MSN Dating & Personals

Gym flirting 101

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Sure, you go to the gym to get fit—pumped pecs and a six-pack are big incentives. But there are others that motivate you to stay, like lots of buff, sweaty bodies and similarly-minded men. Suddenly feeling giddy over the hottie lifting weights on the next bench is actually natural—it’s a result of exercise-related endorphins. “Physical exercise itself is emotionally arousing,” says David Givens, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Nonverbal Studies and author of Love Signals. “Plus, lifting weights together puts you on the same psychological wavelength, like dancing together to the same beat.” You can see why it’s easy for your brain to equate these feelings with attraction at the gym. So as long as you’re there, you might as well meet someone, right?

Just like with your exercise regimen, some moves yield better results than others. “There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to approach someone at the gym,” says celebrity personal trainer Wini Linguvic, author of Lean, Long & Strong. “I’ve seen it all and trust me, going up to someone in the middle of a heavy bench press is not the time.” So what is the best method of meeting? Read on.

Use the mirror
“There are usually mirrors everywhere in a gym, so it’s easy to tell who’s checking you out,” says Jody Reynard of New York, NY. Your best bet? Stare at the object of your affection until you catch them looking back. Then nod and give a warm smile. “At least 98 percent of men will be more open to your approach because you acknowledged them first,” says Rick Lasley of Palm Springs, CA. “Follow up with a quick compliment like ‘Nice pecs’ or ‘You look great.’ If there’s interest, the conversation will naturally evolve.” Just make sure you’re showing admiration, not staring creepily. And definitely don’t practice posing or check your own form too much—it’s an immediate turn-off.

Get the spot
Looking for an innocent way to get closer? Offer to give a spot, or ask for an assist on your next set. “One of my favorite lines is ‘Can I get you to spot me when you’re finished? You look like someone who can be trusted with my life in his hands,’” says Lasley. Of course, this only works if you are actually lifting a weight that’s heavy enough for you to need help cranking out 12 to 15 reps—otherwise it’s a clear come-on. But don’t pile on extra pounds in an effort to impress, which can backfire and lead to injury. The idea is to share a power smoothie at the juice bar afterward, not share a ride to the ER.

Try a little class
Literally! Group exercise tends to be more social in nature than pumping iron. “A great way to meet people at the gym is to take advantage of any classes offered,” says Linguvic. “There are always a few minutes before and after to ask someone if they’ve taken this class before or how long they’ve been a member of the gym. And your conversation won’t interrupt his workout.” Another bonus? If you become a class regular, you’ll see each other consistently, which makes it easier to carry on a continued flirtation (perfect if you’re shy and need time to work up the courage to start a conversation).

Ask to work in
If the gym is crowded, as often happens during prime hours, you can coyly get closer to the object of your affections by asking to work in on the piece of equipment where he’s currently toiling. Proper gym etiquette means he shouldn’t say “no,” though if he does, he’s probably not interested and you didn’t want to meet him anyway. “Asking to work in with someone opens the door for the person to respond in a positive or inviting way,” says Adam Tarver of Boston, MA. “Suddenly, the two of you are in the same vicinity without having to find a reason.” Tarver suggests that if there seems to be a little chemistry in the first exchange, chat about the other person’s workout: Ask which body parts he’s working, whether it’s a heavy day or light day, did a trainer show him this exercise, etc. “It’s a great way to get close to the person and resting between sets provides a perfect opportunity for conversation,” he says.

Flirt with flattery
“If you want to flirt with a guy, especially if his body is good in places you want to improve upon yourself, it’s easy to approach him and ask for workout advice,” says Timothy Ellis of Atlanta, GA. “Gay men are always open to sharing their workout tips with anyone who asks!” Lasley agrees that flattery will get you everywhere. “Most fit people will happily respond to questions about time management, the discipline it took to look the way they do, or how they train,” he says. “Say something like, ‘I’ve been trying for three months to get my abs flat, can you show me what you do?’” Who can say “no” to a compliment like that?

Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a New York City-based freelance writer and former National Competitive Aerobics Champion whose writing has appeared in such publications as Physical, Fitness and Prevention.

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