(Relaxnews) – Valentine’s Day is approaching, so we’ve enlisted Bela Gandhi — whose Chicago-based Smart Dating Academy just celebrated its five-year anniversary — to advise singles looking for a new squeeze how to hook your crush while you’re pumping iron or saying Om.
Gandhi says that at her Smart Dating Academy, introducing individuals is not part of the program: Instead, she finds people are usually their own best matchmakers but that offering singles some new ideas to tweak their routine — say, at the gym — can lead to lasting relationships.
“When you’re working out you have beta endorphins and adrenaline pumping through your system,” says Gandhi. “Studies have shown these hormones put you in a heightened state of attraction, so the gym is a great spot to meet someone.”
A good first step is to update your workout wardrobe, says Gandhi, who advises men against tank shirts and fluorescent colors and advises women to respect the threshold between sexy and vulgar.
Next step, take off your headphones, start out with a tour to check out who’s there and try your best to look friendly in order to make yourself approachable.
While seeming approachable is important, it’s up to you to break the ice, says Gandhi — and this applies to both men and women.
“What have you got to lose?” she says. “Conversation is like tennis, someone just has to serve.”
A chivalrous gesture on the part of a man — like grabbing a fresh towel for an attractive woman who’s headed into a pilates class — could brighten her day enough to start up some small talk.
For women, make him feel like the alpha-male by asking him to spot you on a machine, or complimenting his kickboxing skills.
The environment is full of props, Gandhi points out, so ask a potential special someone in the smoothie line if the Spirulina-Sunrise is really as good as it looks, or if the wearable tracker they’re using is all it’s cracked up to be.
Once you’ve got them talking, don’t try to be quirky and original — the word ‘try’ being at the root of the problem — and don’t get too personal just yet.
“Thank goodness for the weather,” says Gandhi. “If we didn’t have weather to talk about, most conversations wouldn’t begin.”
Small talk leads to big talk, she reminds us, so there’s nothing too passé or too generic to use as conversation starter.