Should She Pretend To Love Working Out To Get A Guy?



Name: Couch Surfer

Question: I’m in a town that is well known for its amazing outdoor options (hiking, camping, fishing, kayaking, running, climbing, mountain biking,  ski ing, snowboarding, and more…) and almost *all* the online dating profiles for men here seem to have a singular focus on ‘active lifestyle’, to the exclusion of anything else (well, except for our old friends “travel” and “being laid back/easy going”).

My friends who don’t live here seem to think that guys are “fudging” it or saying that because it’s expected, it’s common, or they can’t think of anything else to say, and they really mean they do it “once in a while”, and that it’s not a lifestyle, it’s exaggerated.

But I beg to differ:
Every picture is of them engaged in intense, beyond-hobby-level athletics (like Tough Mudder Races, competitive biking, super ripped six-eight pack abs on a camping trip, and so on). In a 300 character profile, they spend almost all of it discussing their active, healthy, fit, athletic lifestyle and often outright say they’re looking for someone to share these things with.

I feel like I should rule those guys out right away since if someone says they want to share an active and healthy/fit lifestyle, it pretty much means working out 5-6 times a week, and leisure activities that revolve around sports.

My friends are like “but you don’t need to share everything with them, they can have their hobby and you have yours”. They don’t get that it’s different here. People *live* for the weekends where they can go ski ing or hiking…serious hiking. They move here specifically for the chance to go to the mountains for “fresh powder” 6 months out of the year.

I’m not a couch potato, but I’m not fit. I’m not athletic. I am active only in the very basic sense: I don’t drive by choice so I wind up walking a lot. Leisure activities involving sports: zero. Workouts: average of twice a week, but it’s not a sure thing by any means. I stay healthy by walking, watching my diet, taking my vitamins, and taking care of my mental health.

Would it be disingenuous to go ahead and match with the slightly less intense active dudes and then reveal “Oh, hey, I don’t sports”? It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack here to find guys that aren’t SUPER into sports and outdoorsy stuff.

Is this a “white lie” akin to age/body type/divorce status or is this really a lifestyle difference?
Age: 38


I feel like I should rule those guys out right away since if someone says they want to share an active and healthy/fit lifestyle, it pretty much means working out 5-6 times a week, and leisure activities that revolve around sports.

You should rule them out. Not just because you don’t share their obsession with fitness and sportiness but because – as you’ve admitted – you’re not conventionally thing. Let’s be really clear about something: when people – men and women – over-emphasize their love for outdoor activities and working out, they’re doing it with the intention of warding off anyone that isn’t conventionally attractive. Trust me, if some hot size four beauty whose idea of cardio was running in stilettos contacted one of these guys, they’d bend the rules for her. They might dump her very quickly, but they will at least give her a chance. Besides, anybody who insists on having a partner that shares their interests is probably pretty rigid and boring. More than likely they can’t relate to someone who isn’t a carbon copy of themselves. Yawn.

Would it be disingenuous to go ahead and match with the slightly less intense active dudes and then reveal “Oh, hey, I don’t sports”?

Do you mean should you lie about being sporty? No. While I’m all for fudging the truth in a profile, this would be one of those lies where you would get caught very easily.Your muscle tone and definition along with your cardiovascular limitations will give you away. Many years ago I lied to a guy I liked and told him I was a runner. First time we went running I nearly died after two minutes.

Is this a “white lie” akin to age/body type/divorce status or is this really a lifestyle difference?

Listing yourself as fit and posting a recent full body shot is not lying.  Fit is subjective and the picture will be the filter. Fudging your age is so common that only the most anal and paranoid people will care. Brutal truth? Men will take one look at you and think “Nope” strictly because of your body type.  The reason I post a gym selfie is because a) I genuinely enjoy working out and b) I KNOW men will look at my body type in pictures and assume I’m lying. (And because I have great legs and a great butt and like to show them off in my running gear.)

What you should so is be honest about your not-so-active lifestyle and let the guys decide for themselves whether or not to contact you. Yes, it will limit your options, but better to have one or two guys contact the real you than juggling multiple guys only too have them drop you the minute they lay eyes on you. Not only that, but pretending to lead an active lifestyle only to turn around and lol j/k these guys will make you look kind of sad.



