By Nancy Noreman
Scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, I see so many attractive “Single” people whose statuses advertise their lacking love life. I know many of them, especially some of the hottest women in the fitness industry, who are single and have so much to offer yet have the hardest time in the singles scene. Why are all these “great catches” not finding lasting love? What has changed in our society that makes it so difficult for them to couple up?
Single Americans make up more than half of the adult population in America for the first time since the government began keeping track in 1976, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. It just doesn’t seem vogue to be married anymore—being in a couple is not a priority for many. In fact, when a Gallup Daily Tracking Survey asked single people under 40 what their life goals were, 47 percent of Generation Xers listed marriage as a goal, but millennials reduced that to 30 percent. There are numerous sets of statistics on this, but they all confirm the same point: America is definitely trending a demographic shift to single life.
Let’s narrow those numbers to the gym-going population. Only 16 percent of Americans have a gym membership or go to the gym, according to the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association). That certainly does not make it very easy for the fit and single to pair off, does it?
Do the math: if you go to work for eight hours per day and go to the gym for two hours, three to five days a week, just how much time do you have to socialize? And don’t forget time spent commuting to each location, eating, doing errands, and all the other regular activities of life. How much time does someone have left for a social life, especially if she is a single parent—or the parent of a fur baby?
Many gym goers are looking for someone who is also into a “fit” routine. They want someone who makes taking care of his physique a high priority, but if you look at the above statistics, they have a very limited pool of candidates from which to choose.
Have you noticed how society treats people who are above average in the way they take care of their bodies? If you are lean and fit, with muscle tone, and you watch your food intake, you may hear comments freely tossed your way about how vain you are, what you eat, and how often you go to the gym. People often feel that it’s perfectly okay to comment on a person who takes care of her appearance but would never say directly to an obese person, “Hey, you are 150 pounds overweight—maybe you should order a salad instead of fries.” To a woman who’s fit, they seem to have no problem saying things like, “I want to get in shape, but I don’t want arms as muscular as yours—I think that’s gross.”
So what’s the fix for the fit and single? When something you’re doing is not working, you have to evaluate exactly what you’re doing and change your ways. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? It’s definitely not!
Start by taking stock and keep track of what you have been doing. For one thing, if you’re counting on the gym to provide your one and only, you may have a long wait.
Evaluate yourself. It’s not easy to assess your own behavior, so I suggest eliciting the help of your most honest friend. “The eye cannot see itself”—most people truly do not know their own defects or don’t want to admit them. Asking someone to help you evaluate your approach is not much different from hiring a physique coach to help you in the gym.
Here are some steps to take as you evaluate your dating behavior and look to make some changes.
1) Track your last three relationships. List the top three things you liked best about each one. Also list the three things you liked least about them.
2) Ask yourself, why did the relationship end? If, for example, you saw right away the reason that ultimately ended it but made excuses in the beginning, and that has happened more than once, you are the classic person making the same mistake over and over. It usually happens because you are attracted to the other person and you ignore all the problems, right?
I hear it all the time: “I have to be attracted to him (or her)!” They always go for the looks first and make excuses for everything else. Having spent much of my life in the fitness world and having life-coached several fit and single people through relationships, I can tell you that it is the biggest mistake I see. I agree that there must be attraction, but if you’re not attracted to the way someone makes you feel as much as, if not more than, how horny you feel, that relationship will never last.
It is completely adolescent to build a relationship on how horny you are. Looks fade, period, and what’s left is what’s left. Here is another way to think of it: there are SO many things you can do to assist and spruce up someone’s appearance but absolutely nothing you can do to spruce up someone who is selfish, narcissistic, unkind, and thoughtless, among other negative qualities.
Make Some Changes
After evaluating what you may have been doing wrong, make a priority list of what you need in another person. It takes work to understand what you really need; however, once you take the time to identify it, choosing the right person will become much easier.
The next step is to widen your search. It’s time to look outside of the gym for meeting new people. That will greatly open up your prospects. Bookstores, museums, healthy excursions, cooking classes, and singles getaways are just a few of the possibilities.
Once you start dating someone new, keep a relationship diary and avoid intimacy for at least five dates. Five whole dates? OMG, yes! Get to know the person. That way you will see all of the flaws that do not work for you, and you will have no intimacy blinders on.
Finding the right person for you may take some time, so be patient. Enjoy the journey. While you may not find Mr. or Ms. Right, you may meet some fantastic people along the way.
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Nancy Noreman has been immersed in the fitness industry for more than 25 years.
Her unique perspectives, coming from her experiences as a supplement maker, media host, fitness model, trainer, designer, author and wife to one of the brightest minds in the sport, has made her a keen observer of all facets of the fitness lifestyle. Formerly the owner of Nuclear Nutrition, Nancy is also a judge for the United States Pole Dance Federation (USPDF), as well as a trusted insider on the bodybuilding scene.