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Take it from these top female trainers: Effectively picking up a girl at the gym can be more challenging than the toughest workout. Luckily, similar rules apply: Take it slow, don’t overstretch, and be realistic about your goals. Here, the best tips that’ll make her change her focus from working out to going out—with you.
1. Become a Regular. People tend to hit the gym at similar times, and she’ll be more likely to want to have a conversation with you if she recognizes you than if you’re a total stranger. And the best way to get to know someone is to add some classes to your schedule. “I’m a Spin instructor, and I always see participants chatting before class,” says Jenna Vozella, who is also a personal trainer and fitness blogger at A Fit Girl’s Martini. “Ask if she’s taken the class before, if there are other instructors she recommends, or if there’s a healthy place to get a smoothie or snack around the gym.”
2. Don’t Compliment Her Body. Yes, Lycra leaves little to the imagination, but her mindset when she’s wearing running gear in the park is very different than when she’s wearing spandex in the club. “Even a well-meaning compliment can catch a woman off guard and make her feel weird,” says Stephanie Coburn, USA Triathlon Certified Coach for JackRabbit Sports. “Instead, initiate a low-key conversation about training, local races, or anything that allows you to actually have a back-and-forth conversation. That way, she won’t be put on the spot and you’ll both be able to determine whether you have things in common.”
3. Compliment Her Outfit Instead. At the gym, your conversation entryway might be literally written on her back. According to Jessica Green and Meghan Reynolds, founders of Brooklyn’s HotBirdRunning, asking about her outfit’s a good call. If she’s wearing a race t-shirt, ask her if she did it and what it was like. Or if any gear stands out—a cool top, a bright headband, whatever—say something like ‘I’m trying to find a gift for my cousin/sister/friend, and she has similar taste. Where did you get your stuff?’ It initiates a conversation without putting her on the spot.”
4. Buddy Up. “I teach co-ed boot camp, and I’ve had more than a few guys get in the back row while we’re doing mountain climbers so they can ‘check out the view.’ This technique is … less than ideal,” says Famisha La’Pree J-Millman, certified personal trainer and bootcamp instructor at Glisten Girls Fitness. “Instead, when you’re going into a hard set, head over to the person you’re interested in and ask if you want to work on tricep dips together so you can complete the full set.”
5. Impress With Your Personality, Not Your Pecs. You may think lifting a massive amount will catch her eye, but chances are, she’s not even paying attention, leaving you at risk for injury…or embarrassment. “Leave your ego at the door and actually go up and talk to her if you’re interested!” says Jolynn Toma, personal trainer and fitness blogger at Lift Pray Love.
6. Ask Her For Help. “If she’s near the treadmill or elliptical, ask if she can help you figure out the buttons on the machine—say you usually are in the weight room or taking a certain class, but wanted to try this out,” says Nikki Glor, personal trainer and author of The Slimnastics Workout. “Then, you can ask about her workout routine. Just wait until she’s either stepping on or getting off the machine, or else you run the risk of annoying her.”
7. Dress to Impress. “If you don’t look and smell good, don’t even waste your time starting a conversation,” says Glor. “That means no wifebeaters and no shorts that show your assets. A clean t-shirt, baggy shorts, and white socks are key.”
8. Don’t Be a Know It All. “I can’t stand when a guy tries to correct my form, especially when he has no idea I can do more pull-ups them him,” says Rachel Buschert, a personal trainer at Rachelvfitness. “Instead, push the ego aside and find something that you can honestly compliment her. And be sincere about it, like: ‘Wow I don’t how you can do a plank for so long, they are so hard!’ If she smiles, you know you can begin a friendly conversation. If she rolls her eyes, she’s not into you, so don’t push it!”
9. Get Your Timing Right. “It can be annoying for anyone to approach you when you’re in the middle of a set or a workout, so the best time to make a move is right when she’s finished,” says Sarah Ponn, Fitness Director at SurfSetFitness. “And ask for advice! Say you’ve noticed her doing x workout, or wondered about y move. Showing a genuine interest in what she’s doing is flattering, not cheesy. I met my boyfriend at the gym, so it can be done!”