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23 Responses to “Should She Pretend To Love Working Out To Get A Guy?”

  1. mxf Says:

    The OP says she’s not fit or athletic, but she doesn’t actually mention if she’s conventionally thin or not? It sounds like she isn’t at all into sports, but I interpreted “I stay healthy by watching my diet” as her nod to looking relatively fit, if not actually being climb-a-mountain fit. A lot of weight management comes down to what you’re eating.

    I think we’ve had this discussion before – whether fit and athletic and active are all just euphemisms for thin. Normally I’d say yes, but it sounds like in the OP’s case it might extend beyond that into actual lifestyle preferences. In which case, why bother matching with people who are bounding out of bed on the weekends to go heli-skiing or whatever if your preference is to have a movie marathon? Surely the whole city can’t be running around doing sports?

    Unless she’s guilty of doing the same thing – scoping out the guys who look the most fit and trying to find a more relaxed match from within that muscle-bound group.

  2. ATWYSingle Says:

    I should clarify that I know who the letter writer is.

    • mxf Says:

      I see. Well, then I guess what you and Nutes said: post clear shots and let the pictures do part of the talking. If the OP isn’t camping/hiking/rappelling down a mountain in her pictures, that will also help show that her interests lie elsewhere.

      Now I can’t stop imagining a city full of brawny, 6-packed fishermen.

    • Nia Says:

      She’s right, I’m height-weight proportional on the curvy side–I’m not some hottie, that’s for sure. I’m not what many people might associate with a couch potato or very unfit (I do work out, but I don’t participate in sports of any kind and working out isn’t fun or enjoyable for me, it’s a way to stay at a reasonable weight and stay healthy) but I find that compared to someone who *is* fit, I am average at best.

      I had a strong feeling that’s what all this “please be into 5Ks” stuff was about on profiles, but many of my friends seem to feel that there’s just no way that a) guys can be that obsessed with fitness or b) that insistent on a certain body type in general. It does burn my bacon that “tell me about your workout routine” or other disingenuous questions have become the new way to screen, but eh, it’ online dating. That’s how it goes.

      Whatever floats your boat is fine with me. I’m not saying someone who works out isn’t appealing but it’s the *level* of interest—the borderline obsession, that’s frustrating me here. It’s like there’s nothing else to do or talk about. Art? Who cares. I’m into sports. Culture? Who cares, I like outdoor activities. Exploring new parts of town? Who cares. And so on.

  3. fuzzilla Says:

    Hmm. I don’t disagree, but it seems like the advice would be hard to take if *every* guy in her area is all Paleo McCrossfit. Maybe it’s like mxf said and she’s only scoping out the hottest guys. Maybe Meetups by interest level would be a better option for her.

  4. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    “Would it be disingenuous to go ahead and match with the slightly less intense active dudes…”

    I’m baffled by the phrasing. “Matching” implies expressing interest which, by definition, cannot be disingenuous. You can and should expess interest in anyone in whom you are interested. Let them decide whether they are interested in you – you don’t need to “rule them out” (nor is that really your choice, you know?)

    You should not feign interest in working out or outdoor activity nor should you disclose that you’re a couch potato. Just include reasonably accurate pictures and let them decide whether they like your body type. Again this is not within your control. They’re goIng to find out soon enough that you’re not into outdoorsy activities and, if it really matters to them, they won’t pursue things. Let them decide that for themselves.

    • K Says:

      I agree with this. I would paint an accurate picture of myself and highlight any activities I do enjoy that guys in my area are into. For example, I’d say I’m not a gym rat, but I try to x workout a couple times a week! I’m not a huge hiker, but I went on x hike last year and enjoyed the amazing views. I used to live in a super outdoorsy area too and although I go on a few ski trips a year and work out a few times a week, I was by no means super outdoorsy. Plenty of my friends in that city are married and not super sporty. I also know girls who do every sport the LW mentioned and still struggle with dating. Putting aside the extreme profiles, I didn’t find guys cared that much about my actual interests if they found me attractive and I had even a tiny amount of interest in their hobbies.

  5. Laura Says:

    I don’t think pretending to be interested in sports would help her much if her profile pictures were accurate and representative of what she really looks like. At the very least she wouldn’t get past first dates. Those who go on and on about their active lifestyle combiened with posting pictures showing off their six-packs ARE looking for someone conventionally fit and attractive, and there’s simply no way around it. All of this under the assumption she’s not like that, of course.

