So say you’ve been reading all of our Best Fit Friends Week posts and stories and you just keep thinking, “Aw, man. I need a fit friend! FBGs, help me!” Well, today’s post on how to make new friends is for you! Making new fit friends doesn’t have to be hard, but you do have to know where to look. So if you’re looking to make a new BFF (best fit friend), read on for 13 places you can meet ’em!
13 Best Places to Make New Friends That Are Fit
1. Group exercise class. No matter if it’s Zumba, bootcamp or yoga, hit up a new group exercise class in your area, and then don’t be shy to introduce yourself to others and ask if they have any tips for your first class. Usually people in class are happy to show a newbie the ropes, and you certainly have something fit to talk about! Afterwards, be sure to tell them thanks and ask if they’re a regular. If they are and you like them (of course), go back to the class to keep getting to know each other!
2. Running or walking groups. Whether it’s through a local running store, gym or a community group, a running or walking group is a great place to make new friends. Introduce yourself, encourage others and see if the group wants to go out for a healthy smoothie after your workout!
3. Active volunteering. Don’t limit yourself to just finding new friends at traditional workouts. There are tons of active volunteering options — walking dogs at your local animal shelter, building a house for Habitat for Humanity or even volunteering to hand out water or handle registration at a 5K — that are a great way to be active, do good in the world and be introduced to people who are interested in the same things you are!
4. Adult sports leagues. Softball, dodgeball, volleyball, tennis, kickball, soccer — the list of adult sports league options goes on and on. Find one that interests you and sign up. Fit friendships await!
5. Gym. While we’re not one to recommend meeting new people by correcting their form, we do think the gym is a great place to make new friends. The key is doing it when it’s appropriate. Some people aren’t into being chatty when they’re working out, so try to strike up a convo at your gym’s smoothie bar or drinking fountain. If you see a possible fit friend doing an awesome workout, ask her if she’d mind sharing it with you. You could get a new friend and a great new workout!
6. Skill-based classes. Remember how it was super easy to make new friends when you were in school? Well, that’s the idea here. When you’re learning something new, it’s easy to strike up a conversation, encourage someone else or ask for help. Not sure what type of a skill-based class to try for a fit friend? Consider a healthy cooking class or nutrition seminar (most Whole Foods have these), tai chi, ballroom dancing or even photography. Pretty much any health-related or on-your-feet and active option is good!
7. Athletic apparel stores. Did you know that stores like Athleta and Luluelmon offer free workout classes, group runs and other fun events? True story! (I just did a book signing and workout there last month!) Hit those up, and see if you can make a new fit friend. Oh, and don’t count out the instructor or the store staff as fit friends, too. Friendships abound!
8. Online. There are some specific websites out there (Meetup, Girlfriend Social) for making friendships, but we know first hand that Twitter and Facebook are also great for making new fit friends. Just put a call out on your chosen social site that you’re looking to try some new workouts and wonder if anyone has any suggestions (themselves or someone they know). From there, ask if you can join them on a workout. Boom! Fit friend!
9. Grocery store. This one may sound silly, but the grocery store can be a place to make new friends! All it takes is you starting a conversation with someone with similar healthy interests. If you’re lost in the organic baking aisle, ask someone who looks like she knows what she’s doing for her opinion. Or ask an employee in the produce section for tips on how to cook that new funky veggie you saw. Yes, this one might be a bit of a crapshoot, but you never know when you might hit it off with a new fit friend. (And even if you don’t, hey, you’re working on your conversational skills and might even get a new recipe out of it!)
10. Races and fit events. Check out races and wellness/fitness conventions in your area. A lot of times people will go in groups to these, but there are always a few people rolling solo, too. Don’t be afraid to befriend one. She’d probably love the company!
11. Start a fit group of your own. Who says you have to join someone else’s fit thing? Start a workout or healthy eating group all your own. Pull from your contacts at work, family, friends, friends of friends, neighbors … everyone. Let them help you to spread the word that you’re looking to start something. You might be surprised who’s interested — heck, even your current friends could be looking to start healthier habits, but weren’t sure how to begin!
12. Cultural events. Get cultured! Hit up a lecture, art opening, food festival, concert — whatever is going on in your ‘hood. Then, be friendly! These may not be “fit” events, but if you see someone in athletic shoes or fast sunglasses, it could be a sign that they’re into what you’re into.
13. This post! Still too shy to reach out? Get a new fit friend right here by leaving a comment! Say what area you live in and what your fitness goals are. You never know who might comment back! (And if you and another FBG reader agree to swap contact info, just shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can do an email intro so that your email address isn’t out there for the world to see!)
Do you have a fit friend? Where did you meet him or her? —Jenn