How Travel, Stress and Adventure Brought This Couple Closer Together
Celebrated entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously opined that each of us is the average of the five people we spend most time with, so it makes sense to keep good company. While gravitating towards positive people who push us to be our best, it's also important to be encouraging influences on our own family members, partners and friends. CrossFit coaches Larissa Hon and Taylor Rank know this. The married couple work together, and are one another's biggest cheerleaders. They help each other reach their fitness, nutritional, career and life goals, and are two of the happiest individuals we've ever met on a Chōsen experience.
Please tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Larissa Hon: I’m originally from Hong Kong. I moved back to the city to work in public relations and marketing after graduating from university in Canada. Shortly after starting my new job, I realized that I was passionate about fitness, so I started coaching at a bootcamp called BikiniFit, and also took up CrossFit, which led me to Taylor. We now live in Dubai working as CrossFit coaches at the CrossFit Allioth fitness facility.Taylor Rank: After graduating from university in 2009, I immediately began a career in strength and conditioning at Oregon State University, working with collegiate student athletes. After nearly a year, I accepted a graduate assistant coaching position at Washington State University, where I worked until the summer of 2011, before moving abroad. I’m American but I have been living outside the United States for nearly six years now. My journey abroad started in Seoul, South Korea, where I stayed for three years before moving to Hong Kong. I lived in Hong Kong for exactly a year, during which I met my wife, Larissa. I now call Dubai home and have been there since July 2014.
What attracted you to each other?
Larissa: Taylor’s constant drive to become a better version of himself is what I found – and still find – most attractive about him. His beard is pretty awesome, too. He has never failed to make me laugh and “laughter is the closest distance between two people.” He makes me want to become the best version of me, for him.Taylor: The first thing I noticed about Larissa, when I first laid eyes on her, was her smile. It’s as radiant today as it has ever been and it truly brings joy to my heart. Besides her obvious beauty, she is one of the most sincere, caring and genuine people I have ever met. She takes care of me and is always there to support me and keep my head on straight in the best and the worst of times.
What's your definition of a healthy and happy relationship, and what do you do to create such a relationship?
Larissa: We support each other on many levels. In the gym, we encourage each other to push through mental and physical boundaries, get that extra rep, squat an extra kilo. At home, he is my confidant, my best friend, my rock and my shoulder to cry on. We create a household of love and support, and that is key to a healthy and happy relationship.Taylor: I find it difficult to define a healthy and happy relationship, simply because every relationship is different. For Larissa and me, I think it is our willingness to put one another before ourselves that creates the environment for our happiness. I also know that I can trust and confide in her completely, and that no matter the situation, she will always be there to support me. I believe wholeheartedly that one day everyone will find that someone whose happiness we will put before our own. If that individual does the same in return, that will be a truly healthy and happy relationship for both parties.
Fitness is a big part of your life. How do you balance work and play?
Larissa: CrossFit is our hobby and we work in a CrossFit gym, so work equals play. Fitness is an integral part of our lives, and that’s why it works so well for us. When we train together at the gym, it’s our playtime. We always find ways to make really tough workouts fun, and we cheer each other on.I also love cooking, but I rarely get to cook these days because I’m rarely home. On my ideal date night, for which we set aside one evening a week, we go grocery shopping and pick out groceries together, and I cook up a healthy meal. The kitchen is my playground and this is my playtime.Taylor: I am one of those lucky individuals who does what he loves for a living. I was once told, “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” That said, my profession is fitness, and my main hobby is competitive fitness and working out, so I try to apply the principles of a fit lifestyle in all aspects of my life. What stops me becoming overwhelmed or burnt out are my hobbies outside of the gym. When we are able, my wife and I, often with friends, try to get to the beach or head out to see a movie. I enjoy reading fiction and listening to podcasts. If I'm not in the gym or working, I rarely turn my attention to fitness. Too much of anything is never a good thing.
How do you manage both to grow as individuals and as a couple?
