Author: Nicole McPherson; Illustrations: Mark Collins
Under the dim lighting at one of your favorite restaurants, you gaze at the woman across the table from you and can’t help but mentally pat yourself on the back for landing such a perfect date. Is she hot? Check. Laughs at all your jokes? Check. Can carry a decent conversation? Check. You think to yourself, Now this is a woman with second-date potential.
Very soon, however, the evening takes a bit of a turn. You carefully scan the menu to find a muscle-friendly option and then order the grilled chicken breast, baked yam and mixed-green salad with balsamic dressing on the side; your date stares at you with a look of confusion and embarrassment. She’s just ordered the house burger (with bacon and cheese) and fries. “Don’t worry,” you reassure her. “Eat what you want. This is just my diet. I’m a bodybuilder.”
The rest of the evening goes well, but as weeks pass and the two of you go on a few more dates, you soon realize your passion for bodybuilding — and her lack of interest in the sport — has become a deal breaker. What you need is someone who understands your love of the iron, a woman who gets why you put your body through such pain, a woman who won’t complain or get jealous every time you hit the gym. Better yet would be someone who actually lives the same lifestyle! These women do exist — it’s just a matter of finding them. We’re going to show you where to look. And as you’ll find out in the pages ahead, it may be easier than you think — all you need is online access.
QUIT CLUBBING + GET CLICKING
Whether you’ve tried it in the past to no avail or have adamantly boycotted the idea, it’s time to open your mind to online dating. If you’re cringing at the very thought, there’s really no reason to — millions of people just like you are using the Web as a dating tool. In fact, according to a report published by JupiterResearch, paid online-dating sites are expected to create $1.9 billion in revenue by 2012, up 111% since 2007.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you probably already know what online dating is all about. As a bodybuilder, however, you’re not like other guys out there in the dating pool. Most of your free time is spent training at the gym, cooking next week’s meals or resting your body, so it’s understandable that hitting the bars every night to work the singles scene isn’t a very feasible (or perhaps appealing) option. With online dating, though, you can meet people from the comfort of your home. After you set up an account and build your profile (including pictures of yourself and a description of who you are and what you’re looking for in a match), you gain access to thousands of other people via their profiles. Without even changing out of your ratty old gym pants, you can search for women across the city, state, country … and even beyond!
There a ton of dating Web sites out there and you’re probably familiar with some of the big names in the business. However, in your quest to find someone who understands and shares your passion for physical improvement, it only makes sense to narrow your focus to a site geared specifically to bodybuilders and fitness-minded people (see “Online Dating Resources”). Imagine never having to explain to a date again why you religiously travel with a cooler stocked full of containers of food, why you wake up at ungodly hours for morning cardio or why you train to the point that it hurts. Some women understand all of this, and they’re out there — probably checking their inboxes as we speak! So whether you’re simply looking for a new workout partner, a hookup or someone with serious introduce-to-Mom potential, dedicated bodybuilding dating sites are the way to go.
WORTH THE CLICK
Here is some background information from a couple of sites that, as a bodybuilder, you may want to consider:
Fitness-singles.com — 1.5 Million Members and Growing
Stuck in a small town where the selection of women isn’t exactly busting at the seams? Then register for free on fitness-singles.com to reach single women from all over the world!
“The main feature that sets us apart from other bodybuilding dating sites is that there are so many members,” says Christopher Mattioli, CEO of Fitness Singles. “Throughout all categories, we have close to 1.5 million members around the world. We are the largest global site in the fitness-dating category.”
Fitness Singles caters to six major countries: USA, Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. According to Mattioli, members often look beyond their time zone to find a match. “It’s definitely not uncommon for someone from New York to venture out and connect with a person from California, and vice versa,” he explains. “People who follow this type of lifestyle are pretty passionate about finding someone who shares the same outlook and values, so they don’t necessarily think, ‘I’m going to search only within 10 miles of where I live.’ With fitness dating, the doors tend to be open wider.”
Getting started on Fitness Singles is quick and easy. On the home page you’ll be asked, “What’s Your Fitness Passion?” and can choose from more than 100 sports and activities. If your passion is bodybuilding, you can either look for someone in the same category, or branch out to any of the others.
“Not only does the site ask what your specific area of fitness is, it asks you what level you’re at,” Mattioli says. “You rate your abilities within that category from 1–5. Someone that we’d classify as a five-star bodybuilder, who’s professional and competes, may not want to be with someone who’s just dabbling with the sport, who’s rated herself as a one-star.”
