How to make friends at the gym

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Going to the gym is one of the few things we generally enjoy doing alone. Unlike going to a restaurant or the theater, there’s almost no stigma around the idea of ​​exercising alone, probably because it’s something you’re doing for your own health and as a form of self-care.

Ironically, DIY puts you in the perfect position to meet new people. And whether it’s an exercise class, swapping places on the squat rack, or enjoying a post-workout smoothie, the gym is a great place to meet new friends.

Meeting people at the gym means you’re guaranteed to have at least one similar interest, and it also makes it easier to start conversations, because who doesn’t love to complain about how sore their legs are or how much they hate burpees during a particularly difficult session? For many of us, the gym is also a place we visit regularly, often at the same time every day or week, so you’re bound to bump into the same people, making it relatively easy to maintain and develop friendships.

A novelty about gym friendships is that they also provide an opportunity for sober socializing, a sort of novelty for those who always meet up with a friend for drinks or dinner and drinks. Being able to socialize during the week at the gym is a great way to please your inner extrovert without breaking the bank or putting too much pressure on yourself to go out and have a late night out.

Obviously, friendships at the gym are something to be cherished. So we spoke to four women who made friends at the gym about how they met their fitness friends and what makes those relationships special.

Tori and Alice

Friends who met at the gym
Tori and Alice met at an F45 class in 2018.

“I met Tori at an F45 class in 2018,” says 30-year-old Alice. “We made fun of each other at all the exercise stations — mostly because we both sucked at the pull-ups. After that we had coffee and I think we just kept talking – mostly telling stories about our equally disastrous love life and the horrible dates we had.

“Friendship in your 20s is tough. I suddenly found myself miles away from my college friends, my school friends were all married or living with longtime friends, so my closest friends became those I lived with, trained with, or met through work,” adds Alice added.

“Since we met, Tori and I have put the world back together at many brunches and championed each other’s ambitious career dreams. She cheered me across the finish line at the London Marathon, celebrated my 30th birthday with my family and we hope to go on holiday together at the end of the summer.”

tori feels similarly sentimental about her friendship with Alice: “I love Alice’s friendship,” she says. “We are connected by wellness and mental health. We can speak for England, but we can also remain completely silent. It feels very much like a one-way street. We don’t see each other every week, but we both try.”

Lucy, Laura and Natalia

3 women who met at the gym
Natalia, Lucy and Laura met at outdoor fitness classes during lockdown.

“I met Laura and Natalia at group classes in the park [during lockdown] our personal trainer Hannah ran,” says Lucy, who is 23 and from Liverpool. “We talked in the courses, exchanged numbers and did a group chat so that we can train together in the future.

“I love having Laura and Nat because they’re the only friends I see regularly,” adds Lucy.

Nikhita and Emily

Women who met at the gym
Nikhita and Emily met at a CrossFit box in south London.

“Emily and I met at a CrossFit box in Tooting in 2021 because we were both interested in competing,” says Nikhita. “We hit it off so well straight away and realized that we have one thing in common above all: cheering each other on and fighting to get better and stronger, and proud to see each other succeed.

“When you train with someone consistently and really care about their progress, you get to know them on a personal level,” Nikhita continues. “We went to the gym to work out together and left with a best friend who is there in all aspects of our lives. These are the kinds of wins we didn’t expect, but we will never take them for granted.”

Aideen and Hettie

Women who met at the gym
Aideen and Hettie met on the hip thrust machine earlier this year.

“I met Hettie at the gym in January this year,” says 25-year-old Aideen. “I was dreading going back to the gym alone, especially because of the January blues, but I saw Hettie using the hip-thrust machine I wanted to use and I asked her if I could watch her do it .”

“A good conversation started and we clicked straight away, so we made plans to hit the gym together the next night,” she continues. “Five months later, we’re training together between three and five times a week and also hanging out outside of the gym.”

“Having a best friend that you go to the gym with is unique,” says Hettie of her friendship with Aideen. “Aideen isn’t just my friend from the gym, a sideline cheerleader who encourages me to do the extra reps I didn’t think was possible or increase the weight on the next set, we leverage our workouts also, to talk about health and nutritional goals, discharge all our worries of the day and have a heart to heart.”

“No matter how I feel about going to the gym, when I come out of a session with Aideen I feel so relaxed, refreshed and so much happier,” adds Hettie. “There’s no one but Aideen who could get me out of bed for a 6 a.m. workout.”

Images: Tori Porter, Nikhita Kumaros, Lucy Greeves, Aideen Sweeney

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