Since they met in college in Mississippi, Amber and Brad Cole have devoted their careers and personal lives to holistic health and wellness. Nearing their 16th wedding anniversary, the couple is stronger than ever thanks to their five-day weekly exercise program they do from their garage that’s converted into a gym.

Brad, 36, is a Doctor of Chiropractic and a Strength and Conditioning Specialist with a Masters in Sports Rehab at the Cole Pain Therapy Group. He draws from CrossFit and kettlebell training courses to create personalized, seasonal workouts. Amber, 37, is a pediatric physical therapist for children with neurological disorders. She handles all of the meal-prepping for their family of four.

Balancing Work, Life, and Exercise

During the school year, they work out together for an hour each night after putting their two kids to bed. Over 10 years, they’ve amassed an enviable amount of equipment, including barbell weights, dumbbells, a rowing machine, a pull-up bar, and a squat rack. This winter, they are focused on strength training with barbells.

“I call it hibernation training. I look forward to it every year because it’s always so cold and it can be difficult to get in high-intensity workouts during January and February,” Amber says. “I always need to know what I’m doing that evening so I can get geared up for it. If I know it’s something I’m not going to like, I can prepare mentally and with what I eat during the day, so there aren’t any surprises.”

Amber and Brad emphasize consistency over metrics. Together they celebrate small victories, like their first 100 kettlebell swings or squatting 315 and 215 respectively on the same evening. 

“Years back, we used to do half-marathons, but now we just want to be fit enough to do things together,” Brad says. “On our anniversary trip in October, we went to Grand Turk and spent every day hiking, paddle-boarding, and snorkeling from the time we woke up to the time we went to bed.”

How They Eat Right and Stay Motivated

Before school and work, the family shares omelets for breakfast. Then each person grabs their color-coordinated lunch box—always full of veggies and chicken—on their way out the door. On Fridays, Brad and Amber take off the afternoons from work to have a weekly date.

“I love the time we’ve built in with each other,” Brad says. “I would never want to pull myself away from the house to be at the gym. I know that works for many people, but we’ve made the home gym work in a sustainable way.”

One of the high points of last year was watching their children, Lawson and Taylor, participate in a Memphis Youth Athletics Cross Country meet for elementary school kids.

“During the summer, when Taylor and Lawson are able to go to bed a little bit later, they come and workout with us. They come up with their own exercise, sketch them out with chalk, and use some of my equipment from work,” Amber says. “We always have lots of fun.”

By India Nikotich