Gym Pickup: Dos, Don'ts, and How to Meet Girls at a Gym
In the comment section of the article on how to have a sexy walk, Matt remarked:
“Excellent article, my brother! Would love to see a post about direct/indirect pick ups specifically at the gym. Seems like a great place for day game, girls at the gym are obviously some of the hottest you'll see out in the day cause they're fit and healthy... but it's a challenging proposition. Many are listening to iPods, plugged into their music and workout. Whenever I talk to a girl at the gym I feel like I'm "disrupting" her workout.
One of the very first places I picked up from when I was brand new to cold approach was the gym. In that case, it was a girl who worked at the gym who I sort of knew from class (I was in university at the time), but hadn't spoken to before, and I took the gym as my opportunity to do so - and then to have her drive me to get some food, and set up a proper date.
You might think gym pickup is inordinately hard simply because there are so many big muscular guys there, or because the women look so good (and there are so few of them), or because it's so brightly lit and obvious, or because since everyone else is focused on putting weights in the air and treadmill tread behind them, and that you're really going to stick out when you approach.
But in fact, there are certain advantages to meeting girls in the gym for a socially savvy man, not the least of which is the fact that most of those guys who are working out so hard there are doing so because they have no idea how to get women.
So there's not actually as much competition as you think. And in
certain ways, even the environment itself can work to your benefit.
In this post, we'll take a close look at the dos and don'ts of gym pickup, along with the how-tos for opening and game at the gym.
The gym has a number of big differences from, say, a bar, or a nightclub, or the street as a place to pick up girls, and depending on where you're at with your skill set various of these may be intimidating or not-so-intimidating:
- Everyone there is focused on working... hard
- Most exercisers have set agendas, moving from one machine to the next
- The women are dressed sexy (which often means their guards will be up)
- There isn't much socializing going on
- There's a lot of seeming competition
- Everything's brightly-lit and obvious
- Many women wear earphones / listen to music
- Women are often using different machines than you (e.g., you're on weights, they're on the treadmills / stair climbers / bicycles, etc.)
It can end up seeming like a kind of tantalizing forbidden fruit: there they are, legions (or a select few, depending on the demographics of your gym) of beautiful, shapely nymphs, training their bodies into sleek representations of feminine perfection.
You go out in the U.S. and other places in the West these days, and it can be downright depressing: overweight women as far as the eye can see, in bars, in clubs, in shopping malls, in cafés, in coffee shops, on the street.
But the gym? An oasis. Thin
women with hard bodies everywhere.
The way women were meant to be (and still are, minus some of the
muscle mass, in most of the rest of the world).
Except... how do you meet those girls?
If you pay attention long enough in the gym, you'll see plenty of guys try and fail:
- The dude who goes up to "spot" her
- The dude who tries to ambush her at the water fountain
- The dude who follows her around the gym, working out next to her, moving when she moves
- The dude who never makes an approach... he just stares and stares
Usually these are the bigger guys... the smaller guys don't dare to try any of this. They know it's not their place. But the bigger guys figure, hey, this is MY home! ... and then, their approach anxiety kicks in and they still don't execute it properly anyway.
But women aren't any more closed to the approach in a gym than they are in any other venue. In fact, compared to a lot of place, women in gyms can be a lot MORE open to meeting new men! So long as those new men are breaking with stereotype, that is.
Breaking with Stereotype
Just like pickup in general is all about turning women's expectations on their head, gym pickup is no different. And what's a girl expect will happen when she gets approached in the gym?
She expects one of the following:
An overconfident meathead who'll start talking to her and call attention to how skilled he is at weight-lifting and how impressive his muscles are
An overly helpful trainer or fellow gym mate who'll pitch in to try and "show her the right way to do this one" or give her a spot when she really doesn't need one
An overly hesitant fellow - whether burly meathead or skinny gym newbie - who timidly trips over his own feet quietly whispering out a half-hearted opener that she has to pretend she didn't hear so as not to be bothered ("Thanks, earbuds!" she thinks to herself, her music player providing easy cover for her feigned ignorance)
Basically, she expects some guy who'll be really awkward.
Some guy who's bragging and trying to impress women he meets; some guy who's trying too hard to be of use (see: "Can I Help You?" for more on this); some guy who's racked with anxiety and simply doesn't come across like the kind of dominant, sexy man she's going to have any interest in having around her in any capacity.
