MMA champion Angela Lee: Couples who train together, stay together
MMA champion Angela Lee says the sport is a great way to bond with partners
It is normal for couples to fight - but not quite like this pair.
Singaporean Angela Lee, 22, and Brazilian Bruno Pucci, 28, mixed martial arts (MMA) and Brazilian jiu-jitsu champions respectively from the Evolve Fight Team, got married last July.
The Hawaii-based duo's love story blossomed in 2015 at martial arts academy Evolve MMA, and they dated amid bruises, sparring and sweat.
While MMA is a great way to stay fit, the sport has also helped to strengthen their relationship off the mat.
Their schedules have always allowed them to work out together, even when they were training with their teammates at Evolve MMA in Singapore.
Lee told The New Paper in an e-mail interview: "The main difference now, since we got married and relocated to Hawaii, is we are always able to stay together. We are in the same line of work, so that means we get to teach classes together and train together.
"Our lives together have been better than ever. Now that we train side by side, we have become each other's No. 1 supporter, which is crucial when we fight in the cage."
She added: "Although it helps that we both do the same sport, we choose to be understanding, and we often put each other's needs before our own."
On weekdays, the couple train for two hours in the morning, teach two hours in the evening, followed by a couple more hours of training.
On Saturdays, they teach jiu-jitsu classes together and train after that in the Fighters Program, then take a well-deserved break on Sundays.
With Valentine's Day around the corner, Lee encourages couples to explore MMA together, even though it may not appear like the most romantic activity.
She said: "The best thing about working out and training together is you both understand each other's lifestyle. You become more understanding and considerate towards each other.
"It is also a great way to solve disagreements because you are so exhausted from training that you have no energy left to argue."
Couples do not even need to be at the same fitness level, as MMA "welcomes all levels".
'JUST JUMP IN'
She advised: "Everything is better when you try it together. Take a class and have fun with it - just jump in. It is a great way to get to know each other better as well. A lot of times, fitness plans fail because of procrastination."
Lee warned that while working out together is fulfilling, it can be frustrating in the beginning.
"The best thing you can do is give each other positive encouragement.
"Leave negativity or criticism out of the conversation, because despite your good intentions, it will definitely demoralise your partner," she said.
When arguments crop up, she suggests thinking twice before speaking to avoid hurt feelings.
"Like my mum always says, the golden rule is to treat others how you want to be treated."