The nine 'fitness tribes' taking over dating apps

Adult running women stretching outdoor. She is preparing for hard training
Are you 'The Marathoner' or 'The Pilates Pro'? (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Swiping through dating apps to find The One is complicated enough, but a new trend is emerging on dating apps that involves 'fitness tribes'.

Getting fit and healthy is at the top of the list of personal goals for many people this year, as the public becomes more interested in wellness and looking after themselves. But the fitness boom has also given people communities through different sports, exercises and interests – with some taking it way more seriously than others.

According to dating website, these 'tribes' are becoming more evident as we shed our winter layers and singletons start spring-cleaning their dating profiles.

The information you share in your dating bio is crucial to success. And many people are turning to their fitness credentials in a bid to attract others.

Seeking’s dating expert Emma Hathorn explains how 'image-savvy daters' are trying to stand out from the crowd: "Understanding fitness tribes helps singletons assess compatibility in lifestyle choices in our time-poor culture, whilst also building deeper connections based on shared interests. It’s become the cornerstone of modern dating."

These are the nine fitness tribes that have emerged on dating apps – and what to know about the singleton who’s added ‘I’m a pilates pro’ or ‘I love running marathons’ to their profile.

Death of ‘The Gym Bro’

Where ‘gym bros’ were once considered the most obnoxious people in the gym – often characterised by flexing their muscles in selfies and grunting loudly while lifting weights – Hathorn says this particular fitness tribe has actually withered away.

"With the rise of the ‘gym bro ick’, many singles are shifting away from traditional methods of showcasing their fitness prowess on dating profiles,” she says.

"Once revered for their muscular mirror selfies and topless pics, The Gym Bro now finds themselves needing to adapt to changing preferences. Instead of overt displays of vanity and muscle, individuals are exploring more creative ways to merchandise their fitness lifestyle."

The Marathoner

Marathon running has seen a surge year on year. (Getty Images)
Marathon running has seen a surge year on year. (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

If it seems like everyone is training for a marathon this year, it’s because the number of people planning to run one has increased significantly.

According to data from Strava, 5% of runners in 2023 ran a marathon, equivalent to a 20% year-on-year increase.

If you’ve swiped right on a singleton who runs marathons, you might be thanking yourself later, as Hathorn says it could lead to a relationship that goes the distance.

"Constantly chasing personal bests, they’re always seeking methods of self-improvement," she says of The Marathoner. "With a habit of celebrating milestones and exchanging encouragement through means of Strava's kudos, the Marathoner’s fitness efforts can translate directly into their love lives… and a partner who proudly displays marathon medals on their profile is sure to show you off on social media in the same way."

The Padeler

Padel has taken the US by storm, and is creeping into courts in the UK as well. The sport is a cross between tennis and squash, and has become a fixture in a number of leisure clubs and activity-led holiday destinations this year.

Padel players are often deeply involved in the community, which means they embody qualities like teamwork, communication and coordination, Hathorn says - which are all "essential elements for a thriving relationship".

"Padel enthusiasts bring more than athletic prowess to the table," she adds. "However, beware of their competitive nature and the potential for conflicts to spill over from the court into your relationship."

The Yogi

Diverse young people wearing sportswear practicing yoga at group lesson, stretching in Utthan Pristhasana pose on mats, doing Lizard exercise, working out in modern yoga studio, center
Yoga remains a popular form of exercise. (Getty Images) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Yoga’s popularity shows no signs of waning. The practise, which many people love for combining mindfulness and physical health, offers a huge number of benefits, such as increased flexibility, core strength, better balance, improved mental health, and sleep.

In dating profiles, The Yogi is a "serene soul who finds solace on the mat and seeks a partner who shares their passion for mindfulness and tranquillity".

Hathorn says: "While they prioritise balance and harmony, be mindful of their spiritual journey and the potential for conflicts to arise if your values don’t align.

"Embrace open communication and respect each other’s paths to self-discovery."

The Pilates Pro

Pilates has soared in popularity in recent years, and the rise in influencers and celebrities getting into the practice has fuelled it even further this year.

This exercise, which can be done on a mat or with a reformer machine, was originally created to help with the physical rehabilitation of wounded soldiers. Today, many practitioners swear by it for helping them get fit, recover from other forms of exercise or injury, and strengthen their core.

"Reformer pilates is gaining recognition as ‘the sexiest’ workout," Hathorn says, adding: "But ‘The Pilates Pro’ is not your average athlete. They’re masters of movement, sculpting bodies with precision while fostering relationships based on strength and trust.

"Beyond the confines of a tranquil reformer studio, you’ll find them prioritising their physical and emotional well-being. Instantly recognisable by the toned physique, beach and aesthetic coffee shop snaps on their profile, they balance their dedication with a laid-back lifestyle."

The Peddler

handsome african american man with a mountain bike standing in the forest, while looking around.
People who cycle are often great lovers of the outdoors. (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Cycling remains a popular hobby and exercise routine, whether it’s an indoor spin class with high-energy music and enthusiastic trainers, or out in the fresh air.

Not to be confused with The Padeler, The Peddler is the "ultimate cycling enthusiast", who has a love for “the open road and the thrill of adventure”.

But it’s not all fun and games being with The Peddler, Hathorn warns. "While their passion for outdoor activities is contagious, be wary of their tendency to prioritise solo pursuits over relationship-building. Ensure open communication about your expectations and find common ground to embark on adventures together."

The Boulderer

In recent years, rock-climbing has become a mainstream sport and hobby, with research from the Association of British Climbing Walls showing that around a million people in the UK climb indoors every year.

Hathorn adds that bouldering is also becoming a popular spot for dating, particularly among people who aren’t keen on drinking.

"If you prefer a slow burn over a whirlwind romance, The Boulderer is the ideal partner – as they approach the relationship one step at a time promising an upward journey," she says.

"However, if you’re seeking a fast-paced adventure, you may find their deliberate approach a bit too cautious for your liking."

The Big Dipper

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Some people swear by cold water swimming. (Getty Images) (Getty Images/Johner RF)

Feel like taking the plunge? Cold water therapy, cold water swimming, and cold plunges have garnered almost a cult following in recent years, with celebrities like David Beckham, Holly Willoughby, and even Kate Middleton declaring their love for it.

When it comes to singletons who love cold water, Hathorn says their dating profiles are "a testament to their love for the chill, adorned with snapshots of frosty morning swims and a post-dip glow".

"From ice baths to invigorating dips in the Hampstead Heath ponds or Serpentine Lido, The Big Dipper tribe seeks partners who share their zest for exhilarating experiences – making them open-minded, fearless, and always up for trying new experiences," she says.

However, Hathorn warns: "But if you decide to take the plunge with them, be prepared for very early mornings – an adjustment if you're not a morning person."

The Athleisure Angel

Rather than working up a sweat or participating in activities, this dater is one who would be much more comfortable grabbing a coffee and taking a little walk in the park.

If you’re an active person, you may want to steer clear of The Athleisure Angel, Hathorn says. "With an Instagram-worthy collection of activewear, this cutie may look the part, but behind the facade of a fresh pair of Hokas and Stanley Cup, you might not find a like-minded match.

"While their profile may exude an aura of fitness and style, it's essential to delve deeper to discern whether their ‘dedication to health and wellbeing’ aligns with your own values and aspirations. Don't let the allure of trendy gear blind you to the substance you truly seek in a partner."

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