7 Tips For Gay Men When Choosing a Gym Buddy

two guys at gym

Gym Buddy Tips

I know what you’re thinking – a gym partner is a gym partner. Why do gay men need a specific set of tips for finding another person to buddy up with for workouts?

All I can tell you is that I’ve gone through my own journey in this area – much of it by trial and error. I’ve discovered that it really is important to pick the right person and for the right reasons when it comes to choosing a gym-mate.

In this brief article, I’m going to share with you 7 suggestions designed to help you save time and maximize your efforts.

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Included in most of my tips, I’ll disclosed several of my own mistakes, which helps to inform all that you will read.

And yes, some of what appears below applies to straight folks too.

OK, let’s jump right in!

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1. Make sure they are gay or gay friendly

When you go looking for a gym partner, it’s important to pair up with someone who is either gay or gay friendly. I say this because several years ago, I didn’t screen properly when I hung up a note on my gym’s bulletin board that simply read:

Looking for gym buddy. Weeknights. Call xxx.xxx.xxxx

A day or so after pinning up the message, I got a call from a guy who was interested. As we started talking, he seemed like he might be a good fit.

And then he wasn’t.

During our first workout, we began with cardio. About 15-minutes into it, he started talking about the girls we saw doing stretches and how he wanted to “tap that”.

When I told him that I was gay, his entire energy changed. I’m not saying he was a homophobe or anything. But I do think that it made him uncomfortable.

On our next scheduled workout, he cancelled. And the one after that? Yep, he did it again.

So it’s like this – when you go searching for a gym partner, try to feel out if the person is cool with gay folks. If they aren’t don’t waste your time. That’s because at some point, the conversation will turn personal.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have posted something on Craig’s List or used an app like Gym Comrade and simply indicate in some way that I was gay.

Sure saves a lot of time.

2. Don’t choose based on looks

I realize this may seem shallow and vapid but it needs to be said. Don’t pick your gym buddy because he’s freaking hot. Sure, it helps to have eye candy as a motivator when you’re working out. I get it.

But if you’re choosing the person based on looks, what are you really seeking for – a gym-mate or a boyfriend?

When I first started lifting, I made the mistake of picking a super-hot guy and excluded all of the other “average” looking men (like me).

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The end result was a giant crush on a guy who needed to be worshiped and was seriously out of my league.

I’m not saying the dude can’t be attractive. But what I am saying is don’t toss out folks who seriously want a gym partner because they aren’t “hot”.

One of the best lifting buddies I ever had was also one of the least attractive men I’ve ever met. The reason it worked for us is because our goals were the same – weight loss and muscle gain.

Enough said.

3. Make sure he’s motivated  

One of the things you will want to assess when shopping for a gym partner is the person’s motivation level. In other words, find out if they are just thinking a gym bud or do they really want one.

I can’t tell you how many “buddies” I went through during my search. That’s because they held the false hope that by having a gym-mate, it would magically make them show up for a workout. In truth, they lacked the proper motivation to get their butt to the gym.

I’ve learned to ask the following questions, which in turn ferreted out the time wasters.

  • Do you foresee any barriers to our meeting x number of times a week from 7pm until 8:30pm?
  • Do you drive to the gym? Parking can suck at night. Is the time we’ve picked still good for you?
  • What are your goals for working out?

There’s nothing wrong with asking questions. After all, this is a person you will be spending time with on a regular basis.  Don’t you want to know if they’ll show up?

4. Don’t pick a novice

At one time, all of us were newbies so please don’t think I’m trying to diss here. That’s not why I’m making this suggestion.

You see, part of what makes a good gym partner is the person’s ability to teach. Specifically, I’m talking about how to approach build muscle through variation.

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But if you pick someone who is brand spanking new to exercise equipment, you’re going to morph your role from “buddy” to “trainer”. The end result can mean lots of frustration.

I know this because – yep, you guessed it – I made this mistake. And let me tell you, I spent more time teaching the guy how to do basic, compound lifts than I did getting in my own workout.

So for what it’s worth, choose a gym bud who has at least some workout experience.

If you happen to be reading this and are new to the gym, I recommend picking up a basic weight lifting book so that you know the fundamentals.

Also, it may help to hire a personal trainer to get you off on the right foot.

5. Not a drill sergeant

Ever go to the gym and hear a guy screaming and yelling at his gym bud while he’s doing a rep. You know what I’m talking about, right?

Lift that weight boy! Get it up – don’t stop – keep going!

While some amount of motivational language is important, it’s not helpful to pair up with someone who screams at you.

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There’s really no way to know in advance if the person you pick will be like. But if they start ordering you around like a drill sergeant, it’s best to nip it in the bud right away.

While it’s never happened to me, a co-worker of mine had to tell his gym buddy to take a hike. Why? Because at the end of every workout, he felt like he had just endured 1.5 hours of humiliation.

6. Don’t pick a close friend

This tip may seem counterintuitive but hear me out. When you pick a close friend to be your gym buddy, you run the risk of complicating your friendship.

That’s because close friends may have a difficult time pointing out issues, like improper form or poor motivation. This is due to the psychological concept known as self-regulatory outsourcing.

In a nutshell, it means super supportive people, like friends, may struggle with keeping you on track.

Plus, don’t you want some golden time away from your bestie so that you have stories to share when you are together?

7. Tell your boyfriend

If you are partnered, it’s always a good idea to keep your boyfriend in the loop about having a workout buddy. Here’s why. When you tell your man that you’ve got a lifting partner, he’ll know exactly why that person is part of your life.

This way there are no surprises. I’ve just seen too many situations where someone didn’t tell their significant other and it ended up causing jealousy.

Yes, I know what you are thinking: Why would anyone not tell their man?

That’s a good question. All I know is that some guys conceal this relationship, which is a recipe for trouble.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right gym buddy can help you achieve your fitness goals. I like to think of my gym-mate as an accountability partner.

Hopefully, the tips I’ve offered here will spark deeper thinking as you go about the business of building the body of your dreams.

Thanks for reading!

By: Conrad Braxton