From first dates to deadlifts: How does exercising affect our dating lives?

Zing Coach
Medically reviewed
Zing Coach


Published on 

February 1, 2024

Zing Coach surveyed 2,000 people on how exercise has impacted their dating lives. The results show that exercise is often a precursor to love, but only when the passion is shared.

From first dates to deadlifts: How does exercising affect our dating lives?
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Key takeaways

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Key takeaways

  • More than 90% of people believe working out makes us more attractive and the confidence boost it provides has been shown to increase our chances of finding a romantic partner.
  • However, for some, their love for working out makes finding a match difficult. Some 18% say they have canceled a date to exercise, while 29% would consider ending a relationship to focus on sports.
  • But what matters most is that a couple shares similar feelings for fitness. Some 26% have met a partner while working out, while 73% feel exercising together makes a relationship stronger.

We’ve all suffered through a bad date and vowed to finally achieve the slim frame and chiseled body we’ve always dreamed of having. For the most part, a lifestyle change can work wonders — but not necessarily because every potential partner is attracted to a ripped physique or a tiny waist. Mostly, it’s because it’s hard to present our best selves on a date when we don’t feel great in our own skin. Confidence and positivity rank among the three most attractive qualities we look for in a partner. If you feel good about yourself, these qualities come naturally, so hard work in the gym will inevitably pay dividends in the dating scene.

But what if you make exercise your entire personality? That depends. Mutual interests can definitely get the blood pumping, otherwise you may miss your chance before the relationship really gets moving.

Zing Coach surveyed 2,000 people on how exercise has impacted their dating lives. The results show that exercise is often a precursor to love, but only when the passion is shared.

The ultimate workout motivation? Love

Even an hour on the treadmill won’t get the heart pumping quite like meeting that special someone for the first time. Desperate to catch their eye, 53% of us push ourselves in the gym after meeting a new crush.

Why? Because 91% of people believe that being fit makes us more attractive in the dating scene… but it’s all in the mind. Exercising regularly releases a combination of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine — brain chemicals that help to reduce stress and boost wellbeing — and when you feel your best, you’re more likely to make a good impression.

Some 81% of people say they feel more confident getting to know someone when they’re actively following an exercise routine. Confidence can do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to dating, so if your dating life isn’t going to plan, maybe some exercise is all you need.

But why bother working out when you can just fake it? One in 20 have pretended they love breaking a sweat to impress a match, but what do you do when they suggest a strenuous hike for the second date and you can barely keep up?

Deadlifts come first, dating comes second

But exercise doesn’t always enhance the dating experience. In fact, for many, it actively gets in the way. For 18% of people, their love for the gym has forced them to cancel a date in order to get the reps in.

Most can successfully navigate dating, but it’s when things get serious that choices need to be made. Working out requires hard work and dedication, particularly for those involved in sports, leaving little time for romance. For 29%, their love for the game can’t be beaten, and they would consider ending a relationship to focus on sports.

But it isn’t a choice between being in a happy relationship and a healthy body. With 53% of people believing it's important their partner shares their attitude towards sports, you just need to find somebody that shares your love for exercise above all else.

Love and lunges: Mixing exercise and romance

Some 56% of people work out with their romantic partner — taking a step closer towards their fitness goals without worrying whether they’re spending enough time together.

Not only is sharing exercise with a partner healthy, but also hot according to 84% of people. With couples cardio or a shared weightlifting session serving as foreplay, you may even find that working out leads to more exercise later in the evening.

But putting the work in at the gym doesn’t only increase lust in a relationship, but love too. Some 73% of people feel that couples who work out together share a stronger bond. Why? You’re spending quality time together away from smartphones and social media; you’re learning how to communicate, support each other and cooperate; and every rep is releasing feel-good chemicals that stay with you long after you complete a session.

Flirting over fitness: Finding the perfect gym partner

So when you’re searching for a fitness fanatic, where do you look? Their natural environment: the gym. While those wearing headphones and getting on with their workout are best left in the zone, you’re bound to meet people that are single and down to share some equipment. With mutual interests making it that little bit easier to connect, 51% of people enjoy flirting while at the gym.

Before you know it, that mild flirting has turned into an unrivaled gym partnership — You’re spotting them on the weight bench and pushing them through the last mile of their run. With heart rates soaring, it’s no wonder 26% of people have gone on to date someone they met during a workout.

But if you happen to strike up a conversation with someone outside of the gym, best not show them the progress pics too soon. Some 59% of people admit that workout photos on dating app profiles are a red flag that will instantly rule you out of the dating race.

Methodology: To create this study, researchers from Zing Coach surveyed 2,000 people aged over 18. Participants were selected at random and with no focus on particular genders, ethnicities, social backgrounds, or body size and shape.



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