Let’s face it, the gym isn’t the most straightforward place to strike up a conversation with anyone, let alone someone you may be interested in or your ‘gym crush’. There’s sweatiness, tight time frames and insecurities all boiled into one, making it difficult to know the best way to start a conversation with someone during your workout.
So, what’s the best way to start talking to someone at the gym?
The best way to start talking to someone at the gym is to start by giving them the occasional glance + smile and see if they reciprocate. If this dynamic is sustained over several workouts, approach them respectfully and simply start a short conversation in a genuine way.
From there, you can start to slowly build a relationship if you receive the right signals but you need to proceed with caution.
From what I’ve observed, pick up lines, being too forward or overly persistent are not good ways to start getting to know someone at the gym, instead, they only lead to complaints.
There are certainly some nuisances around how to get to know someone from scratch at the gym, which we will be unpacking today.
How to Start a Conversation with Someone at the Gym
There are many reasons why we might want to talk to someone at the gym – whether it’s simply for friendship, asking for training advice or pursuing romantic interest.
Whatever the reason, it’s very important to understand that the gym serves many different purposes for different people. For many of us, the gym is a great place to meet new people and socialise, but for others, it may be the only time that person gets some time in the day to themselves.
There are also other factors that come into play – they may also be on a tight time frame, already have a partner or even feel insecure and lack confidence in the gym environment, meaning that if you want to start a conversation with someone, you’ll need to proceed with caution and the upmost respect.
Before you get the chance to have an extended conversation with someone at the gym, you’ll need to patiently lay some groundwork and see if it is reciprocated before you make any bold moves to avoid creating unwanted attention or customer complaints.
Understand their Vibe
So, for whatever reason, you want to start talking to a particular person at the gym. Before you run up to them and say g’day, it’s important to subtly observe them and get to know their vibe.
Are they wearing headphones? Do they talk to anyone else at the gym? Do they beam with confidence or tend to stick to themselves? Are they in a rush or do they take their time? Are they glued to their phone or never look at it?
Observing their behaviour through quick glances in a subtle (not creepy) way, as well as seeing how they interact with other people in the gym can give you an indication as to whether they are the type of person that would be keen to have a conversation.
For instance, if they always wear headphones, never look or talk to at anyone else and always seem to be in a hurry, they may not be the best person to chat with.
Conversely, if they take their headphones off regularly (or don’t have them), take their time and chat to other gym goers/ staff members and help spot others on their exercises, they could be good to talk to in the future.
Start to Lay Some Groundwork
If they seem like the type of person that would be interested in a conversation, you can start to lay some groundwork. This might involve smiling at the person when you walk past. Or it might be trying to catch a mutual glance in the gym mirrors, followed by a friendly nod. This might take several workouts over several weeks to establish.
From here, you can usually start to pick up whether someone is interested or not. If they don’t smile back or quickly evert their attention away from you more than a couple of times, it’s probably best not to proceed.
However, if they reciprocate and give you good vibes, this could be a sign that they’d be happy to talk with you. It’s important to note – especially if you are romantically interested in someone at the gym – that just because someone is friendly doesn’t mean that they’re keen on you too.
Strike up an Initial Short Conversation
Once you have shared a few mutual smiles or nods, you might like to try striking up an initial short conversation.
Many people like to give advice on the best pick up lines or conversation starters, but in our opinion, the best way to start a conversation is to be yourself and be genuine, as this will make you (and the other person) feel most comfortable.
Before you approach them, it’s important to catch them at the right time, not during a set or when they are fatigued. It’s also very important that you do not corner them or greet them in a confined area of the gym floor.
From here, probably the easiest way to start is just to ask them how their workout is going – you don’t need to overcomplicate it. Or, if you want advice, simply ask them your question.
Keep the first conversation short – don’t drag it out. The fact that the two of you have spoken, no matter how brief, is a lot of progress and will make it a lot easier to talk next time.
After the conversation, reflect on how it went. Were they eager to get back to their workout? Did the conversation feel relaxed or forced? Did you get the advice you were looking for? From here, you can decide how to proceed.
Build the Rapport
Getting to know someone at the gym can take time, up to several weeks or even months if you don’t workout at the same time very regularly.
Just be patient and take small steps – one small conversation at a time. You will know pretty quickly if the relationship or friendship is progressing. It should feel easier and more comfortable over time.
Best Gyms for Getting to Know Others
If you’re keen to get to know other people or even find a romantic partner, there are some gym environments that are far better suited than others.
For example, large group fitness environments such as F45 Training, OrangeTheory Fitness or CrossFit require participants to workout with or alongside each other over several stations and exercises.
There is a dynamic of collective effort, ‘in it together’ and there are constantly high 5’s and encouragement. In my experience, this is a much better place to get to know other people than your typical commercial gym such as Anytime or Snap Fitness, where people tend to keep to themselves.
Common Mistakes People Make when Trying to Talk to Someone at the Gym
Below are some of the most common mistakes I’ve observed as a fitness coach and long time gym goer myself. They’re not only awkward for the people involved, but also for other gym goers, and don’t make the gym a very friendly atmosphere for anyone.
Avoid them at all costs.
Not Laying any Groundwork
Walking straight up to someone without any sort of groundwork is more than often going to cause some tension. Even small smiles or mutual glances go a long way before striking up that initial conversations.
Cornering someone or not giving them space when you talk to them can be very confronting. Have a relaxed stance, cautious approach and certainly don’t stand over the other person.
More often than not, people don’t appreciate random compliments from strangers, especially in a gym environment which can be a place where people can feel self conscious and still trying to find their confidence.
Not Getting the Hint
The old saying ‘keep persisting’ doesn’t stand true when it comes to talking to someone at the gym. If you’re not getting a good feeling from the other person, don’t keep trying.
It goes without saying, but there is a fine line between a quick glance to try and attain a mutual smile, and repeatedly staring at someone to try and get their attention. Keep looks brief and irregular so you don’t make anyone feel umcomfortable.