5 Ways To Build Community in the Gym

5 Ways To Build Community in the Gym

clock-circular-outlinePosted 23 Aug 2023

Human beings are an inherently social species. We frequently gather in groups to chill out, be merry, and, for some, compete in team-based sports. Even individual sporting events such as CrossFit hold a certain social flare, which goes on to echo the many reasons why building a social community as a gym-goer is important. 

An infamous individual once said, "There's strength in numbers," and that cannot be a more prominent truth for those of us keen on exercise. Think about it. How often have you been pushed for a few more reps by a fellow lifter? How many times have you subconsciously tried to keep up or even outpace the runner on the treadmill next to you? Plenty – we bet.

As you see, aside from building mass and confidence, the gym can be a fantastic hub for you to build a community, one that aligns with your values and pushes you to go that extra figurative mile.

Benefits of Building a Community in the Gym

The journey to attaining your fitness goals is not only physically demanding but mentally uplifting when done amongst a thriving gym community. Your new network of like-minded gym bros will bolster your confidence and provide you with the same drive that helped eight-time-Mr Olympia winner, Arnold, reach his prime.

Below are just a few of the many benefits that come from building and being a part of a gym community.

  • Accountability

  • An Opportunity To Grow

  • Competition

  • Real Talk


When you have someone who expects you to show up, you are more likely to stay motivated and consistent with your workouts.

An opportunity to grow

A friend in the gym isn't just for meaningful conversations between reps. A gym friend gives you tips, tricks, and constructive criticism based on your workouts, helping make sure you reap all the benefits from the exercise you're doing. 


Many of us look up to a certain individual's physique, be it The Rock, Tom Daley, Ronda Rousey, or Stretch Armstrong. Though you may not be lucky enough to work out with any of the above, there are often members of your gym that have their own enlightening fitness journeys that will inspire you and motivate you to persist with your routine. 


Who says a friendly bit of sporting comradery should be limited to a pitch or court? Working out with someone who is further along in their fitness journey can prompt you to be more competitive and motivate you to work out harder – 200% harder, actually, according to researchers at Kansas State University.

Real Talk

Talking about mental health is difficult for some, particularly for men and those who don't have a close-knit community around them. Building community at the gym can help give you the safe space you need to talk openly about your feelings, reminding you that you are never alone in your battle.

If our word isn't good enough, then how about we get a little scientific? One study found that 95% of people who decided to go on a weight loss journey with a buddy were over 40% more likely to reach their goals than if they were to do it alone.

If you'd like more support with your mental health, see our Deload Hub.

Building Friendships At The Gym

Despite outlining the benefits of being part of a community at your gym, this question may still linger at the front of your mind: "How to make friends at the gym."

Below are words of wisdom based on just that – how you can embrace the gym community and build friendships through your shared passion for all things conditioning.

Getting Social

First things first, getting social doesn't mean going out of your way to obnoxiously force yourself into becoming best friends with everyone. It means simply to get social, as you would in a bar, party, or your first day at a new job.

If you struggle with social anxieties, then starting with a friendly smile and hello can go a long way. Over time, these friendly gestures build up a bond of trust between you and the individual(s) you're greeting, streamlining your way into full-blown conversations. 

But as with everything in life, getting social in the gym comes with its own set of formalities that can help set you up for success:

Introduce Yourself

If you see someone regularly in the gym, don't be afraid to introduce yourself and strike up a conversation about their workouts. You never know; their fitness journey may align with yours allowing you to work together for a common goal, pushing each other every step of the way.

Be Respectful

When you are interacting with others in the gym, be respectful of their time, space, and equipment. Not everyone is there for a chat or catch-up, and recognizing this is important.

Try not to interrupt someone who is in the middle of a set, don't hog a machine or bench for too long, and don't leave your weights or sweat on the floor.

And, for the love of humanity, don't stare or make inappropriate remarks to anyone, please.

