Deutsch Gym: A Workout for Your Speaking Skills

Deutsch Gym is an online community of language learners dedicated to getting together on a regular basis to speak German with one another on a variety of topics. If you are looking for a place to speak German with other language learners, this might be a good option for you.

Does this conversation sound familiar?

A: I’ve been trying to learn German for a while, but I still can’t have a real conversation yet. 

B: I know how you feel. I was there once myself. Now I can talk with the best of them. 

A: How did you get to that point? I want to be fluent, but I just feel like I’m spinning my wheels. 

B: You gotta go to the Gym, bruh. 

A: What? How is that going to help? I’m already pretty swole. If I work out any more, I’m gonna need bigger shirts. 

B: You go to the gym to work your physical muscles. What you need is a gym to work your mental muscles. You need the Deutsch Gym

A: What’s that? 

B: It is a website dedicated to German learners, who get together to practice speaking German. There are meetups every day of the week for every level from A2 through B2 and C1 meets 5 days a week. 

A: That sounds fantastic, but how far do I have to travel to do this? 

B: How far away from your phone are you? 

A: It never leaves my side. 

B: Looks like you are never more than a few feet away from a meetup then. The meetups are online via Discord. Once you sign up on the website, you get access to the Discord server for your level. Then you just have to join the group at the time of the meetup. Let me show you how it works. 

Deutsch Gym Pricing

There are two levels at which you can sign up, basic and unlimited. Basic grants you access to 2 meetups per week and unlimited is… unlimited. You can pay monthly, quarterly or yearly. My recommendation would be to try it for a week with the free trial. If you like it, you can sign up for the plan that fits your needs. I would choose the basic plan, because I have a lot going on and I could only realistically go to 2 meetups per week at most. 

The pricing shown in these images has changed since this post was created.

How Deutsch Gym Works

Once you create an account, you will get a few orientation emails. They outline how to access the groups, what the rules are and a whole lot of other useful information. 

The theme for each day is posted before the meetup. In that post you will see a series of questions that go with the theme of the meetup. There is also a list of useful vocabulary and English translations for them. 

An Example Conversation Theme from Deutsch Gym’s B1/B2 Level

I signed up for the B1/B2 level. The theme for Saturday was Moderne Wohn- und Lebensverhältnisse (modern dwelling/living conditions). The list of questions included: 

  1. Welche Länder würden auf deiner Top-3-Liste der besten Orte zum leben stehen und warum? 
  2. Wie würdest du die Wohn- und Lebensverhältnisse in deinem Heimatland beschreiben? 
  3. Warum ist Deutschland ein beliebtes Einwanderungsland? 
  4. Welche Faktoren tragen zu guten Wohn- und Lebensverhältnissen bei? 
  5. Was ist für dich modernes Wohnen? 
  6. Wie unterscheiden sich die Wohn- und Lebensverhältnisse heute zu denen vor 100 Jahren? 
  7. Ist das Leben heute komplizierter als früher? Warum/warum nicht? 
  8. Wie stellst du dir die Lebensverhältnisse in 50 Jahren vor? 
  9. Warum sind die Wohn- und Lebensverhältnisse in manchen Ländern fortgeschrittener als in anderen? 

These questions are meant as a general guide or a prompt for the discussion in the group. You don’t have to answer each question. You don’t have to go down the list. You can simply use them as a way to help guide the conversation and make sure that you keep the conversation flowing. If you discuss a question for a few minutes and you think you have exhausted that part of the conversation, but you don’t know what to talk about next, you can use the questions on the list to move things along. 

You can also use these questions to help guide your own individual language study sessions. Look up words you don’t know. Work on a few phrases you know you would like to use in the conversation. Prepare yourself for a successful conversation by trying to have a conversation in your head using the prompts. Then when you get to the real thing, you will find yourself spending less time with the “uhms” and “ahs”. 

What to Expect in a Deutsch Gym Meetup

3 Minutes before the meetup is set to start, open up the Discord app either on your phone or on your computer and open the “Allgemein Voice” channel. The group leader will be a native speaker who will introduce the topic of the day and get things set up. After a brief introduction, participants are put into groups of 3 to start their conversations. Groups this size work great for making sure each person gets plenty of practice speaking. 

The native speaker will drop in on each of the rooms to check in on the participants. If you have any questions, they can answer those then. They might also correct something you said or provide you with a better or more natural way to phrase something. Then they will move on to the next room. You will have an entire hour to converse with your group. 

What Herr Antrim Thinks of Deutsch Gym

After trying this out, I have a few thoughts. First, I love that the themes are decided in advance so you can brush up on the topic beforehand. It really makes the whole process more comfortable for anyone feeling nervous about speaking German for an hour.

Second, I love that the groups are only 3 people. You don’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself in front of a big group of German learners and you will get a ton of practice speaking and listening, because with only 3 people in a conversation, you kind of have to participate in order for things to continue on smoothly. 

Also, this is a low commitment kind of thing. If you can’t make it to a meetup, that’s fine. If you want to attend all of the meetups, that’s fine too. You can attend as many or as few meetups as you wish. You never have to sign up ahead of time or apologize if you can’t make it. 

What’s not to like about Deutsch Gym?

Of course, I can’t do a review without having a few complaints. Nothing is perfect and Deutsch Gym is no exception. Depending on how many people you get logged in at one time, you could hypothetically find yourself with 20 groups of 3, which means the native speaker would only be able to join your group for a maximum of 5 minutes. That said, the groups I took part in didn’t have that many people. 

Also, the time spent with the native speaker can be unevenly distributed. They might spend a lot of time with one group and less time with another group. I liken this to a classroom setting. The students who need more support will likely take up more of the teacher’s time than the students who can work more independently. 

This can be dangerous for beginners. When one learner in a group makes an error, it can cause a ripple effect, because the other learners repeat the error. This then causes the error to be solidified by everyone in the group. If the native speaker isn’t there to correct the issue, it can happen multiple times in a session. This can spiral out of control very quickly. 

What I have seen, however, is that at least in the upper level conversation rooms, the other learners will catch the mistake and correct it. This allows the group to learn from the mistake and move on. The correction isn’t harsh, however. In my case, I simply rephrase what someone said to use the correct wording and add my own information to it. You can also ask for clarification. “Did you say…?” This is the ideal situation, but it doesn’t always work in the lower levels. 

My other complaint is that the meetups aren’t always conveniently timed. I could only attend the ones on the weekend, because the times didn’t go well with my schedule. They are set up on German time and I’m 7 hours off from that, so it is very early in the morning. It would be nice if the times varied a bit more. That said, it is nice that they meet every day, so you have a better chance of having it work for your schedule at least once a week.

Overall, Deutsch Gym is fantastic. It is a convenient way for you to get together with other German learners and speak German. If you are looking for somewhere to practice speaking German on a regular basis, Deutsch Gym might be for you. The pricing is incredibly reasonable, too. Click the link in the description. Check it out. And let me know what you think. Das ist alles für heute. Danke fürs Zuschauen. Bis zum nächsten Mal. Tschüss.