In the shadow of the fabled Pier, on the expansive shores of gorgeous Santa Monica, sits California’s original fitness destination–Muscle Beach. A playground for adults, complete with rings, parallel bars, and gymnastics mats, surrounded by bike and running paths, this workout hotspot was located directly outside of my hotel on a recent visit to Santa Monica. Each sunrise and sundown, regulars would descend on the scene for their daily sweat. So close to the action, I couldn’t help but notice a few things about the pick-up scene on Muscle Beach. Namely, the guys were going about it all wrong. While the gym is a natural place to meet girls, here are a few friendly words of wisdom to those hoping to achieve pick-up-at-the-gym nirvana. With luck, you’ll score a date. Maybe, if you’re really lucky, you’ll even score two.

Rule #1: Never interrupt a girl’s workout to introduce yourself. First of all, most girls take their workouts just as seriously as you do. Plus, girls are often self-conscious about how they look while they’re working out. They don’t want to be interrupted mid-run (sweating profusely, breathing heavily), mid-lunge (positioned awkwardly), or mid-lift (facially contorted) to respond to you. The Fix: Wait until after their workout is over before actually making a move, then comment on how you noticed them running, lunging, or lifting impressively. You’ll definitely earn some extra points.

Rule #2: Don’t wear tight clothes that show your package. Conversely, don’t wear short shorts. Feel like rocking the electric blue spandex unitard? The bike shorts without the bike? Think again. Girls don’t want to get to know your package before they get to know you. Besides, those form-fitting get-ups are a little Mr. Universe creepy, and chances are you aren’t Governor Schwarzenegger. On the other end of the spectrum, short shorts elicit the same reaction. Plus, there’s fear of wardrobe malfunction on sitting down for bicep work. They call ’em Daisy Dukes for a reason; short shorts are for girls. The Fix: Work out in loose fitting gym shorts or pants and a cool t-shirt or tank. If you’re cut in just the right places, it’s evident without the Lycra enhancement.

Rule #3: Keep the grunt level to a minimum. Are you one of those guys who gives good grunt? Do you bellow deeper and louder with each added 10-pound weight? Turn down the volume, dude. Not only is this kind of behavior unnecessary and unattractive, it’s downright annoying to the people working out around you. Besides, girls scare easily and they aren’t looking for a preview of what happens in the bedroom, especially when it’s dramatically noisy. The Fix: It’s easy; don’t grunt. If you can’t help but emit noise while you work out, close your mouth and swallow the sound, and above all, don’t exaggerate it.

Rule #4: Do not take Zumba classes. You’ve seen the hottest of hotties six weeks in a row. She attends the 7 PM Zumba class on Tuesday nights. You think you can get her attention by signing up for the class. STOP! Cease and desist. No matter how coordinated you think you are, stick with something less, well, girly. There’s no reason for you to be shaking your ass to Beyonce on a Tuesday night surrounded by aerobicizing chicks. The Fix: Catch her on her way into or out of Zumba, not during. If you’re going to take a class, go with kickboxing or boot camp. Check if there’s one of these classes before or after Zumba, and approach her on the studio changeover.

Rule #5: Make sure you smell clean. Do you think it’s important to cologne up before you hit the treadmill? Do you prefer going au naturale when you work out, basking in your own aroma? Avoid both situations. Girls like guys who smell good, but they aren’t looking to choke on lingering musk oil or body odor. Less is more, but nothing creates disaster, especially in a humid gym atmosphere. The Fix: A life rule as well as a gym rule; smell clean. Don’t douse yourself in Drakkar Noir (or any) cologne, but make sure you wear a lightly fragrant deodorant.