If you’re looking to pull, the gym is the best place to go
‘Talking to gym strangers is easy thanks to the enforced intimacy’
Just like your grandparents met when their eyes met over a crowded room, one day you could be telling the story of how you met your partner as your gaze locked in a busy gym.
Now dating experts say the gym is the ideal place for flirting and meeting your other half — or even just arranging casual hook-ups.
A recent survey by Match.com found gym lovers have more sex as 33 per cent of singles who work out twice a week get laid at least once a month, compared to just 20 per cent of lonely hearts who rarely or never pump iron.
But how are you supposed to thrive in the sweaty nightmare of the gym dating scene? Is your sexy look of weight-lifting determination actually just a sticky gurn?
We spoke to body language guru Judi James who explains the gym is “the ultimate flirt place for the selfie generation”.
She says: “People put time and effort into honing their bodies and use the gym as a showplace for all that work.
“Clearly the equipment can be used to advertise your sexual appeal, either with the stretching and contorting and/or all the pseudo-sexual sweating and grunting.
“It is also the perfect ice-breaker as striking up conversations with strangers is easy thanks to the enforced intimacy of the venue.”
If you’re planning to join the ranks of nervous, sweaty boys offering unsolicited gym advice as a way of flirting with girls — be careful, because expert Judi says you need to read flirt signals with caution.
“In the gym itself it is natural for everyone to want to stare at everyone else to compare muscles and body shape in a competitive or educational way. But that isn’t always about flirting.
“In a club or pub someone staring at your body might be making their intentions obvious but in a gym it can just be professional envy or research.
“In fact, you probably need to look for the person performing ‘tie signs’ with their facial expressions, like catching your eye and sending eye-signals rather than someone who appears to be admiring your biceps.
“Flirting in the changing room is clearly way too obvious and might cause offence if you get too flirty.
“Asking someone where the towels are kept might work but using eye contact and ogling could get you thrown out.”
Top gym flirting tips
• Watch out for people who are looking around the room to make eye contact with you, Judi calls it “open body language”
• Respect people who don’t want to be disturbed — see if their eyes are to the ground with headphones in, focusing on their work-out
• Don’t start a full-on conversation when they’re mid-lift, go for something more casual like Judi recommends
• Wipe off your sweaty face before going in
• Stay hydrated
As for how to see who might be interested, Judi warns it can be hard to spot those dressed to pull.
“You might assume the one in the sweaty old vest and grey shorts is there to work while the one in the designer lycra is there to pull.
“But there is a huge narcissistic element to the gym experience for a lot of people.
“This means they dress up to impress themselves more than to attract sexual interest. It can be a bit of a power thing, a bit like the guy with the really huge muscles who is pumped up to impress himself rather than to attract a mate.”
The fertile ground for hook-ups offered by the gym obviously ends up attracting pick-up artist toads — which is what happened to Laura FitzPatrick, 20, a second year linguist at Manchester.
Finally Judy adds with many aspects of body language, there can be primordial undercurrents to your behaviour.
“You’re really mimicking a state of aggressive arousal — you’re expanding your chest and pecs, and your facial expressions can look angry like a wrestler or a boxer.
“In this way concepts of flirting are more animalistic and less wine and roses. It’s almost pre-historic.
“In modern times, we don’t really need to prove our mating potential for others so it’s quite odd how it’s become the new fashion.”