These are the stereotypes you're going up against, and they are what you do not want to be. In a nutshell, your entire gym pickup approach should be structured around making it blindingly clear to the girls you meet that you are not any of these three guys. It's how you set them instantly at ease, and arouse their curiosity to find out more about you.
She's expecting a guy's going to pull one of these awkward situations out of his pants on his approach.
And all you got to do to surprise and impress her is not do that.
A Brief Word on Approaching
Some years back I participated on a seduction forum where some young
kid who was trying to learn how to meet girls at the gym got himself
first warned, then permanently banned from his gym by repeatedly, and
very, very obviously,
approaching woman after woman after woman there, and doing it awkwardly
and uncomfortably for the women and getting complained about. I don't
think the kid even worked out there, I think he went there just to pick
Now, I've only ever heard of this happening once out of all the times I've seen guys do gym pickup, so it isn't a likely scenario you'll run into, but it is one I want to highlight: we'll talk about this more in a moment, but the gym is a primarily social circle environment, which means you cannot approach it like the street or a nightclub; it's not a meet market where you can just go walk straight up to women and not be noticed, like you would in day game or beach pickup. Everyone notices you approaching in the gym if you're obvious about it.
Unless you go about making yourself "The Man" at the gym (and we'll talk about this below too), you must be subtle, and you must be smooth.
Those are the two options for handling your approach and still being cool with your fellow gym members:
- Be smooth and subtle, or
- Be The Man everybody knows and loves
By and large though, just don't go flooding the women at your gym with incessant and obvious pickup attempts, and do actually go there to work out some (and not just to treat it like a party, like that kid did), and you'll be fine.
We've already covered some of the overarching don'ts and we touched on a smattering of the dos, but now we'll delve into a lot more of the specifics on both sides of the equation. Let's start with some gym pickup don'ts.
Gym Pickup Don'ts
When you want to meet girls at the gym, don't:
Stare. It's obvious; she knows you're doing it. And unless you're extraordinarily good-looking, it's going to ruin your chances before you even say "hi." (And even if you're extraordinarily good-looking, it's not going to help much.)
Stalk. You know, the one where you keep meaning to say something to her, but she keeps slipping away before you can, so you just keep moving over to the bench or machine next to her... she knows you're following her! She isn't blind. And most women are a lot more socially attuned than most men, which means if you think there might be kind of a sort of little chance she might notice it, it's almost certainly glaringly obvious to you. Stalking is cute if you're a puppy dog, but it's not very cute if you're a big sweaty stranger she's never spoken to before.
Spot (unless she asks). Ah, the old "spot her" trick, eh? Think you'll just casually slide in there with that one unnoticed? Think again. Girls know what this is - it's the timid man's attempt to swing in and get to know her. One exception: if you are extraordinarily dominant; if you're the kind of man who can walk up to her and say, "Here, I'll spot you," as if you noticed her struggling and of course you should offer her some help, and it feels like more of a command from an authority figure than a kind offering from a peer, then this can work.
Water fountain ambush. The water fountain ambush is where you either A) lie in wait for her at the water fountain, pretending to be unwinding after a workout or loudly talking to one of your friends, or B) follow her to the water fountain, and try and pounce on her (conversationally) between sips. This one's very obvious too, and you're not doing yourself any favors by using it... it makes you look intimidated and uncertain, and that makes you look weak. Which is to say, maybe nice as a friend, but not the kind of guy she's looking to date (or go to bed with).
Awkward form advice. Correcting her on her form is one that can be good, if used properly - we'll discuss below. But if you can't execute it right, don't do it. That means, no timidity: "Hey, I think you might be doing that wrong;" no hesitancy: "Do you want some help with that exercise?" and no 'offers': "I can give you a hand with that if you're not sure what to do." These are half-assed gestures that are easier to say "no" to than they are to say "yes" to, and "no" is exactly what you'll get.
Catcall. This one probably goes without saying, but you never know. "Damn, you look good!" or, "You can stop working out right now, you already look perfect!" are not good conversation starters for the gym.
Talk about the gym a lot. So let's say you just met some cute girl by the ellipticals, and now the two of you are chatting - and she seems to like you! What's the most natural thing to talk about? For most guys, they're going to talk about the gym, of course. Don't do this! Talking about the gym, when the two of you are IN the gym, is EXTREMELY boring, and tells her you have nothing interesting about you or to talk about. She'll exit the conversation quickly.
If you've tried meeting girls at the gym before, you're probably guilty of at least one or two of them... maybe even most of them. So there's a good chance you just read the don'ts of gym pickup and thought to yourself, "Man, that was everything I had in my arsenal! What now?!"