    But I find it really hard to believe that literally the whole town is obsessed with doing sports. I get that some areas are more outdoors-oriented than the others, but unless she’s living in some kind of a permanently open Olympic village, there should be at least some guys out there who are not as intense. Perhaps this is like a gay friend of mine who always complained that all the guys on Grindr or whatever app he was using are so ridiculously fit and muscular that he simply cannot compete with that. After a while he admitted that there are also plenty of guys with different body types and he’s just not looking at their profiles.

  6. AV Says:

    I live in an area very similar to what the OP describes; in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we live in the same general vicinity. People are flocking here from all over the US for jobs and the scenery. Its not an open Olympic village the way another commenter mentions, but its true that the vast majority of people–athletic or otherwise–engage in some kind of outdoor activity. The trails and lakes are crowded much of they year, we have sporting goods stores galore, there are innumerable businesses that will butcher your deer or guide your rafting trip, and so on.

    The most beautiful people will of course always take the most photographs, but outdoor activities here are definitely not limited solely to the fit and pretty. You don’t have to hike 15 miles to a backcountry lake at 9000 feet above sea level to go fishing (although you definitely can), and there are thousands of miles of trails perfectly suited for people who aren’t 19 year old Marines.

    The point? When in Rome, do as the Romans do, but you don’t have to necessarily go full-bore Gladiator. It would probably help to take at least some interest in the local culture if you want to date the locals.

    • Laura Says:

      I think that’s excellent advice. Instead of pretending to be interested, she should try to get involved as much as she can. She really doesn’t need to go hardcore, there are countless outdoor activities. I’m sure she can find something that’s fun for her, and it’s also good for health and a great way to meet new people.
      If the issue here is her lifestyle, a relatively small effort would probably bring pretty good results. But if it’s all about just wanting to get the really hot guys, then good luck with that.

  7. Parenting Says:

    Sounds like she is in the Denver area or some place very similar. I see people of every shape, size and age out here skiing, scaling mountains, rock climbing, hiking, you name it. It doesnt seem that being into the outdoors out here necessarily means you have 4% body fat and look like you just leapt off the cover of Runners World. I wouldnt assume someone is a couch potato just because they are carrying some extra weight.

    But since the OP is a self professed couch potato, what would be the point of trying to attract a guy who wants to spend all his weekends doing something you hate. My dentist is hotter than hot, but he told me he and his girlfriend were spending the weekend ice climbing with cramp-ons. Why would you want that guy?

    • fuzzilla Says:

      **My dentist is hotter than hot, but he told me he and his girlfriend were spending the weekend ice climbing with cramp-ons. Why would you want that guy?**

      Yikes… That’s the kinda thing that would be cool to tell people you did but the actual doing does not sound appealing at all.

      • Parenting Says:

        He told me that because she is from Texas she is not as comfortable with “running across the ice” as he is. Ive heard that if you slip, the only way to stop your slide down the ice mountain is to dig your pick ax into the ice like a break. No thanks. Not the way I want to die. His girlfriend can have him.

        I think the OP should definitely check out groups that focus on her interests. I seriously doubt (as Laura and AV said) that she lives in olympic village. She is just looking in the wrong places or at the wrong dudes.

    • Nia Says:

      Yeah, the thing is I kinda *don’t* want those guys—it’s a mismatch on many levels, the first and most obvious being “league”, quite frankly. However, if I rule them out based on “they won’t date my body type” and “we have a really mismatched lifestyle” than there’s just…not a ton of guys left. So I’m weighing the advice of some friends “Hey, give those workout fanatics/outdoor lovers a chance, you never know!” against my strong hunch that someone who’s every picture is on a mountaintop, or running in a challenging race (not just jogging here) is NOT interested in being with someone who is not outdoorsy or athletic.

      • ATWYSingle Says:

        As DMN said, post appropriate photos and let the guys decide for themselves. You can still message them (which I think is a waste, but whatevs) just keep your expectations low.

