Jamie Eason on Finding Romance at the Gym
How would you feel if someone at the gym approached you and asked to go on a date? I asked this question, late one night, while on the radio with Jamie Eason. A friend, Monkia Gaba, called in to find out what we were talking about. Here is what they said:
Stefan Pinto: Monika? This is nice. I didn’t know you frequent the gym.
Monkia Gaba: [laughs] actually… actually, I um… I don’t really go to the gym. Maybe I go to the gym once every two weeks. I don’t know if that counts [laughs]
Jamie Eason: [laughs] every little bit counts.
SP: But Monika, I trained you at Equinox. Remember?
MG: [laughs] oh yeah! In Miami! Yes. I do remember. Equinox is a very high-end, trendy gym. Everyone was so dressed up…
SP: That’s only at Equinox. The one in Los Angeles is the same vibe. Jamie, are you dating anyone?
JE: [laughs] What’s up with that? I’m not married, let’s put it that way!
MG: Oh yeah! [laughs] Great answer!
SP: Ok, fair enough. Assuming you’re not dating anyone, will you find it valiant if someone came up to you and asked you out for a protein shake — or coffee?
JE: [laughs] This is my life and so I have to go to the gym. I get paid to eat right and workout, so if I can’t do that, it’s pretty pitiful. Although it’s really cool to meet somebody with a common interest, I’m really there to seriously work out… I’m so limited on time. I would suggest if people are going to do that, to first feel out the situation for a while; respect someone’s boundaries, let them actually workout. If you keep seeing the person, repeatedly, you can make a little eye contact, here and there… there’s a moment when you’ll know, okay, I can maybe say ‘hello.’ And, make it brief, ‘cause if you like one another, or there’s a connection, I think you’ll find each other again. You have a choice what time you want to work out, so if suddenly the person starts coming earlier or later, then it’s probably a safe bet that they’re not that interested in you [laughs] so you might want to back off a little bit [laughs]. It can be awkward. It can be like dating somebody at work. I say you never date co-workers. If it fails, you can’t go in there!
SP: You would have to change gyms.
JE: Or imagine that I did get a boyfriend or he got a girlfriend and you bring the new person in there?! That would really suck!
SP: [laughs] Yeah, that would. Would you ever approach a guy at the gym?
JE: I’m kind of old fashioned. I probably wouldn’t. I would do the flirty eye thing…
MG: But, when would you make the move?
JE: I would let the guy do it. The guy always makes the move. I’m from the South. It’s old fashioned. I know.
SP: Well, Monika, would you make the move?
MG: I have… in the past… but I would agree with Jamie, and I learned the hard way that the guy should make the move first [laughs]
SP: Why? What does that mean? Did he throw a weight at you or something?
MG: It’s usually the men with commitment issues. If they come up to you first, you know that they’re interested and it’s better if the man approaches. Of course, the woman always chooses. It’s always in the look. A woman knows how to pick up a man by the look she gives, the vibe she gives. But as far as going up to someone, that’s the man’s job.
SP: I think it would be a very brave woman to approach a man at the gym and ask him out… also too depending on the city. Jamie have you ever worked out at any gyms in Los Angeles or Miami?
JE: I’ve been to both. It’s funny, when I went to Miami, I realized how covered up I was. I had on a tank-top and these long, wind-pants, things. I wanted to be comfortable. I walked in and saw some of the tiniest sports bras I have ever seen in my life. I felt like I had on way too much clothes! They were obviously dressed to impress. In LA, there’s a lot of socializing in there; people catching up on what they’re doing next, what they’re getting booked for and all of that. Here, I don’t know if it’s a Southern thing, but I like to think, and I’ll give the Texas guys credit; a lot of them are gentlemen. They respect your space. You can go in there with no make up. They kind of like to see the stripped-down version of you.
SP: Monika, would you go to the gym with no make up on?
MG: Of course! It’s not good for your skin to sweat while you have make up on! It’ll just clog your pores!
SP: I see a lot of girls at the gym with make up on, but granted, they’re not doing a lot of sweating.
MG: I see a lot of girls with permanent make up on.
JE: I will go in there with make up on! I’m going to be honest, I get talked about on forums, and the last thing I want is for people to say, “Oh my God, Jamie looks horrible!” But, it’s because I’ve been sprinting really hard and if I have a red face, come on! So, I will wear a little bit of make up… a tiny bit of make up. Most of my friends do. Monika can vouch for that. Right Monka?
MG: Yes, of course, it’s called “natural make up” or “no make up.”
SP: You know, Jamie, one of my friends mentioned how much she admires you as a fitness model. She said that you don’t look incredibly muscular, but rather very feminine while looking in very good shape.
JE: Aww, thank you. That’s so sweet. Different body types lend themselves to different looks. I knew a long time ago that I would never be a super model. So, for me building muscle and tone, really enhances my overall appearance. There are some people, like Kim Kardashian, she has major curves; she looks beautiful. Her only workout could very well be just cardio, because she may just want to keep her small, curvy shape. For me, I prefer to do weights. I want to keep my shape, and, if you have a little bit of muscle on your body you can get away with less cardio, ‘cause I hate cardio. A little bit of muscle makes you burn more calories when you’re resting. So, I can eat more, I can get away with less cardio. For me, it’s the perfect combo; I like just the weights and a little bit of cardio.
SP: Do you get more looks when you do cardio or when you do weights?
