Fitness, Fashion & Flirting: What’s Acceptable?

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My gym is my happy place.  Working out has become my favorite time of the day. As an early riser, I’m at the gym by nine-thirty and usually stay till close to eleven. I interval train on the treadmill, do some rowing, and then usually work abs or legs. I don’t do machines because I think they’re pointless. I prefer exercises that are multi-purpose, like planks, squats, and lunges.I started doing squats with hand weights about two months ago, eventually graduating to using the big-girl bar.

Here’s the funny thing: ever since I started doing squats using this thingamajiggy, I get more attention from guys. A better way to put that is that I feel as though men at the gym take me more seriously because they see me squatting with 20-40 pounds on the bar. For example, last week I saw a guy balancing himself on the stabilizer ball while doing squats. I approached him and asked what were the benefits of using the stabilizer ball.

Now, I’ll stop here to offer some transparency. This guy was handsome: reedy and lean;  dark wavy hair; and the highest, firmest apple butt I have ever seen. It’s distracting, really. We work out at the same time and he’s often right in front of me while I’m running and I find myself staring at that ass. Anyhoo…

This week he approached me to ask if I started to use the stabilizer ball. I had, I said, and I loved it. Seriously, that thing is, like, the hidden gem of workout equipment. You can do so much with it! The guy must have noticed me doing lunges and brought up how the stabilizer bar is a great way to improve your balance. My feet are flat as fuck and I was hit by a car in college so my left ankle is unstable due to torn ligaments. I always keep our conversations workout-related. I don’t feel right flirting with a guy at the gym. If the tables were turned and some dude approached me to be all, “Hey, girl, need help with that weight bar?” I’d accuse him of being a mansplainy sexist douche with poor boundaries.  That. Ass. Tho.

Now let’s talk fashion. Every item of clothing I wear while working out is from Fabletics.  (No, I am not a brand ambassador for the line, nor do I get paid to write about them. I genuinely love their clothes.) This is a typical outfit I wear to the gym.




I wear a sports bra of some kind underneath the tops, obvi.

I like feeling sexy at the gym. I also like showing off my ass and legs in those pants. But there are days when I wonder if I look like I’m trying too hard.

Now, here are my questions:

What do you wear to the gym? To the women reading: do you wear make-up?

Is flirting frowned upon at the gym?

Are these tops a little too much for the gym?




  1. No guys like being approached by women no matter where or what the circumstances, they always find in a huge turn off… **COUGH** LOL. Kidding. To paraphrase one dating coach: Any time a woman makes the first move, to pretty much any straight man on the planet, in any walk of life, or any situation, we are like, “Whoa, what, a girl coming up to me?” Instant HUGE turn on. 🙂 Unless the guy is some super douche/mega-hunk/gym-rat who makes love to himself in the mirror and thinks he’s way out of your league, and only wants to date super skinny model-looking women or fellow fitness freaks (do you want a guy like that anyway?) trust me, he’ll have no problem with you making some small conversation with him at the gym. People pick up people at the gym all the time. You’re over-thinking this and clearly have been obsessing over it. Just say hi to him, make some conversation, and towards the end of the workout ask if he’d like to get coffee or tea somewhere after the workout. It’s that easy. Done!

    Now, in terms of the outfit, I think that top is a bit much, certainly not workout gear. Let me give you some advice a better way: One of the reasons/best things about meeting someone at a place like a gym, is that your defenses are both down, you’ve already seen each other sweaty (read: pheromones), and without any makeup or fancy clothes (read:pretense). Best of all, he can pretty much see your body already so he already knows if he’s attracted to you (read: sexual chemistry). As someone who’s gone to adult summer camps and really enjoyed meeting people doing activities (and I loathe the gym but force myself to go), that’s what’s great about it. It’s so much easier to meet people without all the pretense of makeup and fancy clothes. First, you see what the person really looks like, even when they’re sweaty and with no makeup. Second, you already share a common activity so that’s your icebreaker, it gives you something to talk about. And last, you already “know what you’re getting” and are not just going on a staged date, in a sense you already know the person a little in one context outside of the dating realm.

