Who could resist the tight yoga pants, short running shorts, smoothly toned muscles, and the flushed cheeks of girls in the middle of a workout? Not us – and we’re betting not you either. Make the wrong move, however, and you might not just get shot down; you might get labeled as the gym perv, or even (in extreme cases) be asked to terminate your membership at that particular gym. That doesn’t mean gym ladies have to be off limits... just that you have to respect a certain, slightly different, set of pick up rules.
Rule 1: Never Interrupt
Just as you wouldn’t butt into a conversation a woman is having with friends at a bar, don’t interject your compliments or introductions while she’s in the middle of a set or on the treadmill or other cardio machine. Remember she came here for the workout; not for you.
Instead, catch her while she’s switching machines (offering to set up her weights is a nice ice breaker), or offer to re-rack her weights when she’s done. If she’s a cardio goddess, wait until she’s finished (don’t hover) and then ask if she ever runs trails or outdoors. Perhaps she’d like a run buddy.
TIP: If a girl’s got her headphones or ear buds on full-time, it typically means she doesn’t want to be bothered. Your best bet is to catch her as she arrives or leaves the gym.
Rule 2: Never Stalk
We’re not talking about the legal definition of stalking (although you should definitely avoid that too), we mean following a girl from one piece of equipment to another all through the gym. Either talk to her or don’t. Shadowing her during her workout will only get you classified as a first-class creep. Similarly, if you must approach a woman as you exit the gym, don’t follow her to her car. Women are trained to watch out for thieves and sexual predators who like to approach women when they’re alone in parking lots. Don’t be that guy.
Rule 3: Don’t Offer to Spot
She’s not an idiot. If she needs someone to spot her, she’ll ask. But more likely, she’s either got a personal trainer or training partner just outside your view. Even more likely, she’s not doing weights heavy enough to require a spot (few ladies do). A better offer is to adjust benches, cables, or make things more convenient. Then back off. She’ll remember your kind gesture and be more receptive to an introduction or other conversation some other time.
TIP: The exception to this rule is if you notice she’s clearly doing an exercise wrong or has an error in her form. Politely approach her and say something like, “You know, you may find it easier if you use and overhand grip,” or, “I noticed you were dropping your wrists there. You’ll keep the bicep engaged the whole time if you keep your elbows at 90 degrees.” And again, walk away. If she’s interested in more advice, she’ll come to you.
Rule 4: Never, Ever, Cat Call
Ask your local construction workers when the last time was that a woman leapt into their arms for whistling, making obscene gestures, or yelling out lewd comments. That’s all the evidence you need to know that similar behavior at the gym will yield similar results. Even if she’s the most perfect creature you’ve ever seen, the gym is not the time or place to tell her. Save that kind of talk for after you’ve gotten a few dates. A better approach is to compliment her on her work ethic. Say you noticed her pushing herself on the treadmill or that she really rocked out that last set of reps on the weight machine. And then step back and gauge her response. If she’s cheerful and receptive to the compliment, go ahead and follow up with a few more questions like whether she’s training for something specific (like a marathon) or whether or not she’s into any sports. What happens next will evolve naturally.