The gym is as good a place as any to meet someone, but there’s a right way and a very wrong way to go about it. As a woman who hits the gym regularly, I’ve seen and experienced for myself what it’s like to have some meathead come up to you when all you want to do is power through your workout—but I’ve also seen guys pull it off. Picking up at the gym can be challenging, because it’s not like a bar where women expect to be approached, but it’s not impossible; it just takes a little more game. Here’s what you need to know to successfully pick up a woman at the gym.
What Not to Do
I’ve seen a lot of men crash and burn when trying to pick up at the gym, simply because they make stupid mistakes. From a woman’s perspective, if you want to strike up a conversation and make a move, avoid doing any of the following:
• Going to the gym for the sole purpose of picking up (We can tell when you’re not really there to exercise.)
• Staring at her like a creep (It makes women feel really uncomfortable, especially when they’re working out.)
• Complimenting her body (Again, it can make her feel uncomfortable, because she’s probably not there to impress.)
• Interrupting her workout (You wouldn’t want to be interrupted when you’re in the groove, would you? She probably feels the same way. Plus, it can be dangerous if she breaks her focus to talk to you in the middle of a set.)
• Trying to impress her by lifting heaver weights or running faster (especially if you can’t actually keep up)
• Grunting like an animal to make it look like you’re super strong (It’s annoying, not attractive.)
• Correcting her form (If she doesn’t ask for your help, she probably doesn’t want or need it.)
• Approaching her when you’re sweaty and gross (Wiping yourself down and masking your body odor will go a long a way.)
• Approaching her when all your buddies are watching (We’re not in the fifth grade.)
How to Pick Up the RIGHT Way
Now that you know what not to do, here are a few tips to help you get it done right:
• Become one of the regulars: These days, being a gym member is like being part of a community—over time you start to recognize faces. There’s a better chance that this girl you’re eyeing will want to talk to you if she recognizes you versus if you were a complete stranger.
• Be social: She’ll likely feel more comfortable talking to you at the gym if she sees that you’re a social guy who chats with other people, too.
• Perfect your timing: Like I said earlier, you never want to approach a girl while she’s in the middle of doing her thing—most women go to the gym to actually work out, not to get a date, so it would be rude to interrupt. Instead, wait till she’s finished her workout—there’s a much better chance that she’ll pay more attention to you, and she’ll appreciate the consideration. Another good opportunity is when she’s stretching—if you’re doing the same nearby, it’s a great opening for conversation.
• Join a class: This one only works if she takes classes too. There’s usually a few minutes before the class starts where participants kind of stand around and mingle—this would make for the perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation. Ask her if she’s done the class before and what she thinks of it. That way when you see her at the next class, she’ll remember your familiar face. On a side note about classes, you might want to skip the Zumba—this tip works better if it’s a body toning, cardio, or strength building type of class.
• Make eye contact: This does not mean you should gawk at her till she notices. If you want to get her attention without totally creeping her out, try to make eye contact (a quick glance is all it takes), smile casually, and then continue with what you’re doing. That’ll show her that you notice her, but that you’re conscious about not disturbing her—and then wait till she’s done working out to approach her.
• Make appropriate conversation: Correcting her form is just going to piss her off, especially if you’re not the fittest guy in the room. The smarter way to go about it is to pay her a compliment about her skill, not her body. For instance, compliment her on her speed or her form, but make sure it’s a genuine compliment, because she’ll see right through you if it’s not.
• Do a little grooming beforehand: Make sure you’re not sweating profusely and/or letting off any lingering body odors—she won’t be able to focus on how witty and charming you are if she can’t get past how gross you smell. Before approaching a woman at the gym, make a trip to the change room, dry off, wash your face, and run your fingers through your hair. Even though you’re at the gym, you should still look somewhat presentable.
• Know when to give up: If she smiles at you and is receptive to your conversation, then carry on. But if she ignores you, rolls her eyes, or just smirks and looks away, leave her alone; she’s not interested.