Be Helpful

If you see someone who needs help with something in the gym, offer your two cents. You can help them spot a lift, adjust a machine, or correct their form. Of course, don't be pushy or arrogant about it – you don't want to look like the token know-it-all. Ask for permission first, and give them constructive feedback if they ask for it. You never know, you might learn something from them too.

The gym floor often isn't a place people choose to converse, and if striking up a conversation with someone at the gym is too difficult, then you can try and go out of your way to put yourself in more social situations.

For instance, you can try booking a class at the gym where natural camaraderie and teamwork can help unite the group toward a common goal. Alternatively, you can ask the reception if the gym has a particular group chat you can join to get to know members.

Buddy Up

One of the most effective ways to start building your gym community is to buddy up with someone who has similar goals, interests, and schedules as you. Having a workout buddy can make your gym sessions more fun: You can challenge each other to reach new heights, grow bigger legs, rely on one another to execute trickier lifts, and save some change on petrol if you take turns driving to the gym.

The easiest way to find a gym buddy is by asking one of your friends, family members, or co-workers. They don't have to be the same size and shape as you, just as long as they're motivated and dedicated to the gym.

Alternatively, you can put the above tips to use and ask an existing gym member if they'd you could join them for a session one day. Our favorite way to start a buddy-up conversation? Go to the gym on a busy day and ask someone if you can share a machine with them in between reps. You'd be surprised how keen people are to share their passion for fitness if you just ask.

Ask for A Spot

Asking for a spot isn't by any means embarrassing. It's a way to make sure that your attempt at a new personal best won't result in a trip over to the emergency room. However, as much as we all value safety, we like to appreciate the other benefits that asking for a spot holds for us when building a gym community. 

Asking for a spot helps create a moment of shared purpose, a moment that demonstrates the trust you hold in the stranger, which can leave you both open to further conversation, be it about your form or your plans for the weekend.

Find An Influencer

We live in a day and age where most people are able to share pretty much every aspect of their lives online. Where some have decided to use the internet to share viral dances, others have used it to create a fitness hub, sharing their own fitness journey along the way with the hope of inspiring others to better themselves.

If a gym or fitness influencer happens to train at your gym frequently, don't shy away from striking up a conversation with them, be it in person or through their social media.

Fitness influencers are often more than happy to share their wisdom and offer valuable insight, thereby serving as an approachable role model within your gym community. They may even host certain community events that can act as a gateway to your newfound friendships in the gym.

Extracurricular Activities

The gym community you build doesn't have to be limited to the workout floor. A lot of gyms organize extracurricular activities, both fitness and non-fitness-related.

Whether it's a yoga class you fancy joining, a paddleboard outing in the sunshine, or a group trip to your local axe-throwing establishment, an extracurricular activity will help strengthen those bonds within your gym community, allowing you to take your friendship beyond the gym's walls.

Good Tribes Bring Good Vibes

In the realm of fitness, building your fitness tribe isn't about joining a cult, but more so about cultivating mental fortitude and forging friendships with others who share your passion.

So, the next time you step into the gym, remember that it's not just a place to lift weights or run on treadmills—it's a community that thrives on shared goals.

. . .

Hassan is a word-savvy clinical pharmacist turned health content marketing writer. He combines his medical knowledge, admiration of all things fitness, and weird obsession of dystopian novels to shine a creative light on the necessities to longevity. More of his written work can be found here. . . .


1. Wing RR, Jeffery RW. Benefits of recruiting participants with friends and increasing social support for weight loss and maintenance. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1999 Feb;67(1):132-8. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.67.1.132. PMID: 10028217.

  1. Kansas State University. (2012, November). 

    Burning more calories is easier when working out with someone you perceive as better. Burning More Calories Is Easier When Working Out with Someone You Perceive as Better. https://www.newswise.com/articles/burning-more-calories-is-easier-when-working-out-with-someone-you-perceive-as-better

Hassan ThwainiBy Hassan Thwaini