A lot of lifters say the gym isn't the place to meet people. But if you're single, wouldn't you want to find someone with your shared interests and healthier lifestyle?
The main problem for women? Guys at the gym can be creepy. They'll stare for too long, interrupt our sets, or flirt in a way that holds us up from getting on with our workout. So here's a short guide to increase your chances of success and save us ladies a lot of wasted time and discomfort.
1. Pick the Right Girl
Here's a list of women you should probably leave alone:
- The Cardio Girl: Women don't generally want to stop their treadmills to chat. So unless you're going to do what she's doing and chat her up, don't bother.
- The Hideaway Girl: She's the one who drags a yoga mat and some dumbbells into a corner. She's hiding for a reason. Don't invade her space.
- The Bandit: If she's wearing headphones, a baseball cap, and a hoodie, she doesn't want to talk to you. I don't care how ripped your abs are and neither does she.
- The Front Desk Girl: She has to be there no matter what, so don't make it weird. Plus, if things go wrong, you're both screwed. And not in a fun way.
Here are some better options:
- The Girl Who Lifts Like You: She's a woman you see regularly and who seems to be integrated in the community. She's probably your best bet since you'll share common interests and she values lifting the way you do.
- The New-ish Girl: She might hang around the weights but doesn't seem as comfortable as the first girl on this list. She might welcome a wave or a quick, "Can I help you find something?"
- The Group Fitness Girl: She takes classes and hangs around talking to staff after. She's there regularly and is probably looking for people who share her love of fitness. Note: Even if her idea of fitness is group fitness, which you think is stupid, suppress the urge to share this with her.
Notice the thing all these girls have in common? You've seen them before.
It's probably not a great idea to approach a girl you're seeing for the first time, unless there's a very clear opening. A girl who goes to the gym as regularly as you do probably kinda-sorta knows who you are. I get a lot less of that stranger-danger feeling when I get a hello from a guy I've seen around than from a guy who appeared out of nowhere.
2. Looks for the Signs (Good Ones and Bad Ones)
- She'll make eye contact. Do you guys make eye contact a lot unintentionally? Then she's probably been sneaking glances at you, too. It's a good sign. If she seems like she's avoiding your eyes, she's either uninterested or shy.
- She'll smile. This one's obvious, but if she smiles or says hello, it probably means she's at least down to chat. If she starts a conversation, don't be an idiot and cower away; she might not give you another chance.
If you greet her and she doesn't say "hi" back (and she definitely heard you) then leave her alone. Just because she says "hey" to you regularly doesn't mean she's definitely DTF. It's just a signal that she's open to communication.
- She'll keep physical proximity. If she hangs around after finishing up an exercise when you're nearby, she might be trying to give you an opening. If she takes her earphones off and then hangs around, she's trying to be even clearer. But if you move to a machine near her and she very obviously moves away, that's not such a great sign.
3. Break the Ice (The Right Way)
- Don't correct her form. You don't know what she's trying to accomplish and people don't like to be corrected by strangers.
- Don't comment on her appearance. Giving a girl a compliment on her appearance, even a tasteful one, can come off as sleazy. You can pull this move after she agrees to go out with you.
- Don't ask her out for drinks immediately. It reeks of desperation. Get to know her and keep the conversation centered on gym stuff at first. It's possible she's not even into drinking.
Here are some better introductions:
- Ask about her workout. Ask the same way you might ask a dude who's moving a ton of weight or working on a program similar to yours. This is a great way to get the conversation rolling. It shows respect and gives the conversation direction.
- Ask about her shoes. Any apparel will do actually. It's kind of stupid, but her sneakers, belt, knees sleeves etc. can provide an easy way to pick up a conversation. When I was running marathons, I'd see someone wearing the same shoes as me and always comment. I even picked up some new clients this way.
- Just say hi. This isn't the best method because it leaves her to do most the work, but if she's already interested then she might be willing to pick up some of the slack. At least you'll have initiated contact and can come up with something more creative next time. Nothing wrong with being friendly.
A lot of the females are fed up. They don't want to be approached by guys at the gym anymore because they've spent too many hours indulging some dude's awkward come-on when they'd rather be finishing their deadlifts.
But there are so few opportunities to meet people that it'd be a shame to make gyms no-flirting zones. My advice in a nutshell? Basically the same advice I give new clients who've been trying to lose the five pounds for the last five years: Don't give up, but cut the crap and implement a strategy that might actually work.