Men like to think of themselves as logical, well reasoned creatures – and such a rational mindset freely extends to matters of romance. We're well aware that our character traits, hobbies and lifestyle choices need to sync well with the special someone we’re hoping to meet – and that time is sparse in the modern world. If you're a man who works out, it's reasonable to assume that the gym is a good place to look for a partner. Who said men couldn't multitask?
The problem, as lifestyle expert and relationship coach Rebecca Fredericks puts it, is that men don't always maximise their opportunities when looking for romance on the gym floor.
"We get it, we get it", Fredericks says, with a hint of exasperation. "The gym is somewhere where you feel that you look your best. You’re guns are on display for us all to see. You’re showing how very strong and manly you are without your friends taking the mickey out of you. What’s more, women who go to the gym obviously enjoy working out and probably maintain a healthy lifestyle, just like you. We can see what your thinking.
"The reality though is that it might not work out the way you planned. At the gym, we women are on a mission. For many of us, this mission has the goal of working as hard as we can and burning as many calories as possible. In order to attain this goal we need to focus, we need to concentrate, and we need to sweat. And, generally, this means that we’re not thinking about men, dating or looking in any way attractive."
Fredericks points out that many women don't have romance on the mind when they step onto the gym floor. "When we are on the lookout for a new boyfriend, we like to feel that we’re looking great, wearing clothes that flatter our bodies as well as being in control of how red, puffy and sweaty our face is. We want to feel confident, and in control. The gym just isn’t that place for most of us.
"So, if you try and strike up a conversation whilst we’re on the cross-trainer, going for a PB on the deadlift, heaving ourselves into a pull up, or even filling up our water bottles mid session, we’re unlikely to be at our most receptive, friendly or flirty. You might even get snapped at – but try not to take it too personally. Any meanness is probably down to the fact that we're embarrassed about the unseemly sweat stain on our pale grey leggins that's steadily spreading from our crotch to our knees."
Does that mean we're destined to accept a reality in which we know we are surrounded by likely matches but duly keep schtum for fear of calling attention to their sweat patches? I'm not sure that fits too well with the male psyche – and besides, we all sweat and smell in the gym, right?
Fredericks says that men shouldn't ban themselves from approaching someone in the gym – but they should at least pay attention to four simple guidelines ...
1. Get Your Timing Right
"It’s all about timing. Trying to start a conversation whilst we’re in the middle of a cardio blast or a weights set just isn’t sensible. Even if we’re open to a friendly chat, we’ll be out of breath and not able – or willing – to give you our full attention. The optimum time to approach us will be on our way into or out of the gym, post shower. That way, I promise you, you’ll get a much warmer response."
2. Focus on Content
"Unless we ask for your advice, it’s best not to offer it. I know you think you’re being helpful and showing your skill and expertise, but it’s just a bit annoying. Avoid trying to start a conversation with: ‘If you want to really target your glutes you should squat a little lower’; ‘You know, the bench press is much more effective than the chest press machine’; ‘you look really sexy doing bicep curls’; or the dreaded ‘Ah you sweat a lot at the gym too!’
"Steer yourself onto safer, yet still relevant subjects such as how many sets we have left on the machine, whether we’re using the t-bar attachment or whether we know of any local sporting events or teams you could join.
"Alternatively you could really shake things up and ask our advice on how to do something. "
3. Look Good
"If you’re going to approach us, please make sure that you look and smell good. If you’ve just done a 5k run on the treadmill, it’s probably not the best time. Wear clothes that make you look your best and don’t forget the deodorant and aftershave."
4. Bide Your Time
"Don’t approach a girl on your, or her, first gym visit. We’re much more likely to give you a warm response if we’ve seen you a few times, otherwise you’re just a stranger in the gym.
For the same reason, sharing a class can be a great way to meet someone. It means you see each other regularly and you have a shared experience to talk about."
Need some direction with your fitness efforts? You can request a bespoke exercise and nutrition plan from Scott at www.scottlaidler.com