The garbage year that was 2016 is officially behind us.
With the new year comes a lot of room for personal growth to accomplish goals that will really get you vibin' again. And we all know the most popular resolutions when it comes to making a change in your life are finding love and getting fit.
If you're an avid gym-goer, you're already well aware that, right after New Year's, your local fitness center becomes just as crowded as Times Square during its annual New Year's Eve celebrations.
After gorging on calorie-filled holiday meals and lots of holiday drinking, divulging in some strength conditioning and pilates is a top priority for lots of people throughout the entire month of January.
But after that, most end up back in their sweatpants with no real intention of leaving the couch.
Others, like myself (the more dedicated ones), stick to their guns after January is over in hopes of actually seeing positive results. A little effort can go a long way if you actually stick with it.
That's where the love part comes in.
After spending way too much time stuck behind an iPhone screen, I've concluded that swiping just ain't gonna cut it. I need to be more assertive, more aggressive and actually speak to strangers in public instead of cowering in fear like a toddler about to start kindergarten if I'm serious about finding love this year.
Since I'm such a dedicated gym rat, why not look for a new bae at the gym?
It may not seem like your first choice when looking for your soulmate, but that roided-out hotbox of noise-making men and women is filled with more eager singles than you actually may think.
So, when you find yourself rolling on over to your closest Equinox, Sports Club or whatever overpriced facility you may be a part of, remember that love is in the air... even if it smells a little like sweat.
Below, find a few pointers to keep in mind when you're looking for love at the gym:
Look like you care.
This may not be an entrance to the Met Gala, but you can still put in some effort when throwing on your gym clothes.
Baggy stuff may be ideal, but instead of that raggedy, old garbage bag, opt for something a little more form-fitting, flattering and appropriate.
Showing that you actually want to be there is also an attractive quality. If you're moping around from machine to machine, unable to get through an easy rep of 15, it'll show.
No one wants to approach a whiner.
Broaden your horizons.
I'm not one to veer far away from my beloved treadmill, but every once in a while, I'll force myself into an intense class surrounded by the most beautiful of people.
While slightly embarrassing at first, I've learned to get over my fear of being inadequate because, even if I can't lift as much as the next guy, I'm still present and trying my hardest.
Plus, we're all there for the same reason — that already means we have something in common. Now, hopefully we share other interests aside from trying to get swole.
Try not to have a routine.
If you're one to always follow a schedule, now's the time to veer a little off course.
Your weekly workouts post-work may be convenient, but it's important to switch it up every once in a while if you want the opportunity to see who you're missing out on.
Finding someone who works out in the morning could be a definite plus — it means they're motivated and committed to their health. Searching around that 6 pm group means they haven't run out of gas after a long day on the job (a positive sign for future date nights).
Anyone who finds the time to work out mid-day, well... they need to get their priorities in order. Stay away.
Don't be lazy.
Getting your ass to the gym is probably the hardest part. But once you're there, savor it as much as you can.
Be friendly, show some teeth and spark up a conversation with the person next to you. You aren't trying to butt into someone's bench press, but find a common ground to invest a little conversation in.
You could ask for advice, or even be someone's spotter. Your time spent at the gym — whether for 30 minutes or double that time — will give you the confidence you need to talk to people because you're getting more and more ripped by the minute.
And time invested with the equipment and the people around you is time well spent.
What's the worst that could happen?