How To Work Out With Your Boss, Awkwardness-Free


This is your worst nightmare: you're sweaty as hell, the spin instructor just yelled at you for 40 minutes straight, and you just realized that your boss was in the row directly behind you the whole time.

Is there anything worse than running into your boss at the gym or realizing that you're in the same class? It's just a big pot of sweaty awkwardness waiting to happen. But if you follow these rules, it doesn't necessarily have to be all bad. In fact, it can work to your advantage. Here are some tips for working out with your boss.1. Don't dress like a total slob. With all the cute brands making sportswear these days, it's pretty easy to look snazzy at the gym (hello Lululemon!). Don't feel like you have to dress up, but maybe don't wear your absolute skimpiest outfit if you know your boss frequents the same facility.

2. Keep the chit-chat light and not personal. Megan Broussard, Founder of Profession Gal, says that if there was ever a time to make small talk, it's now. You came to work out, and so did your boss. Keep everything surface-level, especially if you run into each other in the locker room.

3. Don't feel pressure to work out next to them. Just because you know them, it doesn't mean you need to sit next to them (and sweat on them) in cycling or yoga class. As Broussard says, they will understand if you choose a spot in the back opposite corner of the room.

4. Make a quick exit. If you do run into them in the locker room, be polite--but then jump in the shower or go into a stall, or just get dressed in a different area.

On the plus side, though, working out with your boss can actually strengthen your working relationship. "Exercising together expands the boundaries of an otherwise well-defined relationship and opens up opportunities to prove it by adding another dimension that allows you to get to know each other better," says Donna Flagg, a blogger for Psychology Today and the author of Surviving Dreaded Conversations.

Looking beyond that, more and more business connections are happening in workout settings. Taking a client to a spin class or doing a mud race is a big trend on Wall Street right now. People spend so much time in offices these days that working out for a client meeting is a refreshing change of pace, compared to just grabbing drinks after work (not to mention healthier).

"We have seen it from our very first studio opening," says Flywheel Sports co-founder and CEO Jay Galuzzo. "It was really Wall Street salespeople bringing in three, four or five clients to an evening class in lieu of the business dinner or drinks. We have seen that increase everywhere in the past few years."

Still, don't be offended if your boss doesn't want to become workout buddies. Sometimes they just needs to sweat it out too.
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