Love & Sex

Tools of Attraction: Working Out

Pin it

Five New Yorkers get dressed for the gym.

Tom, 32, stylist

You're a stylist. You must know all the cool things to wear.
I do, I do. But personally, I'm a slob.

What do you mean? You don't practice what you preach?
I think you can pick stuff off the floor and make it look good.

So who are your favorite designers right now?
I always like Tom Ford. He's pretty great. Marc Jacobs is fun for the summer.

Do you know what Tom Ford says about men in shorts?
Something about… not wearing shorts?

Only at the tennis court or the pool.
Well, I'm not that kind of pretentious fashion person.

So what's cool for summer?
It's hot; wear shorts! Wear color. Just be comfortable. I'm usually at the beach all summer, so my vibe is a beach vibe.

What's your gym style?
You should just look sexy and cool. The gym can be a very sexy place.

Has anyone ever tried to pick you up at the gym?
Isn't that what it's all about?

Totally. I mean, that and fitness. Have you ever picked someone up at the gym?
Of course! I don't really have a method. Usually someone makes a comment about my hair. That gets me in the door. But I've never had a relationship that was born out of the gym. Not for more than a night, at least. Joking!

tank top: Hanes, shorts: Club Monaco, sunglasses: vintage safety glasses from the '50s, shoes: IGS

Michelle, 22, dancer

What kind of dance do you do?
Modern. I went to NYU's dance program.

Is there a rivalry between types of dancers?
Yes. I mean, I can't speak for every modern dancer, but it's between modern and ballet. But we kind of think we're better. We're usually college-educated.

What's your gym style?
I love Lululemon. It's girly and flirty and you can even wear it out at night. I've worn this out; it just looks cool. And I'm a dancer, so I live in workout clothes.

Is there bad gym style?
I hate to see baggy sweats and pit stains. That creeps me out.

Well, what's a turn-on?
I like when a guy isn't trying too hard, but you can tell he cares about how he looks. And he's not trying to bench-press 300 pounds; he's just confident. A guy you could drink five beers with.

Five! That's a commitment. Has anyone ever asked you out in the gym?
No, I smell terrible, so I don't think anyone ever wants to ask me out.

Have you ever put the moves on someone in dance class?
I don't think my boyfriend would like that too much!

He wears those gross baggy sweats. I try to buy him nice workout clothes, but he won't let me. I bought him a pair of Lululemon pants, but he never actually wears them to work out .

Lululemon is fairly pricey. What do you think about spending a lot of money on clothes you're just going to sweat in?
I don't mind spending money on Lululemon because their stuff lasts forever. And like I said, I go from the gym to dance to class to wherever. I need to look good in all those situations, and I don't have the space or the time to change into different things. Why buy five shirts when you can wear one really great one?

shirt: Pins and Needles, bra: Lululemon, shorts: Lululemon, sneakers: Adidas, bag: Deux Lux, sunglasses: Topshop

Joshua, 32, photographer

So what kind of photography do you do?
Really big corporate-branding campaigns.

You're wearing a lot of Nike. Are you a Nike-head?
I was, in the '80s and '90s.

Is there a word for someone who's really into Adidas?
Someone from Boston. A gangster from Boston.

What workout did you just come from?
Yoga class. Me and my crew do something called freedom fitness. You work out wherever you can — very organic. Yoga plays into that.

Has anyone ever hit on you while you're working on your freedom fitness?
Maybe. It's always hard to tell when a woman is hitting on a man, because you can't tell if she's being nice or if she's actually trying to pick you up. I'd like to say I've had a couple of experiences, but I probably shouldn't talk about them in front of my current love.

But that's exactly the kind of thing I want to hear about!
It's gone down a couple of times.

Gone down? Educate me. In the mall? In the club?
It's “going down, basement,” to quote Nicki Minaj. For some people, there's a lot of sexual dynamics when you're working out — breathing heavy and all that.

What's the sexiest yoga pose?
From a male perspective… I'm a black man. I'm pretty into downward dog.

shirt: own design (, shorts: Nike, shoes: Nike crosstrainers

Dasha, 26, chef

What did you do in the gym today?
I'm training for a marathon right now. The New York City Marathon.

Awesome — I want to cheer on the marathon this year. Are you running for a charity?
I'm running for Gilda's Club. I'm very excited; it's my first marathon. I'm also taking all these strength classes and core-exercise classes.

I think you pull off those shoes, but a lot of people think Vibrams are creepy. Any comment?
They are creepy, but I feel better working out with them. I take these weight-lifting classes, and I tried the regular sneakers, but it just wasn't working out. I do anything that doesn't involve running either barefoot or in these. If you drop a weight on your sneakers, it's still going to hurt, so I'm not worried. The only reason I even wear these to the gym is that I'm not sure of the cleanliness of the floor. At home, I'd go barefoot.

Do you and your husband work out together?
We do; we're doing something called the Insanity Workout. It's sixty-three days, and you do it every day. We're on day thirty-two today.

Oh my God. Good luck.
It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But after a month, you can tell a difference. I have abs that I never had before.

Has anyone ever tried to hit on you in the gym?
Yeah. My husband says if they aren't trying to hit on you, you should worry. But a lot of times when guys approach me, they're more interested in what workout I'm doing.

You don't think that's just a scam?
Maybe, but I just mention my husband to them and they go away.

shirt: Nike, pants: Lululemon, shoes: Vibram, headband: Paragon, bag: Target

Jill, 20, psychology student

Do you think your style has changed since you moved to New York for school?
No, I've always been kind of risque. 

Yeah, those shorts are super-short.
Sometimes I get cat-called by creeps on the street. But it's so hot! You’ve got to flaunt it if you've got it.  

What do you think about other people's gym styles?
People wear their leggings or Lululemon, but I stick with Nike. Everybody wears Lululemon, but I'm just not into it.

Has anyone ever tried to pick you up at the gym?
Yeah, a couple of times, and I don't know why. I'm usually a sweaty mess. I guess that's attractive.

You sound like a pro. Have you ever started a relationship with someone you met at the gym?
I gave one guy my number, and he texted me, but I was actually seeing someone else at the time so I blew him off. I just told him it wasn't the right time for me. Haven't heard from him since.

shirt: Victoria's Secret, shorts: Nike, shoes: Nike, bag: Longchamp