Picture this: you double scoop pre-workout with the person you’ve been eyeing across the gym for weeks. It’s push day, and you finally have someone to spot you on the bench press. After a solid lift, you end it off with some cardio together. Sounds like a dream, but it’s time to make it a reality. Approaching a gym crush is a tricky game, but with some simple techniques, you’re sure to max out your chances with them.
It’s understandable to want your gym crush to remain just a crush. Sometimes just the rush of working out in the presence of a gym crush is satisfying enough. Of course, there’s always the worry that the potential relationship may go wrong, which would make the gym a hotspot for awkward interactions. But for those of you who want to level up your gym crush connection, this message is for you.
So, how do you approach your crush? You don’t want to scare them away, and you don’t want to annoy them — it’s a delicate balance.
Senior, and former personal trainer at the Patti & Allan Herbert Wellness Center, Rachel Apodaca has spent plenty of time witnessing campus gym culture.
“I would say it really is case by case. I know some people who are like ‘the gym is my space. I come to the gym for myself, so don’t come talk to me,’” said Apodaca. “That is a super easy vibe to pick up on. If you’re picking that vibe up, don’t push the limits.”
Make sure to scope out the attitude of your target. If they seem present, social, and talkative, it might be a green light. Otherwise, be careful of interrupting someone who is purposely closed-off.
The next step is to gauge interest. Apodaca takes a direct approach.
“There are ways to do it in a non-creepy way,” said Apodaca. “You ask to work in and see if they’re open to conversation.”
Anthony Akinrinmola, senior and personal trainer at the Wellness Center, accomplishes this by measuring eye contact.
“There are two boxes that need to be checked off before you can approach your gym crush. The first one is eye contact. You’ll know if somebody’s looking at you or paying attention to what you’re doing,” said Akinrinmola. “The connection — it’s just there without being said.”
He also emphasizes the importance of timing: “The second box is the golden rule. You can’t bother them while they’re actually working out.”
Instead of approaching someone during the depths of their squat, find a better time. If possible, say hello in a completely different setting, like between classes or in the dining hall. If your schedules never overlap outside of the gym, approach them at the water fountain or by the lockers. You could even try a rest period, but be careful — make sure they’re not still gasping for air.
And finally, the most crucial part: your opening line. This should not, in any way shape or form, resemble a pick-up line. Anything overly flirtatious will likely come across way too strong in a setting where such little clothing is worn. Instead, gradually establish a gym friendship that has potential to develop into something more.
“The way I’ve done it in the past is I asked them to record a set for me because I always record my workouts,” said Akinrinmola. “Then after I’d be like, ‘oh yeah, what’s your name? I’ve seen you here all the time.’ And that’s how I start the conversation.”
A good opener doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes, less is more. Apodaca first approached her current boyfriend with a simple compliment.
“I complimented his shorts,” said Apodaca. “A couple days later, I ran into him again and we started talking. He asked for my name, and then we had a couple interactions after that. We went on a date, which was great, and we’ve been together since.”
Junior and Wellness Center employee Randa Serhan likes to play it a little more cheekily by joking around with them.
“The way I would approach a gym crush would be to tell him that he’s doing baby weight. Tell him to get his weight up,” said Serhan. “Joke around, like maybe, ‘take some steroids or hop on tren.’”
When in doubt, a simple introduction is the best option to play it safe. Then, say hi to them whenever you see each other. See if they reciprocate your interest, and after a few days of mutual hellos, ask for their number or Snapchat, and take it from there.
Gym crushes are all about the long game – after all, doesn’t slow and steady win the race? Who knows, soon you might have a your own swolemate.
words&design_lizzie kristal. photo_sharron lou.
This article was published in Distraction’s Winter 2022 print issue.