  8. UWSGal Says:

    It sounds like she’s in Denver or similar. I think guys are on average more outdoorsy compared to women. Yes they move to Denver/Boise/etc. to do more outdoor activities, but are WOMEN in those places into extreme sports to the same extent? I somehow doubt it. There’re degrees of everything. Everyone can go for a mid-level hike or a bike ride on a weekend, or ski at a ski resort (not talking off piste heli skiing or anything like that). This is fun and nothing wrong with that, and my guess would be that this is the extent that most women partake in outdoors. Boys will be boys and they will do those crazy things, but I doubt that (especially in those out west areas where there’s gotta be more men than women) they have a luxury of nexting a woman just because she is not into white water rafting. I just don’t think that happens. They probably just like to show off in their profiles.

    On the other hand, if the OP just simply dislikes any outdoor activity, that has gotta be rough. It’s like living in NYC and hating restaurants and concerts. Or living in Miami and hating the beach. Doesn’t make much sense. May be she should make an effort to engage in some harmless outdoor activities. It is quite pleasant actually.

    • Nia Says:

      Yeah I am up for a simple hike or a one-night camping trip, that’s fine. But the difference here is that to me, it’s not fun, it’s a favor to the person who’s asking me to do it because they want my company.

      The challenge here is not “oh my gosh how do I get guys with washboard abs and defined ‘Devil’s Horns’?” Those guys aren’t in my league and I know that.

      It’s that these guys *love*, I mean, borderline mania, *love*, outdoor stuff. They want to live in a very sparsely populated area. They want to hike, bike, and ski *every single weekend*. They spend thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of hours doing these hobbies. They specify that they want a woman to enjoy and participate in these hobbies with them. And they have what I would describe as an almost spiritual love for these activities and the surroundings that allow them. They appear to have passed “light 1 hour low-incline hike” or “harmless” outdoor activities as a benchmark long ago.

      That’s not wrong! But I do not share that viewpoint, or passion.

      The same way that it pains me to not be able to nerd out with a potential mate about books or movies, it would eventually pain them not to be able to share “shredding” on the mountain, mountain biking, camping for the majority of the summer, hiking “14ers” and the like.

      • Parenting Says:

        Have you tried meeting people through something other than online dating?

        • Nia Says:

          And how!
          Meetups, specialty groups (like “[City] Urbanism Group” and “Walking Activism”), flirting with guys at work, going out by myself and hoping a cute guy catches my eye, asking friends for set ups, heck, I even tried church (although that was a bit of a dead end, since I’m not religious, but I thought it might be a good way to widen my social network in general), attending house parties of friends….you name it, I’ve tried it.

          I did meet my ex-fiance at work, and two FWB guys (at separate times, heh) at the same networking group, but other than that “real life” seems to be a bit of a bust for me, since I feel I’ve aged out of the bar scene.

      • UWSGal Says:

        I get it. I would date these guys anyway. My take on this is, rational men will have to accept that women are less outdoorsy (and less physically strong) on average, so they can’t expect their g/f to do all the same stuff. They may have to go mountainbiking with their buddies while you’re sipping mimosas at a spa. On the other hand, we as rational women have to accept that men on average are less interested in “culture” and more interested in ourdoors. So, we can go to the opera with our mom or a girlfriend while they are climbing the next peak. And sometimes we can go for a bike ride on a weekend together.

  9. Nicki Says:

    I echo what everyone else has already said. Do not pretend to be something or something who you aren’t or fudge the truth about your activity level.

    I live in an area that is somewhat similar. Guys are into many outdoor activities that may not be my thing solo, but I’m open to joining sometimes. I realize that my lifestyle and looks may not be what every guy is into. so In my dating profiles I clear show myself (face, body, etc) and I also say, “You can find me at the local MMA gym 5-6 days a week” or something like that. If they have an issue with that (and some guys do) then cool, don’t message me… No big deal!

    • Chris Says:

      “It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack here to find guys that aren’t SUPER into sports and outdoorsy stuff.”

      I find this hard to believe. Most people don’t have the time, energy or inclination to be super fit. Even in her area, most men wouldn’t be this heavily into fitness.

      Could she be somehow, inadvertently, filtering out more average men in her searches? Whatever the case, the best thing to do as other posters have suggested is just be honest with her pictures, her fitness level and interest (or lack thereof) in sports.

      • Mel Says:

        I don’t know if she’s from Denver or not, but if she’s from Denver, yes, they *can* be into that level of fitness.

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