Is it impossible to pick someone up at the gym? No, it’s just very, very hard. But if anyone can do it, you can! You totally can.
The thing about the gym is, no one thinks they want to be disturbed. People want to get in, get their workout done, and get out of there. Additionally, (if you’re a chick) you might feel a little self-conscious about, you know, dripping with sweat and wheezing. You might not want to be approached by anyone who isn’t a paramedic.
Not trying to discourage you! But that’s just what we’re working with here. The good news is, sometimes it’s easier to pick people up in places where they’re not expecting to be picked up.
And there are success stories! All of the pick-up strategies below have actually worked before. Also, Adrien Grenier works out at the Brooklyn Heights Crunch, so, you know, we’ve been practicing.
The absolute simplest way to pick someone up at the gym is to engage in some innocent eye flirtation with them. When you make accidental (well, faux accidental) eye-contact with someone, you can tell pretty quickly whether or not they are receptive to you. If someone notices you looking at them but ignores you, doesn’t smile, and doesn’t look back, they aren’t interested. Move on.
But if you and the object of your affection make frequent eye contact through an extended period of time (whether it’s just a workout, or maybe a month of seeing each other), then all you really have to do is one day work up the courage to go say “Hi.” Yep, just “hi.” Not so complicated or intimidating, is it?
Caveat: This pick-up strategy is so simple, but it’s important that you know how to read the signals! No creepily staring at someone — a few furtive glances to see if there’s any reciprocity, and if not — STOP LOOKING! The goal is to break the ice, not get someone to change their gym schedule in order to avoid you.
Once, in spin class, my co-worker Erin, emboldened by the song “Red Light Special” and dim lighting, turned to the guy on the bike next to her and said “Race you.” And, he did, and then after the class they talked, and then they went out!
Crazy simple! And really, no downside. Worst case scenario: you get a better workout. Best case scenario: you get a date.
Ask For A Spot
This one works best for girls or for gay guys (a guy asking a girl for a spot would work if she’s really strong?). But most people won’t mind helping someone out for a few minutes in the weight room, and it’s a perfectly normal request. You can make small talk during sets, and if the other party doesn’t seem interested, then at the end of the reps you leave it at that.
Correct Their Form
We’re kind of in disagreement about this one in the office. Some of us would feel put off if a stranger corrected our form while running or lifting weights, while some of us would find it friendly and helpful.
So, if you decide to do this, maybe check to make sure they want help, by simply saying, well, “Do you need any help there?” if they seem to be particularly struggling. Or just be REALLY really nice about it. “If you keep your elbows straight you’ll feel it so much more in the biceps!” (That probably makes no sense but, just go with me here.) Then, if they take the correction, compliment them!
Caveat: DO NOT TOUCH THEM! Never touch unless you are invited. If you really need to place your hand on their body to demonstrate a move, ask first: “Do you mind?”
Ask About The Class
Again, this is just a way to break the ice and not necessarily a pick-up strategy, but if you see someone you like coming out of a class you can easily ask about the class, the instructor, when it meets, or whatever. And if you click, you can TAKE the class, and then you’ll already know each other, and then you can talk after class, etc etc etc…
Offer To Put Away Their Weights
One of my female coworkers had a guy offer to put her weights away for her when she was done. Nice move! It’s chivalrous, without implying anything about her weakness (if she’s been LIFTING the weights she can obviously put them back, but that’s annoying). It’s just a nice little gesture that will really get you noticed.