This article is my portion of the January 2012 “He Said/She Said” Dating Column from DC Life Magazine.The “she” perspective will be in the final article and is from a DC Area Matchmaker.
Edit: DC Life is a bit behind with the January issue. I’ll post a link when the issue is out.
Clients often ask me how to meet women at the gym, since it is a place where they spend a lot of time. Plus, generally they share common interests (fitness and living a healthy lifestyle) with other people at the gym. So, how do you meet women at the gym? The gym is a social environment, a place where people spend a lot of time and often know the staff and other people who are there working out. Below are my tips for meeting women at the gym:
Choose your gym carefully. You want a gym that meets your needs and interests. This could mean joining a gym with pools, running tracks, saunas, basketball courts, specific classes (see below), rock climbing walls, etc. The happier you are with your overall gym experience, the more successful you will be meeting people there. And, you could have fitness preferences and conversation topics in common with a potential match–you both like to swim, run, rock climb, or practice yoga. Tour the gym to see if it has the equipment and facilities you need, and see if the type of women you are interested in work out there.
Dress well. In a gym, I wear cool t-shirts (as far as design, logo, or message), but that isn’t the only way to go. You want to show that you have style. Don’t wear worn out or ratty sneakers or clothes. I have seen people wearing clothes with stained armpits or holes and that is not the way to go.
Get to know the staff. If you want personal training to jump start your workout, consider scheduling time with a trainer. Many gyms give free sessions with trainers to get you to join; some even offer discounted memberships and/or sessions with trainers through daily deal websites like LivingSocial.com. Personal training sessions put you in more of a direct client-trainer relationship with the staff member, making him or her more interested in helping you in general. These trainers might even introduce you to people, or give you intel without you even asking. Be friendly with all the employees you encounter (trainers/instructors, assistants, front desk, etc.); it will be helpful when women see you getting along well with the staff, especially (but not exclusively) female staff.
Talk to women you are interested in. You do not have to start a conversation based on working out. Do not start conversations with “excuse me” (because you are then assuming that you are interrupting them) but simply start the conversation with a situational topic or general theme. My gym conversations tend to be about music (what is playing, if I can change the music, what I’m listening to on headphones, what the other person is listening to on headphones), TV (what is on it, if I can change it, similar shows to what is on the TV, new shows), or food (because I’m into food), but you could just as easily talk about movies (probably not horror), hiking, adventure sports, or a variety of other subjects. You are leading the conversation, but if a subject consistently doesn’t work, try new ones. Humor works as well as long as it comes off as natural and not forced or nervous. Some more specific info about talking to people at the gym:
Talk to women in different areas of the gym to see what works for you. I have had success talking to women who are on the next treadmill, as well as women on weight machines near me, with the former being longer conversations with people who often would rather talk to you than be bored on a treadmill, and the latter being shorter conversations that you drop and pick up again as you move around the gym. You can also talk to them again another day. I’ll pretty much talk to someone anywhere (except areas that are for women only), with the understanding that some of the conversations will be longer than others.
Pay attention to how responsive she is. If she is really into her workout, she may not be responsive to conversation, but may actually be more open talk at other times, such as the beginning or end of her workout, during a break between different types of exercises, or on another day.
Attend classes. Gyms have a variety of coed classes, which can be a good way to meet people. Check out a variety of classes (yoga, jujitsu, strength/flexibility, body pump, etc.) and see what works for you, both for your workout and meeting people. I know a lot of women go to Zumba and Pilates classes, but I’ve never attended those particular classes. Show up to the classes early so that you can chit-chat with others while waiting for the class to begin.
Have a plan. Think about possible dates or activities that you can do with her if she is responsive. Knowing where good nearby cafes, bars, and restaurants are can be useful. You can also take her to events or plan activities such as hiking.
Get to know other gym-goers. Be friendly and talk to people even if you aren’t interested in a date with them. You don’t want to talk people to death (especially if they are not responsive), but be friendly. Keeping a relatively stable workout schedule will help you see and talk to the same people, but you can also run out of new people to meet that way (unless it is a large gym). I go to the gym very often and without a set schedule, which allows me to meet a larger variety of people.
I hope this column improves your success and comfort level meeting potential dates at the gym. The more you practice being social (regardless of environment), the easier meeting people becomes.