Leslie Hooper

How to Approach Women in the Gym Without Being Creepy

Men approaching women in the gym is considered widely unpopular. Go to any online fitness forum and observe the mere mention of a man wanting to talk to a woman in the gym and he will get absolutely lynched by his fellow gym bros — ridiculed for not being “hardcore,” “dedicated,” or “serious” enough.


Where the hell else are these guys supposed to meet like-minded women who share their commitment and passion for fitness, if not in the very place they hang out?

Photography by Ryan McGuire
Photography by Ryan McGuire

Sure there’s a difference between the casual gym creeper who goes with the intent of picking up women and those who are there to train seriously, but you can usually spot who’s who by the difference in their physiques.

That said, approaching women in the gym *can* be a delicate situation. Between the insecurity of being red in the face, sweating uncontrollably, and smelling like a dead skunk, we don’t always feel comfortable making new friends — or being noticed at all, for that matter.

Celebrating gym-friend, Keith Seay’s, wins at the “Red Stick Classic” bodybuilding show.

As a female who has a little experience with the “gym pick-up” in my fourteen years of training, I offer you this tidbit of advice:

• If there is a particular woman in the gym who has caught your eye, look for body signals such as eye contact, smile, proximity, and other positive body cues that indicate signs of interest before introducing yourself. If she doesn’t give you positive vibes, she’s probably not interested.

• When it comes to initiating conversation, please display some social decorum and don’t interrupt her mid-workout. Wait until she’s finished and has a quick exit strategy, then say something light-hearted and/or situational on the way out. Bonus points if it’s funny, but skip it if it doesn’t come naturally. Trying too hard is never a good look.

• In the event you feel compelled to compliment her, stay away from anything physique-related. Instead, try to acknowledge something that you noticed about her athletic performance. If she’s hot, she’s probably heard the same ole complimentary shtick a dozen times before you; give her something new to think on.

• And please, for the love of God, don’t message her on Facebook before you’ve introduced yourself in person first. Finding her online before she’s given you her name has always been pretty creepy in my experience. It also screams of insecurity. She’ll be more inclined to dig you if you have the confidence to introduce yourself in-person.

• Keep it brief and play the long game by continuing to be sociable with her and others over an extended period of time. By establishing some social proof, she’ll see you as a friendly, likeable guy by your peers and become more comfortable with you over time. Plus, you’ll get a better read on her interest level and can make your moves from there without risking an awkward gym experience down the line.

• Also, be attractive. All of the advice above is basically worthless if she doesn’t find you attractive.

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