September 30, 2014

Feb 18, 201212:38 AMSingles Scene

Michael Korb explores the flirty, funny and sometimes frightening world of dating in Southwest Florida

Sweatin' with the Hotties



The gym can be a magical place filled with members of the opposite sex sculpting their bodies just for you. And as a single person, you should probably return the favor. After all, there’s a pretty good chance you need to work off the Margherita pizza and appletini you had with the girls.

And while your friends will repeatedly tell you that the gym, whether it be the YMCA, LA Fitness, NCH Wellness Centers, Lifestyles or wherever, is a horrible place to meet someone—because they’ve never met anyone there even after years of aerobics classes—nothing could be further from the truth. These places are packed full of singles. It’s literally like shooting fish in a barrel.

The problem is that no one pulls the trigger. No one talks to anyone. We are a nation of wimps, too scared to open our mouths unless we’ve pre-lubricated with a cocktail or two. That’s why bars seem to be better options. But until your gym starts serving Mai Tais, you need to get past your fears and actually talk to people.

“You’re best bet is in the classes,” says Ryan, a fitness supervisor who’s seen his fair share of members looking for love. “It is kind of true that people don’t really interact on the (workout) floor. They tend to be focused on their workout and either on a machine or using the free weights, so I think people feel that they might be bothering someone if they talk to them. But in the classes, you’re right next to other people, you have a little more freedom of movement and you can interact before and after class.”

Our suggestion is to talk to them before, because you’ll be sweaty and disgusting post-workout. Regardless, the trick in any of these situations is to actually have the intestinal fortitude to initiate conversation. Chances are pretty good that whomever you talk to will talk back.

Take the lovely and available Deb, for example. “It’s rare guys come up to me at the gym, but when they do, I’m so happy—even if only to have a new friendly face around during workouts,” says Ms. Can I Just Be Deb?, a lovely late 30s blonde marketing executive in Naples I met at LA Fitness. “I’ve gone out with a couple guys I’ve met here and even though we didn’t connect romantically, it was nice to go out.” With that said, Deb is guilty of not initiating conversation with guys she’s interested in, preferring to wait to be talked to. During her last trip to the gym she spied several potential options, but just admired their glutes from afar—that being the bank of treadmills over by the squash courts.

The truth is, that if you have the nerve to talk to someone, you increase your chances of getting a date by one thousand percent (ish). That actually goes for all aspects of your life. (At least that’s what I came away with from “Jerry Maguire.”)
If you aren’t a member of a local gym, be sure to try out as many as possible before choosing one. They all have their own clientele that may or may not interest you. LA Fitness and Lifestyles are considered more of the singles hotspots with younger members, but NCH Wellness Centers are filled with doctors, which might float your boat. Play your cards right there and you could get a very thorough checkup.

So get out there and pump some iron. You’ll thank us later.