    One final note, from your pic I like your body, think you look great and you appear to be very attractive. Personally, I have no interest in meeting some overly-toned, super athletic girl who is all skin and bones, or has lots of upper body muscle and doesn’t know when to quit (i.e. super athletic)…not my type at all. Sorry, I just find too much muscle on a woman to be masculine and unattractive (some may view this as sexist but I think that’s ridiculous, I love women and the female form and it’s just not natural or attractive to me…women are so beautiful with their natural features and curves, and I want to feel your skin and flesh when I hug you or we’re having mad passionate sex, not your ribcage or biceps, YEK!). But then again, I was never an athlete or fitness freak. I’m much more attracted to someone with a “regular / average” build who is a little toned and works out to be in better shape or stay healthy. But that’s just me. I’d go out with you for coffee anytime. 🙂


  2. Listen, I haaaaate having sweaty clothes sticking to me and 98% of the time I wear just a (full-coverage, obvi) sports bra and shorts/leggings, so…yeah, I can’t see a universe in which those tops are inappropriate or somehow try-hard! You look amazing, show that shit off. As for make-up, I wear waterproof mascara because my eyelashes suck and I need SOMETHING to make me look alive in the morning, but that’s it. As for flirting at the gym? Girl please, everyone does when they’re single. Keep us posted!!


  3. No one flirts with me at the gym 😦 Probably for the same reason you mentioned…”Wondering if it’s acceptable or not” to paraphrase. Top’s way too much. Chris Rock says “If a woman tries to talk to me I think today must be my lucky day.” Something like that. “That ass, though” What? Women are scoping out men’s asses? I had no idea. Here I thought women were looking at my face the whole time 😦 When will I ever learn?


  4. I’m a firm believer in always looking my best to match the situation. So cute workout gear? Go for it! Make up at the gym (or beach/pool) seems ridiculous to me…primarily because it’s illogical. Make up and sweat are not good bedfellows. Cute outfits, though.


  5. LOVE the gym outfits – they look cute and cozy. And even with the cute, cut out backs, a sports bra has you covered so imho they aren’t inappropriate at all.

    I’d skip the makeup. Maybe a dab of Eyeliner if you feel crazy leaving the house without it, but as a former D1 athlete who, prior to a major back injury, used to go to the gym regularly in my 20s and young 30s for hardcore workouts, the chics in minimalist clothing and full-on makeup and hair done looked absolutely ridiculous and were clearly JUST there to pick up men. I think you can rock out your cute outfits, even your ponytial looks cute, and just do your thing. I used to have men stop me and offer me tips on how to make better use of (x) machine or exercise, and if they were buff and looked like they knew what.they were talking about and not just trying for a big flirt, I was down for it – even as someone from a hugely athletic background, there’s always new things you can learn. Or if I saw them doing something cool, like you did with the stabilizer ball guy, absolutely nothing wrong with striking up a convo about it. Even if he’s not single, it will be a fun moment for you to flirt in your hot leggings AND learn some new workout tips along the way. Double bonus. And incredibly cool that he saw you again and asked how the new exercise was going, keep using that to strike up conversation, I think he’s definitely showing signs of interest!

    Short story? Go for it. Just don’t overkill on the hair/makeup or you’ll look like you’re there desperately trying to meet a man – which is always a nice side bonus if you see someone attractive and approachable, but obviously not your main reason for being there.

    Good luck! And kudos on using the squat bar and being there to legit workout instead of prancing around dressed for a date a desperate to find one!


  6. I don’t think you can assume that a woman is “desperate” to meet a man at the gym based on hair/makeup. Some women just feel better made-up and, in some cases, it’s a cultural/regional thing. One of my friends is originally from Columbia and never goes out in public anytime, anywhere not in full makeup and a blow-out. Maybe ease up on the judgment?


  7. Don’t squat with the stability ball. Keep adding weight to the bar each session and soon you’ll be the strongest sexiest person there. Also don’t forget deadlifts. Conventional deadlifts.


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