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Looking For a Date? Skip the Apps and Join a Gym

Looking For a Date? Skip the Apps and Join a Gym

February 07, 2024

Looking For a Date? Skip the Apps and Join a Gym

Ryan C.



I have to admit, when I first started committing myself to fitness in my early twenties, I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. I’d stick mainly to the strength training machines, I’d do curls in the squat rack, and I rarely trained legs at all.

You know… How most guys get started.

But then it happened. A couple of the old-school weight lifters/bodybuilders who attended my gym took pity and took me under their wing. Soon enough, I was learning every day how to become bigger, faster, and stronger.

Before long, I became a certified personal trainer merely for the fun of it. It was just a way for me to give back to others and impart some wisdom to those who were struggling as I once did.


And Then It Happened

I was a young man at the time, and I hate to say this, but I had many nights free. I wasn’t doing much dating. The interest just didn’t seem to be there from the opposite sex and I wasn’t one to try pushing it. My confidence was low.

And then a funny thing happened.

All of these women that I would run into at the gym started noticing how my body was changing for the better through my hard work. Pretty soon, quite a number of them started chatting me up as I worked out. Some would even ask if I would like to train together sometime.

I went from a 170-pound weakling to a 215-pound Arthur Fonzarelli. I wasn’t sure if I could snap my fingers and have chicks running to me in the gym like the Fonz could at Arnold’s, but I couldn’t have been far off.

I’ve always had the same personality, sort of playful and witty, but now I was seen as charming instead of annoying.

Even shaving my head went over like wildfire. More women started approaching me! I could have been rocking knee-high white socks with black sandals on during the next ten years and it would not have deterred them.

When I was going to the gym five days a week, I could have had a harem of women to date if I wanted to. And these were all girls that I had met either for the first time at the gym or women who had known me for years but now were all of a sudden taking an interest.

Now I am not saying this has worked this well for all guys who hit the gym frequently. I have a bunch of gym guy friends who could not get a date if they were the only men left on an island full of women. But they approach the process all wrong.

Let my experience guide you on how to date effectively in the 21st Century.


You Don’t Need the Dating Apps

Couple with pickleball paddles.

When I was single, I would dabble off and on with the various dating apps. Match was the popular dating site when I was at my most single. And they always get you by sending a week free trial to your email or something similar to get you to hop on board and give it a try. Before long, you have a subscription to one dating site, two dating sites, or more!

Next thing you know, you are emailing with five different women, trying to keep everyone’s story straight. Before long, pictures are exchanged and after weeks of texting, you finally have that first date.

Then it all blows up in your face.

That girl you have spent so much time on is not who you thought she was.

I’d say half the women I met online did not look like their pictures they shared. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe they only shared glamour-shot images or had filters that made them 100 percent more attractive. I don’t know. But probably a dozen different times on those first dates, I was left wondering if I was on some hidden camera show. These women were not who they presented themselves to be.

You can date without the apps. Furthermore, you will be saving money in the process. I spent a small fortune on first dates just so I could first meet the person. When meeting someone at the gym, you already know if you click or not. You already know if they are attractive. There’s no bait and switch going on through trick photography. There are no weeks of build-up that turn into disappointment within minutes.

They are there at the gym to become healthier and so are you. You already have things in common. Build upon that.


Join More Than One Gym

I have always only had one gym membership at a time. I was faithful to the gym I committed to. But one day, one of my buddies opened my eyes.

His employer paid for up to three gym memberships at a time. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But they rationalized that a person in peak physical condition will work harder and miss less work. My friend had three memberships to gyms that were all about 15 to 20 minutes away from one another.

He stated, without a doubt, that this gained him dozens upon dozens of new female contacts in his phone. He would train at each gym at least once a week at different times and would run into new women frequently. Before long, dates were made and relationships were built.

Looking back, this now makes perfect sense. There have been gyms that I have trained which often had a specific clientele. Some fitness centers cater more towards women while other old-school gyms seem like men are more their normal patrons. By attending a few different gyms, you are going to broaden your horizons and open yourself to meeting quality women of all types.


How to Approach and Not Look Like a Creep

Man and woman talking at the gym

All over social media nowadays, you have people filming themselves at the gym doing their workouts. Every now and then, women will show a video declaring they are feeling harassed at the gym by various guys. There are times when the woman in question is just trying to stir up some drama and gain some clicks. But there are other times when they may have a case on their hands.

The trick is how to approach a woman at the gym without being labeled a creep, stalker, or basic no-goodnik. If you try to strike up a conversation at the wrong time, you are going to quickly alienate yourself from any possible gym dating. The old saying that you only get one chance to make a first impression is correct. Don’t blow it. Keep these things in mind.

  1. Don’t approach someone in the middle of their set. They are working out and don’t want to be bothered. Wait until they put the weight down before you introduce yourself.
  1. Don’t make it obvious. If you come out too thirsty, they’ll know. Ask a question before you start giving your name, occupation, and social security number. For instance, “I’m a bit new at this. What’s a good bicep exercise?” Or ask if they know if the gym has fitness classes to take or if there is a personal trainer who could guide you a bit through a workout. Playing a damsel in distress may bring out a little sympathy. It can’t hurt.
  1. Know when to walk away. If you ask a girl at the gym out on a date and she says no, then move on. There’s a fine line between being persistent and being a stalker who needs a restraining order. If she changes her mind later on, let her approach you.


Be Approachable Yourself

There was once a guy at my gym that was covered in tattoos. He had the sleeves and even a couple of small face tattoos to cap it all off. Everyone was slightly scared of him. No one spoke to him until I stepped up about six months later to ask if I could work in with him on bench.

It turned out he was one of the nicest guys I had ever met in my life. A shy ex-military man with a heart of gold who was just sort of socially awkward. Unbeknownst to him, he didn’t realize he rarely smiled. His face was more set into a permanent grimace.

Make yourself approachable to others at the gym. Just sharing a smile here and there and asking if people are through with their machines or benches will have you making friends in no time. If you see someone struggling to do an exercise, ask them if they need any help. And before long, that new friend who is a girl could possibly become your new girlfriend.


Dress For Success

Working out at the gym does not give you the right to dress like a slob or smell like a garbage can, especially if you are there to hopefully land a date or three. Dress the part. You don’t have to look overly stylish, but you don’t have to look like you only own one t-shirt and one pair of shorts either.


What to Talk About Besides Fitness

Once you get past the initial fitness conversation, be prepared to share other information about yourself without putting the woman on the spot to do the same.

As an example, mention that you are trying to get into shape so you can stay active longer with your children. If you don’t have children yet, make a joke out of it. Better yet, say you have started taking your dog on hikes and he seems to be outlasting you, so you thought you better hit the gym.

You may also casually mention your occupation in the conversation as well. Do this especially if your career is sort of unique. As for myself, I have been a writer for decades and it seemed like most women wanted to hear more about it.

If they begin to ask you more about yourself, then you can ask them personal questions in return. Before long, you will be having an actual real live conversation with a member of the opposite sex that you obviously want to date.


Don’t Be in a Rush

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start training at your gym for at least a couple of weeks before you begin to make your moves. Learning the lay of the land can keep you from stepping on any toes or making enemies out of jealous boyfriends and husbands. Delete those dating apps from your phone and start gym dating instead.

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