There’s no doubt about it, the gym can be a great place to meet new people, and from time to time, even those of the romantic variety. So if you’re crushing on that hottie on the treadmill or in your Crossfit class, you’re not alone – gym crushes abound in the natural world. After all, it makes sense: the gym is home to some of the finest examples of physical achievement you’ll ever see, plus you’ve already got something in common: living an active, healthy life.
So far, it looks pretty alluring, but there’s one thing you need to consider, and it’s important: do you really want to do anything about it? You already know that a gym crush is all about fantasy – without having even spoken to them, what else could it be? One of the best things about having a gym crush is that it can motivate you to work out, even on the days you don’t feel like working out. In fact, your gym crush has that near-magical ability to force you to tap into those reserves of strength and energy you didn’t even know you had, usually around the time they walk by… And in my opinion, that’s their greatest strength.
In other words, I heartily approve of having a gym crush. Two thumbs up. Who doesn’t need a beautiful person to give your workout that extra oomph. But should you approach them? Hmmm, that’s debatable. Some people are of the opinion that you shouldn’t. The reasoning goes as follows: why ruin the fantasy? Use your gym crush to fuel your workouts a bit further – ‘mire them from afar. Approach them? No. Besides, the fantasy – the casual relationship between the two of you (which exists in your head) – is probably better as a fantasy.
Still… over here, part of our philosophy is about having fun, keeping things positive, taking intelligent risks and making the most of the many opportunities life presents to you each and every single day. And as the wise Wayne Gretzky said: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Preach! The silver lining is that there are lots of anecdotal stories of people meeting their boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands or wives at the gym. In fact, it could be a great match because you’ll both be into living the healthy, active life. Ah, sweet romance.
To put it another way: what if your gym crush did go on to become your significant other? Should you have approached them then? Absolutely, in fact I’m sure even the die hard I’m-at-the-gym-to-workout-only! proponents would be hard pressed to disagree with that. Now can anyone guarantee that will happen? Of course not, but here’s the rub: the only way you’ll ever know is if you do it.
But, before you go rushing in with all pistols a-blazin’ there are a couple of things you need to know. Clearly, this is a situation you have to approach carefully – at least if you plan on going to the gym (or your yoga class, or your crossfit class etc.) for longer than a day. So unless you want to reschedule all your workouts, you’ve got to approach your gym-crush situation with style. So if you’re going to get to know your gym crush, you’ve got to do it right. Allow me introduce you to the do’s and don’ts of approaching your gym crush, so you can do just that.
Do: Make it about the workout.
The first rule of Gym Crush Club* is that it’s all about the workout. Actually, that’s the only rule. Repeat after me: it’s all about the workout. Don’t make going to gym about your gym crush. Yes, they enhance your motivation, and they’re great eye-candy, but the main reason you work out (and theirs too) is to be healthy and get the best physique you can have. If you focus on the workout, then regardless of what happens with your gym crush, you will still be healthier and look sexier. Remember, you can take your workouts seriously, and still have fun. So make it about the workout – you’re doing it for you. And if you do, soon you’ll be someone else’s gym crush.
*Apologies to Chuck Palahniuk.
Don’t: Be weird / creepy / stalkerish.
This is so important it really cannot be overemphasized: don’t be weird, creepy or stalkerish. While it’s fine to admire your gym crush’s body, after all they’ve worked hard on it, remember that there are mirrors everywhere, so if you don’t want to be caught staring every 10 minutes – don’t stare. Don’t stalk them around the gym, that’s creepy. The idea is: you want to be as relaxed and as casual as possible… and the way you do that is by not over-analyzing the situation and not making it a big deal in your mind – get some perspective: if you were looking at the situation from the outside in, it wouldn’t be a big deal – just another conversation.
Do: Pay attention to body-language.
If you’ll forgive me for stating the obvious, but the fact of the matter is that some people are open to being approached and some aren’t. So how do you know if your gym crush is open to meeting you? The number one signal is if you both make eye contact and hold it for longer than usual. If this happens 3 or more times, that’s probably a good sign. And if they smile at you, that’s as green a light you can get. On the other hand, your gym crush could be so wrapped up in their workout that they just don’t notice you. Even if you don’t get any of the obvious signs they still may be open to meeting you… and the only way to find out is to take action. Either way you win, if they’re not interested you can forget about them, and if they are… who knows?
Do: Be friendly.
The real secret to getting to know your gym crush… is to just be friendly. When you see them make eye contact and smile. The next time you can do the same and throw in a ‘hi’. Be friendly and build it up slowly, there’s no need to try rushing things – just be friendly and let it happen naturally. Later you can throw out some compliments when you see them. Soon, you’ll be having longer conversations, and from there you can gauge their interest and move it forward if they look like they’re open to it. In fact, they may be the one to ask you! One more thing. If you want to be approached, make yourself approachable – smile, be friendly, have fun… and remember the unspoken rule: if you’re wearing headphones, you don’t want to be bothered. Think of them as those ‘do not disturb’ signs you see at hotels.
Don’t: Try hard.
Don’t try to impress your gym crush, don’t try to get them to like you. If they do they do and if they don’t – that’s life. It’s far better to just be friendly and natural and take it from there. Besides, you’re a good catch, why would you need to impress them anyway? Just have a normal conversation without gimmicks.
Do: Position yourself for opportunity.
To seize opportunity you’ve got to be positioned correctly. If your gym crush is in the weight section, start strength training (it’ll make you healthier and sexier too)… if they’re in a class, get yourself into that class. Classes are a great way to meet people, including your gym crush, because they’re much more social (especially before they start and when they finish) – it’d be easy to transition into conversation and grabbing a juice and taking it from there. Another way to approach it is to ask them if you can work in with them between sets, from there it’s easy to make conversation. Finally, to make a slight change to the famous quote: 80% of success is showing up… to the right places. And for the love of all that’s good, when you do show up, don’t spend the whole time ogling your crush… that’s stalker territory – it will creep your crush out.
Do: Time it right.
In life, timing can make all the difference. Never interrupt someone who is in the middle of a set, or giving it maximum intensity on the treadmill. It’s dangerous and shows a lack of social finesse – so don’t do it. Between sets is ok (just don’t expect them to be super conversational when they’re busy recovering) or if they’re walking on the treadmill. Basically, use some common sense at picking the time you approach them.
Don’t: Drag the conversation on.
When you finally get talking to your gym crush, don’t drag the conversation on, especially in the beginning. You’re busy, they’re busy, just make it brief to begin with – short and sweet. If things progress, you’ll get a feel for how the conversation is going. In fact, you could even say upfront: “I’ve got to get back to my workout in a second, but…” just to let them know that you aren’t going to drag the conversation on.
Do: Take it out of the gym.
If things are going well, then eventually one of you is going to have to suggest you take it out the gym. It can be as simple as getting a coffee, or juice, or fill in the blank – it’s up to you, but whatever it is, one of you is going to have to do it… and don’t expect your gym crush to be the one to do it. Just gauge the situation and if it feels right go with it.
Do: Drop it if they’re not interested.
Hey, you win some, you lose some. The most important thing you can do if they’re not interested is to simply drop it – it’s not personal. You took the small risk and you’re a stronger person now than you were – at the very least you can move on without the regret of not taking action. Stay positive, stay friendly and keep moving forward – they may not have been right for you, but someone else is.
So that’s a wrap. Take things slowly and build the relationship over time; when you’re friendly and let things happen naturally, the worst that can happen is that you make new friends.
Do you have a gym crush? Or have you? What happened? Let us know in the comments below!