Well before I cause ye who've entered here to abandon all hope, let me re-fit your seduction skill slots with a host of emphatic dos.
Gym Pickup Dos
The dos of picking up a girl at the gym are as follows:
Be a regular. Being in the gym regularly (e.g., 3 days a week) gets you familiar with the environment - and also who goes there. You can play around with going at different times of day if you're trying to combine working out with picking up - you'll often find that the afternoon is the best time to go to meet girls at the gym in college, while the evening is the best time to go to meet girls in the working world.
Try out different times of day, and keep your eyes peeled for:
Who the regulars are
What times of day they go
You'll use this information to inform your future pickups.
Get to know the staff. Actually chat with the staff at your gym - the girls at the counter, the guys doing training. The manager, if he's out and about. Just a few words here and there to get started, "How's it going?" "What's the crowd looking like today?" and building up gradually to more substantial conversations as you become a familiar face. Remember, there's no rush.
Being friendly with the gym staff does two (2) great things for
It gets you familiar with "gym people," gets you comfortable talking with folks about working out, gym etiquette, gym humor, and all manner of related topics, so you start behaving like an expert; the gym becomes your home away from home, just like it's theirs, and this environmental comfort and ease is very noticeable and attractive to women in the environment (effectively, they feel like they are in your environment when talking to you once you're visibly very comfortable and natural)
Be authoritative, cool, or both.
Most guys in the gym, despite their muscles, do not act like they're "alpha males" at all. I've never quite been able to
figure out why; although I've long suspected they fear coming across
too strong with a girl, so they head in the opposite extreme. And it's
true, you don't want to be so strong
you're overwhelming to her, but you also don't want to be so meek you
come across nervous and hesitant. Women who want to meet men in
the gym go there to meet strong
men, remember, not weaklings. So when you engage, make sure you do so
with an air of confidence, dominance, and authority about you... or at
least be cool.
Stay focused. Don't let your eyes wander... use your peripheral vision. Even if a girl likes you, the instant she notices you checking her out, she'll stop checking you out and start playing hard to get. Instead, keep your eyes to yourself; stay focused, don't check her out... and give her the opportunity to check you out without feeling like you're watching her. That way she can slowly ramp up her attraction for you - just by staring at you. And all the while, she'll be more and more hoping you'd just come up to her and say "hi." Sometimes, girls will even start stalking you at the gym, when you ignore them long enough.
Turn the conversation to things
outside the gym / exercising / athletics, etc., as quickly as you can.
Get into personal stuff so you aren't being another "gym buddy" for her
that she just talks to about her workouts. Get personal - imagine you
met her in a coffee shop instead of a weight room.
Those are the "do"s and the "don't"s for meeting a girl at the gym. Follow them, and you'll become a gym girl attraction magnet, instead of a repellant, like most of the other men trying to meet women in the gym are.
But wait, you might say - these dos and don'ts are all well and good, but how do I actually, you know pick a girl up in the gym?
That's a good question - and it's what we're going to go over in the third and final section of this article.
For this section of the article, I'm going to assume you're following the dos laid out above and you're shunning the don'ts. The don'ts are self-explanatory; but why are the dos so important again?
If you don't get to know the staff, you're running at a sizeable disadvantage, both in terms of feeling truly comfortable in your gym, and in terms of social proof and preselection
If you're not being authoritative and/or cool, women won't like being approached by you - so make sure you're at least one of these, so that they will
If you're not focused, you'll toss too much emotional validation at women too early on - often before you even approach - and by the time you actually go up to say "hi," they'll largely have lost interest (or at least will really want to make you work for it)
If you don't turn the conversation off the gym, you'll lose women fast who get bored and think you don't have anything to say, so turn the conversation to something interesting fast
And if you're not going to the gym regularly, not only won't you learn who the regular are and who aren't, and when the best times to go to meet women are, but... what the heck are you doing trying to meet girls in the gym, anyway?
You should be doing all of these. Once you've been going to the same gym a month or two, you've gotten on at least relatively friendly terms with most of the staff (and you'll be best buddies in a few more months), and you're feeling and acting like a gym pro (even more so than the other guys there who are thrice your size), you're ready to gym game with the best of them.
Meeting Girls in the Gym (Regulars)
Most of the women you'll meet in the gym are "regulars;" girls who are going there, and who've been going there as long as or longer than you have.
You need to approach regulars the same way you approach women in social circle: gradually, with little pings to get them comfortable with you... all the while staying right at their periphery until you're ready to move in for the kill.
