Finding Romance in the Gym

By Rebekah Smith – October 1, 2022
Landon and Adrien Adams

Did you know one of the next best ways to find love may not be through dating apps but rather at the gym? 

Of course, using the gym only for finding romance can be off-putting for gym members. But, if you’re truly looking for love, how can you take advantage of the spaces you’re already in without coming off as “creepy”? 

Kristal DeSantis, LMFT is a marriage and family therapist at Austin STRONG: Relationship Building Center. She says creating organic friendships is necessary for long-term success.

“If you’re walking in, scoping people out and using (the gym) as your personal dating pool, you’re doing it wrong,” DeSantis says. “Are you contributing to an environment that feels friendly? Or are you going in there trying to get a date?”

DeSantis says the elements of any healthy relationship can be expressed through the acronym STRONG, which stands for safety, trust, respect, openness, nurturing and generosity. With safety being the foundation, DeSantis says people should express friendliness over forcefulness at the gym and avoid being friendly only to those they find attractive. 

But these concepts aren’t all just talk; real people live them out, too. 

Adrien and Landon selfie.

Austin-based couple Landon and Adrien Adams met at Cedar Park 24-Hour Fitness where Adrien was Landon’s client before they ended their client-trainer relationship to begin dating. They’ve been together for 16 years and have been coaching partners for 12. Today, they co-own CrossFit Round Rock.

The Adamses agree that creating space for relationships to organically grow, especially in a gym environment, is an important step in finding love. Both Adamses recommend joining group fitness classes, such as CrossFit, cycling or boot camps, as they’re more natural ways to build relationships.

“(A romantic relationship) has a better chance to make it if it’s organic — if it’s a slow play, not forced and happens casually over X amount of time,” Landon says.

According to DeSantis, the other STRONG elements can also reflect relationships cultivated in the gym. For instance, trust can be expressed by allowing your partner to spot you on a lift.

Moreover, having respect for someone and their boundaries can include giving your partner space to exercise independently. For the Adamses, respecting each other’s boundaries meant that though Adrien is a coach at heart, she learned to adapt to Landon’s need for a cheerleader when he trained for CrossFit competitions.

Adrien and Landon with friends.

“I knew how bad he wanted to compete,” Adrien says. “So if I would see a movement or something I could help with, I would try to help and it just did not go well.”

Openness is also necessary to care for others. DeSantis says checking each other’s form, teaching each other fitness tactics and challenging each other in the gym helps people form deep bonds. 

Additionally, expressing nurture by physically and verbally caring for your partner provides you an opportunity to understand their needs. Landon encourages potential and current gym couples to learn how to communicate with each other, avoid triggers, encourage each other and learn their partner’s love language to better care for them inside and outside of the gym. 

Finally, DeSantis says generosity is important for ensuring you’re both getting what you need out of the relationship. 

“Start with self-love and give yourself the gift of community,” DeSantis says. “Having a healthy relationship with your body will lead to healthy relationships with other people.”

Adrien spotting Landon on lift.

As the Adamses’ lives have changed with now having a 4-year-old daughter, Landon and Adrien’s needs have also changed. For example, Adrien prefers alone time with her daughter, while Landon enjoys spending time with friends every once in a while. Because the couple already supports each other in their work and fitness goals, they can better provide support and space for self-care and family.

If you’re building your relationship in the gym, you’re already a step ahead. Landon says a major benefit of dating another gym-lover is the accountability it creates.

“You already have a major lifestyle characteristic in common,” Landon says. “You’ve got two people fighting the same battle.”

By already being someone who regularly attends the gym, DeSantis says this communicates that you’re a stable person. The Adamses agree that meeting in the gym and working out together is one of the most solid foundations for a long-term relationship and healthy life. Each person in the relationship understands how important their own fitness goals are. 

“As you get older, there are so many things that pull you away from all the things you do for yourself,” Adrien says. “When a relationship starts on the foundation of putting your health and wellness first, the odds of the relationship being pretty solid is higher.”


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