The first date was magical.
You wore spandex pants, tried a new kind of cardio and left with a rosy glow. It was practically love at first sweat, better than any date you’ve attended.
Tinder dates leave you hanging or make you feel cheap, but this new workout never did. In an artfully lit studio, a muscular trainer shouted positive reinforcement until you burned off the entirety of your Friday night drunk pizza.
In fact, you left the studio wondering how soon you could come back. Checking in online soon became a race to see how fast you could get into your next class.
At $30 or so per lesson, they cost more than your average manicure. But, hey: Love is love.
This is how the workout obsession begins; slowly at first, then building speed with all the ferocity of spin bike during a Calvin Harris club banger.
You’re fully aware you haven’t called you friends back with plans to go out Friday night, you have an early class Saturday morning. You’re also spending an outrageous amount of your monthly income to bike in place.
Love makes people do crazy things. The idea certainly still applies, even if your new relationship is with physical fitness.
Falling in love with a workout is a bizarre experience. You’re thoroughly obsessed, but there’s no one to tell. You can’t take a Pilates reformer to meet your parents for brunch, after all.
Not sure if you’re head over heels yet? Here are just a few of the signs.
1. You stalk your teacher on social media.
Your instructor is good-looking, age-appropriate and -- just maybe -- single? There's only one way to get to know the person responsible for your baby biceps is by looking him or her up on Twitter, Instagram and even Facebook.
How else will you learn exactly where and when your next class is, honestly?
2. You forgo any social event in favor of working out.
Happy hour after work once seemed like an opportunity to relax and bond with your coworkers. Now, however, not even free booze can keep you away from the studio. You duck out of group brunches, cocktails and even plans to see a movie, worried you'll miss a chance to feel the burn of a hardcore workout.
3. You wake up at the crack of dawn to go exercise.
There once was a time no one saw you before noon on a Saturday, but your new love has changed all that. Like those neon-clad gym bunnies you once loathed, you're up at 5 am during the week clad in Lululemon. Coffee and a protein shake starts your day, not a belly stuffing breakfast sandwich.
You're so committed to the morning rise-and-grind, you've even asked the office manager to keep a bottle of dry shampoo on hand at all times.
4. You basically stop communicating with your friends.
The phone next to your gym bag keeps buzzing, but that group text can't interrupt the high you're getting from exercise. Instead of responding to your friends' weekend plans, you're online scheduling the next lesson.
Every good relationship comes with a "puppy love" phase where you hole up together for weeks at a time; this is yours.
5. You save up in order to buy more classes.
The one force in your life that can't lie is your bank account. Unless a black hole just opened up, you're losing money fast on pricey lessons. Instead of giving up the expensive habit, you give up everything else: meals out, new makeup and organic produce.
Who can even think about potential pesticides when there's a yoga class to take?
6. You get jealous when other people talk about your studio.
It's so difficult to find a fitness program that's loyal to you because everyone else is scrambling to attend as well. Signing up for classes each Monday is a veritable frenzy, but that's nothing compared to how you feel when someone else talks about your favorite workout or instructor.
You briefly see red, then remember yourself and casually drop a few comments about the instructor complimenting your burpee form. That'll show them!
7. You buy a whole new wardrobe to impress your class.
Fitness thrives on competition. Whether you're challenging yourself to another workout or hoping to crush the redhead boxing next to you, goals are a crucial element of all gyms. But, when it comes to class, there's no more powerful dynamic than the top student. She's fierce, color-coordinated and known to down-dog better than anyone else.
To make your presence known, you'll probably find yourself dropping hundreds on an entirely new wardrobe of spandex leggings.
8. You find yourself daydreaming about it, and then begin to wake up.
Like any May to December romance, there comes a time when you realize the relationship has taken over your entire life. You don't enjoy spending time together like you once did, and your friends are fatigued of hearing about your newest sports bra purchase.
Like a groggy dreamer waking from a nap, you suddenly realize you've been acting irrationally. Exercise shouldn't be a compulsive habit, but one to balance with everything else in your life.
With that in mind, you decide to take some time away from the gym, your first love.
Until they introduce a new class, that is.