businesses and shares a workspace. “We think that exercising alone together is the better option because it allows for some ‘me’ time.” However, the level of companionship is a positive and not an annoyance. When asked where they romance fits into such a tight schedule, they replied “That's one thing that we haven't had trouble finding time for.  We have fun together even when we're working.” Both Murray and Keese partly attribute the success of an overall healthier relationship to the mental and physical benefits of a fit lifestyle. Aside from the huge benefit of a blooming relationship, Murray and Keese said the best part of being a professionally fit couple is staying young. Have you seen their picture? We believe them.


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