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Sherri Keaton, Published July 11 2010

Fargo-Moorhead fitness club dabbles in speed-dating sessions

Laughter and flirtatious banter fill the room as singles mingle together while digesting conversation and hors d’oeuvres.

It sounds like a scene from a typical bar or fancy restaurant. It’s not.

This is Xtreme Fitness, a Fargo gym where singles can meet at hosted speed-dating events. Xtreme Fitness owner Mariah Prussia said hers is the only fitness facility to offer speed dating.

“When you can bring people in and form friendships or help fulfill certain elements in their life that they are missing, that is what makes it different,” Prussia said. “I don’t think other facilities would take the time to do that because they have other things they are focusing on.”

Xtreme Fitness, 1612 Tom Williams Drive, Suite B., will host its second “Xtreme Speed Dating” event at 8 p.m. Monday. Preregistration was required. Another event is tentatively scheduled for September.

“There is less pressure (here) than when you are going to a singles club or certain dating events; there (are) certain expectations with that,” Prussia said. “This is different because the atmosphere is lighter. You’re in a gym, you’re not in a bar, and it is more open.”

Prussia started the speed-dating event last year as a venue for women, who may also be working mothers, not always interested in going to bars.

“I am a single mom, and owning an all-women’s fitness facility, you are not going to meet a lot of men,” Prussia said. “The focal (point) isn’t about finding the love of your life; it is about networking, finding friendships, because to have a true relationship form, you have to be friends first.”

Prussia wants interested participants to network first, with the idea that dating could follow.

“It is basically forming a community. That is the main goal of our gym,” Prussia said.

Fargo resident Matt Carlsrud participated in last September’s event. It was his first time going through any speed dating, and he will be trying it again Monday.

“It was good fun and something new to try,” he said. “It is a new way for trying to find people to date. I was more comfortable than I would be in any other place.”

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Keaton at (701) 235-7311