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The art of the gym date

The art of the gym date

By Matt Coppa

You’ve done dinner, drinks, movies, maybe even bowling, but now it’s time to get really hot and heavy… at the gym. Yes, spinning class and the elliptical trainer can be a good place to connect with your sweetie while showing you care about your health and appearance. “Asking a potential mate to go to the gym lets that person know that health is an important thing for you and your lifestyle,” says Carolyn Bushong, relationship expert and author of Bring Back the Man You Fell in Love With. “Even if the person you’re dating doesn’t work out much, he or she will be impressed that you do.”

Four reasons to give gym dates a try
Here’s why it’s a good idea, and how to do it right:

Reason #1: Asking to exercise as a duo makes you feel positive about spending time together
“I started dating a guy and, at first, resisted going to work out with him; it just felt intimidating,” says Jackie M., 26, from Hoboken, NJ. “But once I agreed, it turned out to be really healthy. We motivated each other to go and never settled into a lazy sit-around, eat-nothing-but-junk-food ‘couch relationship.’” Bushong agrees, saying: “It’s goal-oriented and feels good to focus on something healthy and positive that you’re doing together.”
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Reason #2: Encouraging each other at the gym boosts your budding relationship’s “I’m there for you” vibe
If you want your special someone to know they can count on you, working out together will really showcase your “I’ll be there for you” side. “The first time I went to the gym with a guy, I was nervous that I’d embarrass myself,” says Randi French, 26. “But when I was doing leg presses, he kept telling me ‘You can do it’ and ‘Push harder’ every time I struggled. I know it sounds cheesy, but I never realized he had that side to him.” Bushong adds, “That builds trust and it builds a connection. You’re working together. It says, ‘If you have a problem, I’ll be there’ and if someone can’t do that, it’s an indicator that they’re only into themselves.” Just make sure you find out what he or she prefers beforehand. “Some people may find it’s too much pressure or prefer to push themselves. Ask, ‘OK if I coach you?’” advises Bushong.

Reason #3: Gym dates let you admire each other’s “form” (and help correct any mistakes)
If you normally go to the gym, odds are good that you’re already in pretty decent shape. Yet flex your defined delts on a brunch date, and you’ll probably just look stupid. But at the local fitness emporium, men and women can feel equally comfortable showing off their bodies: the outfits tend to be revealing, it’s nice to see how the muscles work, and even a little sweat can be a huge turn-on for fitness lovers. Without resorting to Lycra leggings, you can still show off your body, get a glance at your date’s and build some heat between you two as you build endorphins together.

Reason #4: A gym date lets you show you impress each other with your fitness accomplishments
Though your date may never admit it, a display of physical prowess can make your special someone see you in a whole new light... and in a way that can’t be duplicated simply by spending some cash. “Matt and I had been dating for six weeks when we went to a yoga class,” says New Yorker Maria S., 27. “I was a little intimidated because he was once an instructor, but I had taken a few classes, so I figured, why not? Next thing I know he had his legs over his shoulders with his feet hooked together behind his head! Yes, I was a little weirded out, but also very impressed. It’s three years and hundreds of yoga classes later, and now I can do that move. Oh yeah, we’re also getting married next month.”

While twisting yourself like a pretzel may seem a bit much, take heart; you don’t need to go overboard to make an impression. Twenty sit-ups without getting out of breath may well be enough to induce a swoon in the opposite sex. Sometimes, even just good gym hygiene — wiping down the equipment after use, and so forth — can be enough to let your date see even more reasons to fall for you.

Matt Coppa is a New York-based writer and editor.