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Hey, you. I see you over there reading this article and eating the last of the leftover Christmas cookies that your mom sent home with you. Let me guess, you have BIG PLANS to get back to the gym this week and lose those 10 lbs you’ve gained this year, right? You’re not just going to be a January Jogger! YOU aren’t like those other poor schlubs who hit the weights three times and then quit, stuck with a gym membership that you’ll continue to pay for the next 12 months because it’s easier and less embarrassing than actually going in to cancel.
No. You, my friend, will be a success. I believe in you, and I’m here to help you navigate some of the trickiest of gym etiquette: hitting on a member of the fairer sex without having eye daggers thrown at you. Since you’re going back to the gym at one of the busiest times of the year, there will likely be a large selection of ladies available. They will tend to fall into three major categories:
1.) The Cardio Junkie: This girl is a regular at the gym. She spends a lot of time on the elliptical as well, but she mixes it up with some HIIT running on the treadmill and the stairmaster. She’s probably wearing yoga pants that cost more than your dress shirts, but she’s actually getting her sweat on. She’s on the thinner/ballerina body side, hot, and probably knows it.
2.) The Girl Who Lifts: We aren’t talking a crazy roided up 6’4 body builder here. This girl is in the gym hitting the weights with the bros 4-5 days a week, has a workout log to track her gains, and has a booty that a Kardashian would envy from all that squatting. She’s probably wearing a fitted tank top and generic workout pants. She’ll likely be a little bit lower maintenance than your typical elliptical girl, but won’t be as easily impressed by your Greek Week Champs tank from junior year.
3.) Temporary Elliptical Girl: She’s halfheartedly working on her New Year’s resolution by spending 20 minutes on the elliptical at a level 2 resistance and watching Gilmore Girls on her phone without breaking a sweat. Don’t bother, she’ll be gone in 2 weeks.
No matter your type, there are some general dos and don’ts that will apply to wooing all three:
1.) Walk up to her in the middle of her run/set while she’s pouring sweat and clearly concentrating. This is a surefire way to invite a scathing glare and invitation to “fuck off.” You’d think this is obvious, but you’d be shocked at the frequency with which I STILL see this shit happen.
2.) Tell her she’s doing something wrong and offer to correct her form. You know, we just love it when you explain things to us.
3.) Go for it without establishing any sort of prior rapport at all. Even with the best of intentions and the least creepy of demeanors, you will likely be met with a puzzled “new phone, who dis” if you try and go for it out of nowhere.
4.) Give her a compliment involving semi-sexual parts of her body. E.g. “I see you’ve been working that stairmaster- great ass!” or “Your tits have been looking much perkier since you started doing chest flys!” Even if you mean well, it comes off as weird, sexual, and uncomfortable.
5.) Stalk her like a gazelle. If you’re staring at her every time she looks your way, she’s going to notice. If you’re conveniently on the bench or machine next to her for every single exercise, she’s going to notice. If you’re always in line behind her at the water fountain, she’s going to notice. Just be a normal fucking person and if your routine takes you next to her, smile and do your thing. “This seems like an unnecessary caveat! No one is that dumb!” I hear you say. Hah. Oh ye of misplaced faith. Ask any of your female friends. We’ve all had this happen to us if we’ve attended the same gym long enough.
1.) Be Patient. This is possibly the MOST important piece of advice. The trick to gaining the attention of a lady gym goer is to establish familiarity. I’m not saying take like a month to make a move, but this girl needs to be able to vaguely recognize you from somewhere in a crowd. You probably need to make glancing eye contact like 3-4 times before you move in.
2.) Find the right time. If she’s a lifter, in between sets while she’s clearly not occupied and on a rest break is acceptable. If she’s a cardio girl, while she’s at the water fountain, grabbing a towel, at the smoothie bar, etc. are acceptable. Read the cues. If she’s walking quickly and purposefully across the floor and not making eye contact with anyone, maybe pick a different time.
3.) Compliment her fitness prowess. Stick with something related to a routine, like, “hey, I’ve noticed your shoulders are really defined, would you mind telling me what exercises you do?” Or, “hey, you seem to know what you’re doing on the treadmill- any advice for lowering my times?” That will flatter her skill as well as let her know you think she’s attractive in a non-creepy way.
4.) Become gym buddies. After you pick your appropriate opener and establish communication (see Do #3 above), maintain that friendliness by saying good morning/afternoon, complaining about the asshole not wiping down the machines or re-racking the weights, and other general gym talk. On a busy day, at least nod and smile in passing. Let her know she can ask you to spot for her etc. if she needs it. Also, find out if she’s single- that will save you embarrassment in number 5 below.
5.) Go for it. Something along the lines of, “hey, I feel like we’re pretty good gym buddies. Do you want to grab drinks after work sometime?” is fine. You still remember how to ask girls out outside of Bumble, don’t you?
And there you go. A clear and concise guide to finding your swole mate. Coming this May: “How To Successfully Avoid That Girl From Your Gym That You Briefly Misguidedly Dated.” I’ll see you in the weight room. Happy hunting!.
Image via Shutterstock