If you’re new to online dating and want to start off slow, Fitness Singles is a great place to do it. “I think if you go to one of the generic dating sites, a lot of people are really focused on finding someone as fast as possible,” says Mattioli says. “But some individuals who approach our site may first look for a workout partner or something on that level, and use the site to test the waters instead of jumping right into the hookups or romance. Either way, the whole stigma of ‘If you’re online, you must be really desperate’ is gone. If you ask around now, there’s a good chance you’ll come across couples who’ve met online.”
Bodybuilderpassions.com — One Easy Login, Access to Multiple Sites
A free dating and social-networking site for people — as the name suggests — with a passion for bodybuilding. Do your buddies often accuse you of being too picky? No problem. You can refine your search by specific groups: fitness model, female bodybuilder, natural bodybuilder, personal trainer, diet counselor and more.
Created in 2004, Bodybuilder Passions is part of Passions Network, which houses more than 130 niche dating sites such as Car Passions, Golfing Passions, Movies Passions, to name just a few.
“The Passions Network launched with 100 sites, including Bodybuilder Passions,” explains Michael Carter, Passions Network president. “People within Bodybuilder Passions are much more likely to understand the rigorous nutritional demands that bodybuilding requires, not to mention their very regular workout routines. If someone was going on a first date with someone from a generic dating site, they might have to explain why they were choosing a certain restaurant or why they couldn’t eat certain foods.”
Even if you give Bodybuilder Passions a go and still struggle to find a perfect match, you don’t have to throw in the towel. Remember, the membership also grants access to more than 130 other Passions dating sites. “One of the basic differences in the Passions Network is that there is a single account, with a single login, but members can choose any number of sites that represent their passions in life — the idea being that it’s easier to break the ice if you share something in common with someone else,” Carter says. “With a network of very focused, niche sites, members are able to build their own personal menu of communities where they’re surrounded by people who share their passions.”
TIPS FROM AN E-DATING EXPERT
Meet Laurie Davis — digital dating coach, founder of eFlirtexpert.com
and co-host of the weekly Web program “LoveNation.” If you’ve registered for online dating but aren’t having much luck with it, she’s the person to call. Laurie provides a wide range of services designed to improve your chances of online success, such as helping you build better dating profiles, send better messages and attract better dates. For New York and Boston clients, she’ll even take you out on the town and help you master the art of approaching women. Featured in such publications as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post, Laurie helps people all across the country “market their singledom.”
“The social stigma of online dating has definitely lifted and it continues to become more acceptable every day,” says Davis. “Our lifestyles have only gotten more hectic, but our need for companionship hasn’t changed. More and more singles are realizing that online dating fits most seamlessly into their busy lives. This type of dating is so popular now; if you’re not online, you’re missing out on so many great matches! A presence on a dating site is becoming a norm as part of being single.”
As Davis explains, your dating profile is your “virtual first impression,” so it needs to reflect your best self. Her advice is to always include pictures and have an interesting, easy-to-read bio. “Make sure you have 4–7 pictures posted that clearly show your face, and at least one that’s full length,” she elaborates. “As far as the profile text is concerned, length is important. The ‘About You’ section should focus on unique aspects about you, in about three paragraphs. The first sentence should grab people’s attention. Make sure you fill out the entire profile as well; leaving questions unanswered sends a subtle message that says you’re not willing to open up. You want to make it as easy as possible for a match to find common ground.”
Once your dating profile is in peak condition, the quest can begin. One of the beauties of online dating is that you can prescreen your dates by e-mailing back and forth or chatting on the phone before meeting. If at any point along the way you don’t think the person is right for you (or if Googling her name has provided some less-than-flattering results), you can simply pull the plug. If and when you’re ready to take the plunge and meet face-to-face, however, here’s Davis’ advice: The first date is not a true first date, just consider it a meet-up. “The first date is just an opportunity for you to get to know each other in real time and see if chemistry exists,” she says. “Grab a drink, get a cup of coffee or go for a walk — any activity that’s short and casual. The first time you meet a match, limit your time together to 30–90 minutes. After this initial hang, you can then decide if you want to go on a real first date.”
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
At this very moment, millions of single women around the world are scrolling their screens for prospects and checking their mailboxes … and not seeing your profile! Before you mistakenly hit on the cute girl at your gym who’s already with another guy, or before your buddy tries to set you up with yet another girl with a “great personality,” give online dating an honest try. It’s easy, convenient and — now more than ever — it’s what other girls and guys do. Who knows? Your fitness match or bodybuilding beauty could be just a few mouse clicks away.