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Gen Z is making first dates go to yoga and boot camp, instead of the bar

On a recent first date, Alexis Amaral felt a surge of emotion when the guy she had met online reached out and brushed her hand.

But, the two weren’t sitting next to each other at a movie or in a cafe, they were in a downward facing dog position at a yoga class.

“[It was] sexy and different compared to sitting there just chatting with someone,” Amaral, a 27-year-old who works in technology and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, told The Post.

He proposed the workout as an alternative to going out to a bar for another drink. When the guy said yes, he was pleasantly surprised.

“I was more interested in it because I want someone who is comfortable trying new things and getting out of their comfort zone,” he said.

“I loved seeing how he dealt with not knowing what he was doing, and maybe not being good at something,” he continued, adding that they dated a second time before things “fizzled out”.

Amaral, who loves to exercise, enjoyed her yoga date.

When it comes to dating, younger singles are increasingly choosing to break a sweat, rather than turn up a bar tab.

A survey by the dating app Bumble in April 2023 found that 46% of Gen Zers and millennials in the US have had an active first date, such as working out, attending a class gymnastics or bicycling.

The trend fits with young people who drink less and less.

A Berenberg research report revealed that Generation Z and millennials consume significantly less alcohol than previous generations when they were young.

Dating app Hinge found that 30% of its users prefer sober dating.

Brunette woman in workout clothes posing in front of the wall.
Although it didn’t work out, the 27-year-old would be interested in trying another exercise class for a first date.

Cutting down on alcohol consumption motivated Jake Emanuel, a 27-year-old yoga instructor, to opt for fitness dating.

She found that going to a bar or restaurant with a potential partner and simply not ordering an alcoholic drink doesn’t work.

“It’s not good for the environment,” said the Upper East Sider.

So, she recently invited a 20-something finance guy to take her class at her Soho yoga studio. She didn’t lead to anything, but it was a good time.

“He enjoyed the class and afterwards I was able to help him with some poses,” Emanuel said. “I think it was great to be able to share that.”

Man holding yoga mat in yoga studio.
Emanuel invited a date to his studio on a first date.
Stefano Giovanni

Another recent active date had the yogi stretching out of his wheelhouse.

A guy invited him to take a high-intensity interval training class at Barry’s Bootcamp, which Emanuel found “a little weird at first.”

But he ultimately ended up loving the intense HIIT training, which consists of alternating intervals of sprinting on a treadmill and lifting weights.

“Barry was a good time,” he said.

He purposely opted to go on a treadmill that wasn’t right next to his date’s, so he wouldn’t make things awkward or competitive.

“I could do my thing,” he said. “So I think maybe some professional advice would be: ‘Don’t be next to each other.'”

Man holding a yoga mat looking at the clock.
The training date works well for the time poor.
Stefano Giovanni

Emanuel, who is also the host of the “Spirituality in the City” podcast, which looks at Gen Z dating trends, said such classes are a perfect preamble to a more traditional pursuit.

“[You could] get a smoothie or even brunch afterwards,” he said. “If it goes wrong, you still have a good workout and you can go on with the rest of the day.”

But, experts warn that these encounters do not allow you to get to know someone the way you sit and talk.

“A first date is a great place for two people to meet in person and see if there is chemistry and do a little research to see if the values ​​align,” Thalia Ouimet, a professional matchmaker and dating coach, told The Post. “If they both work out in a training class, this doesn’t allow them to do either of those things.”

But sometimes working out together really works.

Eight months ago, Sarah Strauss opted to hit the gym and then swim in the ocean for her first meeting with a guy named Sumner Izak Healey.

The two, who met in San Diego, California, and recently moved to Las Vegas, have been together ever since.

They love to walk, travel and yes, exercise together.

“She’s about to run a marathon on Sunday,” gushed Strauss, a life coach. “Exercise is a big part of our passion in life and in our relationship.”



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