Ever been called an adrenaline junky? Maybe an extreme sports fanatic, or maybe just a lunatic? I’m sure you outdoorsy nuts out there have a loose screw somewhere that makes you want to jump off 20 foot drops on a mountain bike, or take a 7 day kayak trip. Even though by most standards you are clinically insane, chances are you still have many of the same desires as the non-fat no-foam half-caf latte city folk. Specifically, you dream of the day when you have a great girl in your life, the type of girl you could spend hours with chatting endlessly, one that would occupy your thoughts throughout the day, and one you would constantly lust over. Did you ever think past that and wonder how you would incorporate that wondrous woman into all the different facets of your life? Probably not. How the heck are you going to convince your new girlfriend to do the downhill track in Whistler, or go camping in the winter? How do you get your new girlfriend into your favorite sport?
Women can be a fickle bunch, some more sensitive than others, all needing similar things from you. Every woman needs her man to be patient, supportive and understanding, especially when pushing her comfort zones trying new sports. These may sound like regular traits that most people have, but in my experience, and that of all my girlfriends, sometimes men forget the basics in the heat of the moment.
Here’s the thing: men with their buddies will practically kill themselves to prove their manhood, and would never ever dare squelch on a challenge. Women are NOT this way. We want to feel safe, in control, and most of all appreciated for putting ourselves out there for your critiquing. Be gentle at first, and let us get comfortable. Going slow for the first couple rides will guarantee future rides and a lot less frustration for both parties. It’s great that you want us to go at your level. After all, it only took you 3 broken arms, a fractured collar bone and an ACL reconstruction to get to where you are. Of course on the first ride ever, we may not be delighted to drop off your favorite cliff or bike to Squamish and back.
Here are a few tips to get your woman into your sports.
Ask first before you plan. Find out if she would be interested in doing something with you. (Hint, tell her how much you would love to include her in this part of your life; women love hearing that stuff. Then mention there is this beautiful lookout that she just has to see. Sell her on the romance aspect…it’s a sure bet.)
Take your woman’s lifestyle into consideration. If she’s adventurous, she may be up for more than if she is a shy and quiet person. If she has led a sheltered life, versus having traveled the world, she may require more or less prodding.
Go slow, and don’t suggest anything crazy. Let her set the pace. Don’t roll your eyes, complain that “you’re not even working hard,” or ride ahead for a while to “get some exercise.” Remember, the goal is to get her into your sport, not make her dump you because you were being a jerk.
Be patient, and give suggestions, not commands. Don’t bark at her to gear down, or to keep her head up. Be nice for crying out loud, she is working her butt off for you!
Progressively try harder things. After a few times out, suggest a new trail that you think she is ready for now. That’s the key: tell her you have seen her improve and think she’ll really enjoy this one. Make sure to tell her that if at any point she doesn’t like it, you can stop (Very important – likely once she’s in, she’ll be fine, but just knowing this will make it less intimidating).
Tell her how much you are enjoying her company and how excited you are to try something she likes (don’t worry, you don’t actually have to go to the ballet, she may forget you mentioned it).
After, take her out for a nice dinner or drink and tell her how hot you thought she looked peddling up that hill or trudging through the river. Guaranteed second ride.
Wait 3 days before mentioning it again (meaning don’t ride her about it and hound her to go out again until she has had time to get the lactic acid out of her legs).
Most women want to do things to make their boyfriends happy and proud. She is going to want praise for going with you and working hard. Even if she sucked, tell her how great it was. Even if she bitched non-stop (hey, some women just aren’t gonna work out) tell her you had fun (and make a mental note to never ask her again). The key is to communicate how nice it was to spend time with her doing something you love. Tell her you want to help her get better, and maybe even buy her a new outfit or an uber comfy seat for her bike (this will actually help you out, because chances are her sit bones are gonna hurt, and she won’t want to…).
To get what you want you have to work for it. If you want your new girlfriend to participate in your favorite sport, you will need to be patient, be reassuring and be grateful. Push, but only push if she responds well to a challenge. Remember that if you ever want to get her out again, go easy (easy in her opinion, not yours) on the first excursion. Build to bigger and better things. Develop the trust and togetherness that is bound to come from physically challenging her and your relationship. It may seem like a lot of work, but if done right, you might end up like my dad and his wife, who’ve biked together across Italy, the Mohave Desert, and many other crazy places. Eye on the prize, guys, even when she hates you for making her ride 100km into the wind with no stops. Worse comes to worst, if you just can’t get her to do what you want, punish her out there so she knows how hard it is, and might give you a massage when you get back!