When the average guy ponders over his decision to become more physically attractive, his natural instinct is to hit the gym. Fifty pounds of muscle and a few unhealthy looking veins later, his confidence shoots up, but the female response can remain unaltered.

Of course working out, having muscle and being committed to a routine that demands sacrifice and devotion is attractive on many levels. However, as women, sometimes we want to see you do more than don gym shorts and tank tops.

Some of you may be thinking this seems a bit shallow but let’s think about things another way. Sexuality, attraction and hormones are key to our survival in this race. As we’ve evolved into a more contemporary culture, females’ ideas of manliness has been elevated. That’s not to say that a primal desire does not exist in us; it does, strongly.

But our desires and attentions must be pried and poked with more than just repetitions. We want to see your personality and passion more than anything and sometimes five-day-a-week gym trips don’t show as much as you think it does.

In essence, why stick with one workout routine that limits your ability to engage more fully with women? Here are a few physical activities that can boost your health, your muscle mass and your sexual appeal:

1) Rock Climbing

Why it’s good for you: Rock climbing can engage muscles you didn’t even know you had. It’s agility based and mentally challenging. Yes, the sport has the stigma of having a mainly hippie-ish, acoustic-melody-ridden, Cliff Bar-eating kind of vibe to it, but once you try it out you’ll see why those rock climbers are such confident, mellow dudes and gals.

Why it’s attractive: When guys engage in nature (even if the rock wall is inside an air conditioned room), it sets off a primal desire in women. We like to see you battling intense weather elements and using only your body to achieve great heights. We also know that rock climbers are incredibly limber and have a massive amount of endurance. Bottom line: I’ve never met a male rock climber whose girlfriend wasn’t in a blissful state of calm love.

2) Krav Maga

Why it’s good for you: Forget Karate; if you really want to gain some intense mental and combative strength try Krav Maga. This is the training that is used by the Israeli military and it is an amalgam of useful techniques and combines several areas of self-defense. Not only does it train your arms and legs, but your senses and mental awareness will get a workout as well.

Why it’s attractive: Women can sense when a man knows he can, or can’t, take care of himself and his date if anything were to happen. While we go for humor and personality, we also get quite impressed when we know that you are confident in your abilities. When you devote yourself to physical training where the main goal is being prepared in the event of a ‘worst case scenario’ situation, it gives us the idea that you are realistic and value what your strength can do for others, not just yourself.

3) Woodworking/Home Repairs

Why it’s good for you: Woodworking/building is a sport and let me tell you why. First, it takes patience; this is a physical activity where you can’t cut corners (no pun intended). It takes a lot of strength, depending on what you are building (you’re not getting ripped by hammering a birdhouse); it includes lifting, squatting, leaning, sanding and cutting. It is a workout. A nice bonus is that building a piece of furniture or repairing a piece of your home can give you a great sense of accomplishment and can save you a ton of money.

Why it’s attractive: Forget that romantic movie where the guy builds the furniture and the house and they float around with swans. Your ability to handle a home repair or to make something for practical use is a quality that many women secretly wish all men had. It shows that you have patience, you’re good with your hands and that you can devote your muscles to hobbies that a significant other would find highly useful.

4) Running/Track

Why it’s good for you: Running is a great stress reliever. Even if you engage in other, more physical sports, running will never lose it’s place as one of the healthiest activities in which a guy can engage. Yes you’re building endurance and burning fat, but you’re also alone with your thoughts (or your iPod) and you’re thinking about your day, you’re problem solving and you’re setting goals for yourself—even if you don’t know it. Running is the main physical activity that fights depression and it’s also the first form of transportation we as humans had; so keep that motor oiled.

Why it’s attractive: Running builds a lean, graceful body and a clear relaxed mind. Those are important to women. Additionally, we value that you engage in a solitary activity; ironically, your independent mind gives us a lot of preliminary confidence in your abilities as a partner. Plus, you can sign up for all of those 5ks that raise money for that charity that she’s obsessed with. Win, win.

5) Hiking/Camping

Why it’s good for you: Again, getting in touch with nature is beneficial for a clear mind. It’s also a great way to build endurance and set goals. Depending on the type of terrain and how much you intend on carrying, hiking can be a brutal, brutal sport. It takes a lot of mental awareness and an immense amount of muscle stability. Plus, the fact that your legs can take you to vast, unbelievable scenery is quite the payoff.

Why it’s attractive: Watching you hike or camp gives us the idea that you find peace and joy in the simpler things in life. Your knowledge of how to start a fire, catch a fish and seeing your confidence in an extreme setting is incredibly attractive. Plus, hiking and camping gives us a chance to talk to you. I don’t recommend camping for a first or second date, but there’s no better way to get to know someone than to get to know them amid nature.

In Conclusion

Now, obviously, these activities are completely compatible with a few gym trips a week. The point is that you can be saying more with your physical feats. Men tend to go into the gym and tune out, why not go out and tune in?

The woman you are missing out on could be at the local rock wall, or wishing someone could fix up that antique bookshelf, or getting mugged by a homeless man who insists she stole his buggy.

I’m just saying–she’s out there.

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