UK Flirting Habits in the Gym | A Nationwide Survey on Fitness & Love

Do Brits Flirt in the Gym?

  • The BEST technique for flirting in the gym is to ‘just smile and try to make conversation’ (57% prefer this!)
  • Avoid this! The LEAST popular flirting method is to ‘stare at them’ which 43% voted as the worst thing to do in the gym.
  • Don’t be shy! 82% of people are flattered when they’re shown some romantic attention in the gym!
  • Women have a higher success rate when it comes to flirting (57%) than men (50%) but over half are too shy to give it a go!


Flirting in the Gym - UK results


The Results

In a  survey of 1,914 respondents from the UK – Myprotein has uncovered some of the likes and dislikes of flirty gym behaviour across the country just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Participants, aged 18 to 71, were asked whether they had ever flirted or been flirted with in the gym, as well as their general opinion on it, with results proving an overwhelming 82% of people were either cool with the prospect of receiving romantic attention at the gym, or didn’t mind it (see figure 1).


Figure 1: Percentage of those who said they liked, didn’t mind or disliked flirting in the gym. 


The Best and Worst Techniques for Wooing Your Gym-Crush

The best technique as voted by 1,914 individuals in the UK, was to ‘just smile and try to make conversation’. Over half of the people surveyed (57%) said this was the preferred way to meet someone. Following this, the second most popular technique was to ‘make friends in common to talk to them’, with 14% claiming this method was best. These answers suggest that being friendly, open and willing to talk to the person are the most successful techniques if you want to get to know each other.

In contrast, 43% of people thought ‘stare at them’ was the worst technique to attract a mate in the gym. Interestingly, our global survey results found that in the United States, 41% of respondents also voted for ‘stare at them’ as the worst technique. In fact, results found that respondents in the UK and US agreed entirely on the top three best and worst techniques suggesting a universal consensus towards gym-etiquette.

The second least popular behaviour in the gym was found to be ‘show off in front of them’ with over a quarter (26%) of all respondents viewing this as the worst way to flirt in the gym. Cheesy pick-up lines rarely help seal the deal, with only 11% of respondents ranking this as bad on the flirt-o-meter.

The University of Bath, celebrity mathematician Rachel Riley and the dating website eHarmony, found that talking to people in the gym increases your odds of finding ‘the one’ by 15%. This agrees with our study which found ‘smile and try to make conversation’ the best flirting technique.



Cardio Bunny to Valentine’s Honey – Who’s the most lucky in love?

When asked if people were successful in their advances in the gym arena, it was found that men reported a near 50/50 success rate whilst women had slightly better odds with 57% having experienced a successful flirting encounter in the gym.

Despite women proving to be more successful in the fitness game than men, 55% of females claimed they were too shy to actually try!

When broken down into age groups, the younger cohort tended to be more successful despite also being the least likely to flirt themselves. Surprisingly, and maybe as a result of the Tinder generation, young adults aged 18-30 were the most hesitant age-group, with 54% saying they’d never do it themselves. As age increased the confidence also increased, with those above 31 years old being most confident on average.

How much does your region flirt?



Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest percentage of people who had admitted to having flirted in the gym (38%) giving them the title of flirtiest region.

After Scotland, Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest percentage of people who think the best way to get close to your gym-crush is to ‘just smile and try to make conversation’ (68% – over 10% the national average of 57%).



Scotland had the highest percentage of people who put the winning technique to the test, with 68% of Scots voted for ‘smile and try to make conversation’ as their preferred technique to meet people – over 10% more than the national average (57%)

By contrast, Scotland was well below average when it came to the nation’s second most popular flirting technique – ‘make friends in common to talk to them’. Only 7% of Scots liked to do this compared to 14% elsewhere. Instead, the Scots preferred to join the same classes as their crush to bump into them naturally (9%).



Although Northern Ireland did vote for smiling and making conversation as the best flirting technique like most other regions, the percentage of their respondents was below average. Despite all other regions having over half of the population favouring this flirting technique, Northern Ireland had only 43% agree.

Northern Ireland respondents believed that making friends in common to talk to their crush is the next best way to get closer to them, with a whopping 32% voting this tactic vs. 14% elsewhere.



Compared to an average of 4% elsewhere in the British Isles, Wales had 10% believe that one of the best ways to flirt in the gym is by complimenting their gym gear!

When it came to moves the Welsh didn’t like, results found that 40% wouldn’t like to be shown off to – this is 18% higher than the national average.



Do you have any tape? Because I’m totally ripped.

If that made you chuckle, then maybe gyms in the north of England are for you. Results showed that 5% of those in the north actually like a cheesy workout related pick up line compared to the rest of the nation (3%).



Whilst all the other regions agree that ‘staring’ is the worst flirting technique, the East Midlands had more people vote for ‘showing off in front of them’ as the most inappropriate (40% compared to 34%).



The West Midlands are the least flirty region with only a quarter (25%) admitting to having flirted with someone in the gym compared to the average of 32% elsewhere in the British Isles.

Compared to an average of 5% in other regions, the West Midlands had less than 2% who would like to be invited for a protein shake and a chat. Instead the most preferred way to flirt or be flirted with was the national favourite to smile and make conversation (61%).



East England is a very close second after Yorkshire and the Humber as the highest flirtiest region with 38% admitting to having flirted in the gym before.

It also has the highest percentage of those who preferred to bump into their love-interest naturally in a gym class (13%). This is over double the national average of 6%.



In South East England, 48% of respondents think that staring at a gym-crush is the worst possible flirting technique. Instead, their preferred technique is to just smile and try to make a conversation with 60% choosing this as their best flirting technique. Interestingly, 4% also said they would like it if they were asked to work-in with someone whilst across the country in South West England only 1% would agree.



South West England had the highest percentage of people who approved of inviting someone for a protein shake and a chat after a workout (11% compared to the average of 5%). They were also almost double the percentage of people who voted for ‘invite them for a training session the next day’ at 5% versus 3% suggesting those from the South West are more used to inviting people on a date before they get to know someone.



It appears most people are open to flirting or being flirted with when in the gym and will more often than not go for the safest and most reliable technique of smiling and striking up a conversation. Unsurprisingly, the majority of regions were strongly against being stared at in the gym.

What is perhaps less obvious was the common consensus that showing off in front of your crush is one of the worst flirting techniques one can try to use. Gone are the days of flexing in the mirror and counting your reps out loud!

You can find confidence this Valentine’s knowing that the gym is a place to meet your next potential date, especially if you’re from Yorkshire and the Humber, and that even if you are less likely to have flirted before, you may be one of the more successful ones.

If you want to impress someone in the gym or treat your fitness-loving partner then why not check out our recommended Valentine’s Day Fitness Gifts list?


Arabella Ogilvie

Arabella Ogilvie

Writer and expert

Arabella has a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology from the University of Glasgow where she covered health topics ranging from the physiological effects of exercise and nutrition, to psychology and neuroscience.

She has a lifelong interest in sport and fitness, including running, swimming, hockey, and especially rowing. At university, Arabella was a keen rower and competed in the first boat at events such as the prestigious Henley Women’s Regatta, The Scottish Boat Race, and British University Championships, and won Novice Rower of the year in her first year.

In her spare time, Arabella loves to train in the gym and practice yoga and meditation. She is passionate about the natural world and will take any opportunity to be outdoors, be it hiking in the Scottish Highlands or conducting scientific research in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest.

Find out more about Arabella’s experience here.

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