Larissa: We communicate our goals to each other. That way, we support each other to achieve our individual goals and the goals that we share. Taylor is a competitive athlete and spends time either training or doing ROM WOD (it’s actually yin yoga, but CrossFitters like bad ass names, so “Range of Motion” WOD it is), or mobilizing in order to recover well for his next training session. I train with him every day, even though he always beats me in workouts (only if it’s a GHD sit-up and burpee workout would I have a chance). I support him by training and recovering with him, and giving him massages.I am a big geek and love to learn. He supports me by letting me study. I am currently finishing up an integrative nutrition course and looking to do another degree after that. He knows it’s what makes me happy, so he gives me time and support to do the things that enrich me.Taylor: The thing I believe to have strengthened our relationship the most is travel. I once heard someone say, “You really find out how much you like someone when you travel or live with that person.” Throughout our relationship, Larissa and I have taken some incredible journeys to different countries. We have also had some very stressful times on our journeys, but stress, confusion, anger and other emotions that could tear a couple apart just brought us closer together. I think many couples would benefit from getting out of their comfort zones, exploring new places and, every once in a while, just getting lost together. True experiences happen outside your comfort zone.As far as growing as individuals: as much as we don't like it, we do understand that time apart is important. Luckily, occasionally we have travel obligations that take us away from each other for a week or so. I always miss her but know that time apart will ultimately make our relationship even stronger. Oh, and of course the occasional bro night and ladies’ evenings are a wonderful tool.
What have been the biggest learning curves in your relationship?
Larissa: We are always evolving as individuals and as a couple, so we are constantly learning about each other. I have always been an easily agitated person, and Taylor has been my rock, never falters and always manages to calm me down. Learning not to unleash my inner fury has been the biggest lesson for me, and I am still learning every day.Taylor: Larissa and I meshed incredibly well since our first days together. As with any relationship, you learn things about each other on the way, and we are no different.
Do you share certain times of the day together?
Larissa: Though we work in the same gym, we don’t take each other for granted and usually spend our nights at home with our two cats, Bruce and Grayson. We also have one date night each week, as mentioned, which we dedicate to quality time together.Taylor: Some couples might think differently, but I am very grateful that I get to be around my significant other everyday. As athletes, we typically train at about 11am on training days. We usually spend 30 minutes or so before that just having coffee and chatting about things, hashing out thoughts and issues. Also, one night a week we try to make it date night, which can range from going out for a nice dinner, the beach, floating, a massage or simply hanging out on the couch with our little badass cats.
How do you ensure your own cups are half full before taking care of one another?
Larissa: I know that if I take care of myself, I will have the love and energy to take care of others. Energy is contagious. If I were tired and grumpy all the time, Taylor would feel drained as well. I make sure to do one thing for myself everyday: anything from a 20-minute yoga session to breathing and meditation for five minutes.Taylor: I wouldn't say it’s really necessary for me to take care of myself before I take care of her. I honestly consider the two to be virtually the same. While Larissa and I depend on one another, we’re also very independent in many ways. She knows that I have certain things that help me unwind, stay focused and de-stress, and she allows me to do those things (watch rugby, have the occasional shot of whiskey, bro-out with the guys for an evening), and I allow her to do similar things.
What were the biggest takeaways from your Chōsen experiences, and would you recommend such retreats to other couples?
Larissa: Going through the seven-day experience with Taylor was one of the best weeks of my life. Not only did I face one of my biggest fears, heights, with him by my side (we rappelled down waterfalls and jumped off cliffs), we also learned so much about each other and became closer. Not only did the Chōsen experience in Bali exceed my expectations, I came back from it feeling like a new woman.I’d highly recommend it to couples wanting a week of rejuvenation and self-discovery, or a healthy vacation. The experiences will leave you feeling confident and refreshed to face any challenges that lie ahead.Taylor: I have two distinct memories of my Chōsen experience. The first is that it showed me how incredibly brave and courageous my wife is. She was so uncomfortable, scared, nervous and sometimes downright afraid while attending in Bali. However, on every occasion she triumphed over the adversity, doubt or fear that had been an obstacle for her. She revealed so much about herself to me, and that truly was because of the unique environment the Chōsen experience provides.Secondly, the participants. Such a wide variety of people attended, from different places, vastly different backgrounds, of varying ethnicities, nationalities, religions, beliefs, the list goes on and on. I believe there is something to be learned from every individual that crosses your path, and the knowledge gained and the lessons I learned from the participants is by far the biggest takeaway from my Chōsen experiences. I would absolutely recommend this not only for couples, but for anyone – especially those who want something new, or are looking for something they can’t seem to find, or simply want to be pampered, in a not so usual way, in a luxurious and exotic environment. The experience is truly one of a kind. You really have to see for yourself.Taylor Rank is one of our Chōsen experts who will train you and push you to excel during our week-long curated experiences. Meet our other Chōsen experts here!