Is There a “Right” Way to Meet People at the Gym?
Did you know that training with another person could increase your fitness success by up to 200%? We know it sounds too good to be true, but that’s exactly what a recent study by the Society of Behavioral Medicine demonstrated—that training with a partner is one of the best things you can do to improve your exercise performance.
For instance, almost every successful fitness journey or body transformation we’ve seen has had one thing in common: a support system of encouraging relationships. It’s quite possibly the most important factor for long-term fitness success for both men and women. Motivation is great to get you started, but it’s a finite resource that typically runs out quickly. Finding something else—or someone—to keep you in the gym and help keep you committed to your fitness regimen is a must! The answer is right in front of you. It’s the people. Whether you know it or not, your gym is full of interesting people. Becoming friends with these men and women could make your experience 500% more enjoyable. (No studies to support this, yet.) Gym friends hold you accountable, provide friendly competition, and make the experience a lot more fun.
That all sounds great, right? But what if you don’t know anyone at your gym? Getting yourself to strike up conversations with new people (like the cute guy or woman you’ve had your eye on), in a new place can be hard—especially if you seem to turn into a little bit of an introvert around your gym crush. We’ve all seen or heard about those awkward gym encounters at the water fountain that feel like a surprise speed-dating session! And you don’t want to be that guy or gal. But in all seriousness, the gym can be a great place for your love life, too. Who knows, you might just find a new relationship with the man or woman of your dreams right there on the gym floor!
So whether you’re working up the courage to talk to your gym crush, or just looking to meet a new fitness friend, here are a few handy rules that both men and women can follow in order to help you approach people in a welcome, unobtrusive way.
How to Meet People (Including Your Gym Crush) at the Gym
- Talk to the staff – The club manager and coaches are your golden ticket to extract insights and information, as well as getting introductions to other members.
- Take advantage of any free personal training or consultations – Even if you know your way around the gym, meeting with one of the most outgoing people in the gym can’t be a bad thing. It’s an easy way to make a friend on day one without awkwardly approaching anyone during your first time in the gym.
- Be consistent – Working out at the same time each day is a great way to become familiar with other people on the same schedule.
- Compliment – There’s nothing bothersome or creepy about liking someone’s shoes. (Though probably lay off her pecs!)
- Smile – Smiling is an introvert’s best friend. A consistent smile has (probably) been proven to bait other gym goers into approaching you. BONUS: make eye contact, too!
- Follow proper gym etiquette – It doesn’t take long to become known as the person who never wipes down that piece of equipment or machine they’re using, talks through the whole yoga class, forgets personal hygiene, or makes other gym goers uncomfortable. Make it a point to be respectful of the gym and its members.
- Engage in some friendly competition – Because sometimes starting a conversation of small talk—especially with your gym crush—can be hard. Asking someone to join in on a partner exercise or even a race on the treadmill is a fun way to break the ice!
- Be confident – It doesn’t matter if you’re approaching your gym crush, or just a possible workout pal, it’s important to be confident—even if you feel a little bit awkward.
- Wear headphones – If you are new to the gym, you want to look approachable. Headphones say “I don’t want to be bothered.”
- Interrupt someone mid-set or during an intense workout – Who wants to talk when they’re out of breath and drenched in sweat in the middle of the weight room? (Hint: the answer is no one.) Oh, and cardio machines like the treadmill and the elliptical are off limits, too—can you say side-ache?
- Be scared or intimidated by group fitness classes – Many times, the loyal group class members are the heartbeat of a gym, and they’re always looking for new recruits. Not to mention, the accountability from 10+ people expecting you to be in class is second to none. If you find yourself on the treadmill alone, it might be time to venture into Team training. Plus, rumor has it, they like to indulge in coffee and happy hour outings every once in a while, too.
- Avoid busy times – Your odds of making friends during peak hours like 5-6 p.m. are exponentially better than 10 p.m. Peak hours will also be the times you’re more likely to run into the “regulars” of the gym, and they typically notice and acknowledge new members.
- Have wandering eyes – Eye contact only people. Remember: the thing about mirrors is, if you can see them, they can see you. Don’t be creepy. And don’t stare.
- Don’t add people on social media before having a conversation – So when you finally learn the cute guy’s name from your Tuesday night spin class, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is look them up online and scroll through their content. (You know it’s true.) Resist the urge to send that friend request—you’ll thank us later.
- Hesitate to ask for help – Be comfortable asking questions and asking for a lending hand. Rarely will you find someone who wouldn’t enjoy showing you how to do an exercise or help you adjust equipment.
Ok, it’s time. Now that you have this information, it’s time to get out there and stretch your comfort zone. Kids make friends easily—and adults can too! Good luck!