Like we talked about in "The Secret to Hooking Up with Friends," if you get to know a girl too much before you make a move to take things romantic (or sexual), you'll automatically get slotted into the "just friends" category, or, at best, the "potential boyfriend" category - neither of which you want (these rarely turn into anything).
Your approach instead should look like this:
Scouting out. This is where you don't look at her, stare at her, follow her around, or stalk her. You just recognize her, and get a feel for how often she's there. You'll see her a couple of times. You'll also let her see you, and check you out if you like; ideally, she'll see you being social with the gym staff.
Pinging. Little pings here and there over the next few times you see her will "break the ice" with her and get her feeling more familiar with you than 99% of the other men there. Things like saying, "Oh, sorry," as you move past her while she's doing a work out, or, "Hey, are you using this?" about a bench or dumbbell near her. Don't do more than one or two of these in a day, over the course of several times seeing her.
"Real" ice breaking. Once you've exchanged a few words with her now and again, you can break the ice for real, with a simple question, and see if she bites back. Wait until she comes to work out near you, or you find yourself near her, and when she's in-between sets ask her (and it's all right if you're lifting while you ask), "What's your workout objective?" or, "How long've you been working out for?" Let her answer back ("I'm in a modeling competition," "I just want to keep fit," or, "A couple of years now"), and respond with a question or a statement, or even simply, "Oh. [pause] Cool." Then go back to your workout.
If she reengages: you can get into a normal conversation with banter and a little deep diving before telling her she's cool and the two of you should grab a bite or a drink sometime when you're not hoisting heavy loads of iron in the air. Then, get her phone number afterward to set up the date.
If she doesn't reengage: no harm, no foul. Not all girls are assertive enough to reengage; but you want to do something now, otherwise next time it's going to be awkward. So now you need to pull out your A-game for bantering and hooking, same as you do with any girl anywhere else. Here's what a successful conversation can look like with a gym girl who doesn't engage right away (a "mildly difficult" girl):
You: What's your workout objective?
Her: I'm training for a modeling competition.
You: Oh. [pause] Cool.
You: I had a friend who did one of those a while back. Intense stuff. But it gives you a better body than 99% of the women running around outside these days.
Her: Yeah, it's hard work, but it gets you in great shape.
You: Well, you seem like a pretty dedicated lifter, so I'm sure you'll do great.
Her: So how long have you been coming here?
You: Why? You plan on doing something with that information?
Her: Just curious.
You: I know. I'm just kidding. But people always ask each other the same stuff in the gym. So I like to make fun a bit.
Her: Do you work here?
You: No, I work writing books. I don't have the patience to be a personal trainer, those guys are saints.
Her: What kind of books do you write?
You: Mostly stuff that nobody wants to publish. What do you do?
Her: I'm a student.
You: Everybody's a student of something. What do you study?
The main theme to meeting gym regulars is that it just takes time. She's used to the gym, she's comfortable with it already, so if you come barging up out of nowhere and start hitting on her when she's never seen you before and don't know who you are, you end up looking like the new guy who hasn't figured out what gyms are all about (working out!) and it's a big turn off.
However, the same rules do not necessarily apply for the other kinds of women you'll meet in gyms.
Meeting Girls in the Gym (New Girls)
Once you've been working out at the same gym for a while, you'll start to notice the new girls: the ones who are showing up for the first time (so far as you've seen them, anyway). Of course, so will every other male there... but that doesn't necessarily make them much competition.
New girls, you'll soon realize, frequently don't last long in the gym. Many of them start coming, they come a couple of times, and then you never see them again. Maybe they pop back in a couple more times that year, but that's it.
What's the deal? Well, just like with men, the majority of women who join a gym simply never get serious about it.
What that means for you is, if she's pretty and she's new, you can't afford to stretch things out over weeks or a month like you would with a regular - you need to get her while the gettin's good.
You don't want to start by asking a new girl if she's new. At best, it's disorienting and makes her feel like she doesn't belong and she's an outsider from "your" group (and sticks out like a sore thumb). At worst, it makes her feel like prey - and you're the predator.
So don't ask her this.
Instead, you'll want to open her with a more traditional opener - direct or indirect - but make absolutely sure to do it from a position of authority and coolness, not neediness or hopefulness.
