How To Meet Singles At The Gym
For me, February is THE month to jump back on the fitness wagon and get in shape! It is also the month to find love. So, what better place to check both boxes than at your local gym?
I decided to do some on-site “research” on how to meet singles at the gym. On this particular day, my trip to the gym had nothing to do with lifting weights, spinning or working on my flexibility. My mission was to shed some light on how to flirt with someone at the gym. The subject, it turned out, generates plenty of debate and a lot of conflicting opinions.
Before starting my research, I decided to ask some gym staffers what they thought. Some staff and gym regulars I talked to simply said, “don’t do it.” They told me stories about former female members that had switched gyms to avoid being harassed, or because they wanted to avoid ex boyfriends. They even said they knew of male members that had been asked to leave, or had even been banned from the gym, after complaints about their incessant stalking. From first look, it would seem the gym was a difficult, if not downright dangerous, place to try picking someone up.
It’s All In The Approach
One front desk worker I talked to said that it’s all in your approach: when talking to singles at the gym, be cool and not obnoxious. “Everyone is here for a very specific purpose,” he said. That purpose is to get strong and fit. If you can flirt while helping someone reach their goal, you just might be golden. Throughout his many years of gym experience, he had noticed there were a lot of couples that worked out together. At least some of them, he reasoned, must have met there (smart guy).
On a personal note, I once dated a guy I met in a gym class and am not sure that I would do it again. We were friendly for years before dating. He smoothly asked me out for coffee after class one day, and the rest was history. History, that is, until we broke up six months later, and I had the unpleasant experience of running into him at 9 a.m. Body Pump class every Saturday morning – hung over, sweaty and super annoyed to see those “beady little eyes”.
The Science of Sweaty Shirts
The gym has a strong basis in scientific research as a good place to talk to and meet a romantic partner. In a landmark study done by Swiss biologist Claus Wedekind in 1995, female college students were asked to smell shirts that male students had worn for three days without using cologne, deodorant or scented soap. The purpose of the study was to test whether human females had a tendency to select mates with compatible immune systems based on their smell. This behavior had been observed in laboratory animals, including small mammals. The study found that human females overwhelmingly preferred the odors of men with different immunities than their own. If girls can use sweaty shirts to size up potential mates, then what better place to put yourself out there than at the gym?
Putting Science to the Test
With a tight-fitting Under Armour shirt and bulging biceps, my target walked by me without a glance. I tossed out one of my lines (go Claudia!). Like a deer in the headlights, he froze. Sensing an opening, I followed up with the second line: – the one I had been rehearsing for this exact moment. He spun around, and I could see he was on his cell phone. “Hang on, I’m gonna call you back,” he said.
How to Meet Singles at the Gym:
1. The Icebreaker
My first field test was going remarkably well. This was no fluke. I had started by asking for a favor. “Excuse me, could you help me out with something?” According to psychologists, what happens when you ask for and receive a favor from a stranger, or even an enemy, is a shift in the attitude of the person doing you the favor. Described as an example of cognitive dissonance, it is more commonly known as the Ben Franklin effect. The favor you request can be as inconsequential as asking someone to watch your stuff for a couple of minutes. If he or she agrees to this modest request, they are already unconsciously shifting their attitudes toward you to align with their actions.
2. The One-Two Combination
My second line, the one that I had been rehearsing in my head, was short, to the point and, most importantly, out of the ordinary. “I’m a writer, and I’m doing a short piece on how to talk to anyone at the gym. Are there any do’s or don’ts you’ve noticed when it comes to talking to girls here?” Now, I had a built-in advantage of actually having an article to write, but the setup was perfect. I had handed him a challenge and, as a bonus, the subject was subtly flirty. His attitude had already shifted from, “Who is this chick?” to, “I’m gonna call you back”. He was ready to talk. Oh, and did I mention the biceps?
3. Location, Location, Location
I had also done several small but important things in an attempt to massively up my odds of successfully talking to this guy. I’d like to take credit for being some sort of super smooth, player-type chick, but all I did was set the stage for a successful approach.
First, I was engaged in a friendly conversation with the guy behind the front desk. I wasn’t some loner stalking random people, ready to pounce with drool running down my chin. I was dressed for a workout, and I was basically one of the gang.
Second, my body language was open. I was relaxed, I was smiling and I made eye contact. I had nothing to lose. I had also stalked out an excellent location for the approach. Catching someone near the entrance to a gym, when they’re on their way in or out, is a great way to engage them in casual conversation. In contrast to if I had interrupted him with 20 questions while he was in the middle of his workout (he might have been less cool).
If you keep in mind that the #1 reason for going to the gym for both males and females alike is to get in shape, then knowing how to talk to someone at the gym is a lot like talking to someone anywhere else. Keep it fun, keep it flirty and know how to pick the right time and place to start your casual conversation.
Have you ever tried talking to someone at the gym? If so, how did it go?