JE: Weights! [laughs]. I’m pretty strong for being such a little, tiny person! I weigh 104 pounds and I could do 50-pound dumbbell press — one in each hand. I’m pretty strong! [laughs]
SP: When you do weights, there’re mirrors everywhere as opposed to when you do cardio… so you’re more aware. When you do cardio, you’re just trying to get through it, you’re so tired. You don’t want anyone to look at you.
MG: So Jamie, if you were in a relationship with someone would you go together to the gym?
JE: For sure! The way I would prefer it is if I met somebody outside of the gym and brought them there to work out with me. If you break up, you don’t get stuck having to figure out a new gym to go to. And if they already go to a gym, then you can flip-flop, go to mine sometimes, go to his sometimes. It adds variety. If you meet him at the gym, it can get complicated. It’s a catch-22, you can meet the love of your life there, end up getting married and live happily ever after and that’s wonderful. But speaking of what my job is, I have to be sensitive of getting my job done. And if people have a goal to do, a triathlon or to run a marathon or even to compete, you really must stay focused otherwise you won’t meet your goal.
SP: I agree. You shouldn’t date someone you meet at the gym, especially if it’s the same gym. If you do meet at the gym, it’s better if you have separate schedules. Maybe on a Saturday —
MG: I think it’s actually a lovely place to meet someone!
SP: You get to see someone in a different element, with no make up, with all different facial expressions —
MG: It’s during the day and not just at night, over wine…
JE: Yeah! [laughs]
MG: [laughs] You get to see what they really look like! [laughs]
JE: Right! [laughs] What’d you say Stefan?
[lots of laughing. It takes a while for them to stop laughing]
SP: You do get to see their body type. But Jamie isn’t it difficult to date an opposite? Someone who has no desire to be fit or no interest in being fit?
JE: Oh, it’s hard. I eat very regularly. I stick to my schedule. I eat really clean; there are some restaurants that are totally off limits. I don’t drink alcohol… I’ll have it on special occasions. So, I agree with Monika, I think it’s a good place to potentially meet someone, but it’s something that you should thread lightly. Respect their workout. If there’s an interest, it will develop naturally. If you rest too long between sets, you won’t get an effective workout and you’ll feel like you wasted your time.
SP: We go to the gym to keep fit, sure, but sometimes I use it to release stress. Have you ever been accused of being mean simply because you were so focused on getting that stress out? Say someone approached you and asked, “how many more sets you have left?” and you accidentally bark, “I have a lot left!” Has that ever happened to you?
JE: [laughs] I’m always perfectly charming and lovely. I don’t know what you’re talking about… [laughs]. Noooo, I’m sure I’ve done that before. It can get stressful and I can feel completely exhausted and maybe sometimes when people do want to talk, I still try and stay focused but if someone is looking to me for advice, most of the time I will accommodate and be friendly. People look to you for advice and I would appreciate if someone who knows more than me, gave me advice. When I started, I would’ve loved to have that. I see more and more women in the gym, which is awesome and I would much rather encourage them than snub them. But you can be there to blow off steam. Sometimes.
SP: Are men intimidated by you?
JE: You know, it’s funny to me, sometimes I’ll be somewhere and they’ll look at me and see muscle and they’ll comment, [deepens voice] “I have muscle, you have muscle, let’s make babies!” [laughs]. That’s not what I look for. I like wit and humor and charm. I prefer nuances in people. Muscles are nice and if you have them, that’s great. The men that would come up to me, usually have big muscles and the others not so much ‘cause maybe they feel that they have to step up their game or get in better shape before they can approach me, which is really sad, so if there are guys listening and you’re not quite as developed, I can help you. I can help you work out.
SP: Monika, I know you like music men, but would you ever date a trainer?
MG: I don’t know… they’re really strict. Will he bring it home?
JE: Monika, they work in very close proximity with the opposite sex or to the same sex…
MG: Yeah, I know. I thought of that! [laughs] At least with the music people, the groupies are off stage; they’re not in your lap!
SP: So if someone is single and they’re running to a spin class, and you stop them to chat, but they don’t want to chat because they don’t want to lose their bike, do you think that person is missing an opportunity? I mean, if you’re going to spin to look good to meet someone and on the way to spin class they meet someone, but they’re late for spin class, so they don’t talk to you, are they missing an opportunity?
MG: That is really deep, Stefan… Wow…
JE: That’s a good one, but if you’re working out just to get a man or just to get a woman, then you’re working out for the wrong reasons. You should be working out to live longer and be healthier! [laughs].
MG: There are a lot of people who work all the time or are shy and the gym might help them to open up and meet people. I go to the gym with a friend — my cousin, actually — and sometimes he goes to the gym to watch sports while he’s on the bicycle….
SP: Wait! This is a guy? You go to the gym with a guy? Monika, you’re never going to meet anyone if you go to the gym with a guy.
MG: He’s my cousin! My distant cousin!
SP: Is that written on his shirt? “Hello. I’m Monkia Gaba’s Distant Cousin.”
MG: But you know what, he goes with me to meet girls. Guys find it easier to meet girls if they’re already with another girl.
JE: Ok, I see this all the time and I have to bring it up: a lot of girls pick up their weights and go in the corner because they want to be left alone. For the most part, if the girl has her stuff in the corner, I would suggest you just stay away. That girl is probably there to work out.
This interview took place in Los Angeles. Jamie Eason is an American fitness model and writer. She is also a former NFL cheerleader and winner of the World’s Fittest Model competition. Visit her website to learn more: http://www.jamieeason.com Monika Gaba is a Bollywood actress and singer. Her latest single, Surrender, was released in June 2011. View the music video for Surrender on YouTube.