In days of auld, men worked tirelessly at hard jobs full of physical labor, hollowing out peat bogs or colliding at high speed in large groups for fierce melee (see, e.g., Braveheart). Meanwhile, the women were kept at home, flatfooted and pregnant. Thus was survival: muscle-bound men and rotund women. Thanks to Title IX and the victory of rational thought, women have been unchained from the hearth; and we can all exercise four to five times a week with an admixture of weight training and cardio to achieve the gorgeous definition and lean, tight musculature of a fourteenth century male serf.
Gyms and exercise facilities, once called “sweat shops” before that playful moniker was ruined by Chinese children and Nike, have popped up like sexy whack-a-moles all over America. These “pump houses” provide a wonderful opportunity to hone your natural beauty while meeting potential mates who also have their priorities in order.
Nonetheless, we recognize that even the most modern romantic can struggle to insert a conversation between butterfly curls and Romanian dead-lifts. Accordingly, TLMRIS lunges, sprints, and duck walks to the rescue with some low-calorie food for thought regarding romance at the gym.
Yoga classes provide the easiest prospects of meeting someone. To fascinate the object of your affection, the attractive instructor (obviously), position yourself well within their vision. As in all things, seeing is not as important as being seen. Let them be enchanted by the perfect asymmetry of your Revolved Half Moon, or pique their interest with your own interpretation of the One-Armed King Pigeon.
However, never complete the Half Frog. Given your previous masterfulness, even slight difficulty will quickly gather the attention of the instructor. When they ask if you need help, reply firmly: “No.” Upon the next cycle through Sthira Bhaga, perform the Half Frog exquisitely. Said instructor will inevitably ask you to share the secret of your instantaneous self-improvement, perhaps over a juice smoothie or cavatappi pasta with Sicilian pork and sausage ragù (the latter only after, never before, any yoga class). Your response to this question: “Yes.” Once alone, feign interest in their offers of assistance. People love to feel needed, and only by granting them that feeling can you take it away when necessary.
By far the most difficult area of any gym to interact socially, the free-weights approach is not for beginners. Similar to meeting someone at the grocery store, the best method is to carefully stalk your prey and “accidentally” come upon the same upright row Cybex machine as they do. Playfully break the ice by mocking the two men grunting loudly as they spot each other’s squat thrusts, or by suggesting you both use the upright row machine at the same time.
Make the friendly gesture of letting them go first while you get a drink of water and check your hair. Returning to the machine for each consecutive exercise will afford many opportunities to chat. For maximum rapport building, three sets of friendly banter with six to eight repetitions of playful flirting are recommended.
Finish with a hard interval of suggesting shared post-exercise protein shakes at the gym juice bar. No matter your level of fitness expertise, never offer unsolicited exercise advice. The time to change someone into the person you want them to be will come, but it is not the day you meet. Additionally, under no circumstances ever tell someone to “squeeze at the top.”
Sometimes, weather and geography permitting, it is preferable to leave the gym and run around the park. The best tempo for such a run is the “suitor interval.” Jog at an easy speed until you notice another attractive fitness enthusiast coming toward you. At this point, sprint. Your chest is held high; your legs are long. Your mouth is closed because breathing through your mouth is gross.
As you approach them again on a second lap, eye contact is appropriate. The next lap will permit a high-five (note: this and after an awesome make out session are the only times a high-five is appropriate). Proper execution of suitor intervals will ensure your target is willing to stop and talk when you interrupt their run in an interesting way (i.e., “Can you help me find my dog?” [actual dog not required]). Should you feel bold, simply turn and start running with them. Like life, your run is long, and it’s always better with a partner.
EXCEPTION: Never hit on someone using a treadmill. Your much-wanted advances will distract them to the loss of their footing. When they miss the belt and fly backwards at 6.5 mph, you will not be able stop laughing long enough to make sure they are OK.