These Are The Best Workouts For Making Friends

There's a moment in group fitness classes that makes most introverts cringe: The instructor asks you to high-five the stranger next to you, and you suddenly revert back to middle school when you had to pick a partner for a science project, and you want to disappear. For as enjoyable as group workouts can be, sometimes the camaraderie can be awkward. (There's a whole Forever 35 podcast about this exact feeling that you should listen to.)

If this sounds like you, the thing to remember is that during pretty much any workout, everyone is focused on their own stuff. So, while it feels like everyone is judging your workout clothes or plank form, that is so not the case — they are probably worried about their own leggings and core muscles. When you're able to strip away that self-consciousness, workouts are an easy and even enjoyable way to meet people.

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But not everyone at the gym is "there to make friends," so to speak, and some workouts are more social than others by nature. Whether you're an introvert or social butterfly, these are the workouts and classes you should try next if you want to make a new fitness buddy — or just feel like less of a wallflower. Who knows? You may like it so much you become a regular.

illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Surf Yoga Beer

The name of this class is slightly misleading, because there's not always yoga or beer involved, but it's meant to represent the overall vibe and culture of the class. Started by Mantas Zvinas, a SoulCycle instructor, Surf Yoga Beer is a mini fitness retreat that takes place in beachy locations all around the globe, and they also host classes in New York City. During the bootcamp-style workout, you'll do several partner exercises, and are encouraged to learn people's names and connect in some way.
illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Boxing

Nothing feels quite as cathartic as putting on a pair of boxing gloves and hitting a bag. And although some people are intense and in the zone while boxing, lots of group classes involve teaming up with another person and doing "mitt drills," in which one partner wears mitts and the other person punches their hands. It is a-okay to go to one of these classes alone, and you could hit (get it?) it off with someone.
illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
SoulCycle

The dark room, loud music, and stationary bikes might not immediately strike you as a "social" environment, but SoulCycle has some of the most committed fans out there. Soul aficionados tend to flock to certain instructors, and you might notice that the same people show up at your fave's class. Follow those instructors on social media, and see if there are meetups that you can tag along to, and trust that they want you to be part of it.
illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is a social sport by nature, because it requires working with other people and communicating constantly. Even if you're a newbie, you can look into trying a beginner class at your local climbing gym. There are even some women-only climbing groups that meet regularly and might make you feel more welcome. And eventually you might want to test your skills in the open air by going on a climbing trip.
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illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Swerve Fitness

Friendly competition is the name of the game at this indoor cycling class. For 45 minutes, you "race" against another "team" of riders in the class. Some cycling classes have you race against individual riders in the class, like Flywheel, which can feel weird, but at Swerve everyone is on a team.
illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Running Clubs

It's almost fall, which means that lots more people are going to be running outdoors. See if there's a group that you can run with (we compiled some New York City-based running clubs and workouts here). They might inspire you to sign up for a race, or at the very least keep you accountable to your weekly workouts.
illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Dance Cardio

You're supposed to look dumb during a dance cardio class, that's what makes it fun! If you used to be a dancer and are looking for a low-key (and fun) way to flex your skills, then you'll dig dance cardio. Most classes, like 305 Fitness, involve simple choreography that's like wedding dancing, only sillier. And a dance cardio workout is way more conducive to friendships than shaking it at the club.
illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
CrossFit

Start a conversation with anyone who does CrossFit, and they'll probably talk about their peers as much as they do their PRs. Despite its intense, tough-guy reputation, CrossFit is all about community and building other up. It's cultish, but in a good way. Plus, if you're a mom, some CrossFit boxes even host postnatal classes that let you bring your baby!
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