Wait until she's settled in a bit to the gym (don't pounce on her the moment she's in the door, unless you want her to feel like you've been lying in wait in the dumbbell section for some sexy minx to step right into your clutches)
Catch her just as she's ending a set (not mid-workout, for obvious reasons, but you also don't want to approach her if she's just been standing around for a while; catch her immediately following a transition into not working out)
Pace your introduction with a bit of authority and a name exchange - that looks like this: "Excuse me... I saw you working out over here, and I haven't seen you in the gym before, and I just HAD to come tell you that you have the prettiest hair I've seen all day today. I'm Pete."
Next, get into playful banter ASAP! I know the temptation is to ask her how long she's been working out here, or why she decided to start working out, or something like that... but don't you dare. She'll write you off faster than a donkey in a horse race. Gym pickups are one of the least conducive forms of pickup to regular conversation - instead, you need to keep things light, quick, and to the point. Ramp attraction quick and get a phone number to get back to working out, e.g.,
Get her phone number and plan for a date right then (don't push it off to later - this may be the only day she ever comes to the gym again for the rest of her life, for all you know)
Say goodbye and get back to your workout - the reason for this is that if you hang around too long in a gym, it starts to feel weird. You're supposed to be there to get ripped - she's going to think you're setting your schedule aside just to talk to her if you stick around too long. So make it quick, grab her number, and get in and get out and get back to your workout
You: Excuse me... I saw you working out over here, and I haven't seen you in the gym before, and I just HAD to come tell you that you have the prettiest hair I've seen all day today. I'm Pete.
Her: Oh! Thanks! I'm Annie.
You: Annie? That's an unusual name in this day and age.
Her: Yeah, I guess you don't hear it much anymore!
You: Well, it's cool; sort of like taking a time machine back to simpler times. But I guess they didn't have gyms back then.
Her: Hmm, I never thought about that.
You: Probably we would've met at an ice cream parlor in that case.
You: I'd have been the greaser, and you'd have been the good girl there with her friends, all her books in a tidy little book strap.
Her: I think I would've been a greaser too.
You: Oh really?
You: So much for the nice-girl-with-a-tidy-book strap theory.
You: Hey, so, in all seriousness, let me ask you something, Annie.
Her: What's that?
You: Well, it's kind of personal, I'm not sure if I should ask it in a gym.
Her: What it it?
You: Well, before I do, let me see that wristwatch a bit, it looks like the one Edward Norton had in The Hulk.
Her: It's a heart rate monitor [extends her wrist; you take hold of her hand].
You: Yeah I know, my little brother has one of those... they're cool.
Her: So what were you going to ask me?
You: Okay, what I was going to ask you is this: who do you think would win [pause] in a cage match for Kristen Stewart's heart: Robert Pattinson or Rupert Sanders?
Her: [laughs] Oh my God, is that the question?
You: What's your answer?
Her: Robert Pattinson, definitely Robert Pattinson.
You: Hmm... [pause] An unexpected reply.
Her: [laughs] Why?
You: Well, you seem like the kind of girl who'd go for a Rupert Sanders type. You know, older, established... pretty rich.
Her: I'm pretty sure Robert Pattinson is rich too.
You: Yeah, but he's young and immature. Anyway, what do you do about town here, Annie?
Her: I'm bartending right now while I try to find a fulltime job. What about you?
You: I mostly just hang out at the gym and ask people about the latest teen sensations. Okay, well, I would like to stand here talking all day, but I've got to get back to my work out. But you seem kind of fun, so I'll tell you what: let's grab some food and get to know each other a little bit better outside the gym when we aren't both so sweaty sometime either later today or later this week. Sound good?
Her: [laughs] Yeah, that sounds great.
You: Awesome. Let me get your cell number.
Remember, what you need to be thinking throughout the entire pickup is "break with stereotype." Don't be the same as the other guys who approach her; intrigue her, attract her, and excite her, instead.
Pulling Off a Gym Pickup
Just remember that more than anything else, you want to:
- Be a regular
- Get to know the staff
- Be authoritative, cool, or both
- Stay focused
- And turn the conversation off the gym
And for regulars, slow game it like social circle, since you'll be seeing them a lot and they may well know the staff anyway (no need to shoot yourself in the foot here), while for new girls (or the bumper crop of "temporaries" who show up after a holiday to shed holiday pounds, or after New Year's to momentarily stick to their New Year's resolutions to get a better body!) you'll want to approach the day you see her (since in all likelihood she won't stick around).
Break the stereotype, cast nervousness or hesitation aside, and go rack yourself up some cute girls with great bodies. The gym's a wonderful place to meet dedicated, awesome women - and now you've got the tools to do it!
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