CrossFit Couples: “Our First Official Date, We Were In Our Gym Gear”

Elliot and Jamie Simmonds
Elliot Simmonds, left, and Jamie Simmonds (Image credit: Courtesy Elliot and Jamie Simmonds)

Way back in 2017, on a hunch, Coach contacted a few CrossFit boxes to find out if anyone had found love in a sweaty place. Of course they had and we featured four so-called CrossFit couples. Since then we discovered that it wasn’t just casual CrossFitters who had coupled up. Some of the sport’s elite had become involved romantically, too. So for Valentine’s Day 2024, we’re revisiting the feature and sticking our noses into the relationship of CrossFit Games athletes Elliot and Jamie Simmonds. The pair live in Abu Dhabi and are founders of Quintessential Health & Performance.

Elliot Simmonds, 30, and Jamie Simmonds, 32

Time together: 10 years 

Favorite part of CrossFit: Both love the community element, but exercise-wise Elliott is a fan of low–impact rowing—“I know I can do it forever,” he says—while Jamie loves a muscle-up.

Where did your relationship begin?

Jamie: We both moved to the Middle East in 2014. I’m from New Zealand and Elliot is from England. I moved there two weeks after Elliot and I began to train at the gym he was coaching at. We had to travel for the Dubai Fitness Championship (DFC) and we ended up staying overnight. All of us were too cheap to get more than one bedroom so there were three of us in the room and you get to know people better when you hang out with them that long. I then ended up working at the same gym as Elliott. 

Elliott: When I first moved I had a girlfriend, but after the DFC Jamie and I got to know each other a little bit better. It was one of those things where the timing was just right. We got on well and we needed a female coach at the gym. Jamie started working for us and I guess it went from there. 

When were you officially a couple? 

Elliot: I think our first official date—just me and Jamie—was at about 9.30pm at either Nando’s or this Australian burger place after work. We were in our gym gear. 

We didn’t define ourselves as a couple until I knew I was going home back to England for Christmas in 2014 and I invited Jamie back to the UK with me to save her staying in the UAE. We then got married in 2020.

You work together and live together. What’s your training routine like?

Elliot: We tend to train at the same time, but not do the same thing. On average it’s two sessions a day to get better for the CrossFit season. I ‘in-person coach’ Jamie, so I won’t write programs for her, but if she needs help on how to approach workouts, I’ve always helped. Sometimes we’ll jump into each other’s workouts or do qualifier workouts and go head-to-head.

Jamie: On holiday in New Zealand we did one session per day, but also outdoor stuff like mountain climbing, hiking, swimming. We get outdoors as much as possible. 

Elliot: We train, work and live together. People ask, ’Are you ever apart?’ and the honest answer is, no we’re not, but for some reason, it’s always worked!

You’re made for each other! Any advice for couples training together?

Elliot: There are still times when your patience wears thin especially when you’re tired and you’re in the middle of a workout and you get a dirty look! It’s more about understanding your partner I guess. There’s no specific advice other than to be attuned with your partner and know when to say something or when to keep quiet. 

How do you know when to speak or be quiet with each other?

Jamie: You need to know when he or she is in a bad mood and that now is not the time to speak up, or it’s about approaching something more diplomatically. Make suggestions rather than delegation! And don’t take in-the-moment comments personally.

Elliot: That’s something you learn as a coach of athletes, not just your partner. In the heat of the moment, it isn’t the person speaking—it’s their ego responding. As a coach and as a partner, you have to know that nothing is meant personally when your heart rate is high and you’re emotional.

Is there an exercise that makes you two really competitive?

Elliot: I wouldn’t say ‘exercise’ [laughs]. We’re both competitive people. Whenever we do the same workout we’re competitive with each other. Sometimes we do go into a workout and know someone is better than the others so it’s easier to know a loss is going to come. The longer a workout gets, the more likely I will win; the shorter it is, the more likely Jamie will win.

Do you compete together?

Elliot and Jamie Simmonds

(Image credit: Courtesy Elliot and Jamie Simmonds)

Elliot: We’re going back to our roots this year. The 2015/2016 CrossFit season, the first year we were together, we podiumed at the CrossFit Games as a team so that’s high in our memories and we did a couple of partner comps. Since then we’ve entered as individuals in most comps. 

This year we’re in the same team for the season and hopefully the CrossFit Games 2024. 

What is it that you each admire in each other in terms of training?

Jamie: With Elliot it’s his dedication. He shows the passion he has for it by the time he spends on the fine details. There’s no one in CrossFit who does it quite the same. He’s a very smart athlete—that’s why I go to him. 

Elliot: For me, Jamie has unwavering trust in herself. She goes into her workout and just backs herself. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but she always has the effort. There’s never an excuse, never a reason, just pure heart whenever she does it and that’s what I’ve admired the most about her. 

Lucy Gornall

Lucy is an experienced health and fitness journalist, and was formerly health editor for TI Media’s portfolio of women’s titles. Lucy qualified as a level 3 personal trainer with Train Fitness in 2016, and also holds qualifications in pre- and post-natal fitness, as well as in nutrition for exercise.