Some people seem to be able to eat and drink whatever they like and never find themselves gaining an extra roll or two, but I think it's fair to say for most of us keeping fit and our bodies trim is an on-going battle. But what exactly are our reasons for trying to look in tip-top condition? I think the answer to that question is simple; as well as wanting to be healthy and happy, we want to impress our partners, or we aim to look good to attract a potential boyfriend or girlfriend.
However, recent studies suggest that joining to the gym and working to keep fit may not be as useful for your love life as you think - and in many relationships, the couples are happier when they are not worrying about their weight. Another recent study at the University of Texas and North Carolina State University showed that if one partner lost a substantial amount of weight, the other felt judged and no longer attractive.
Motivation is Key!
Is it really a slim waist and toned thighs, which attracts men? Or taut biceps and a six-pack, which gets women interested? Or is it just the fact that you're motivated enough to hit the gym regularly to look good and feel confident about yourself? Recently I've begun to believe that it doesn't matter how much effort you put into working out or how you look, it's the motivation and the dedication to better yourself in some way - or change something that is making you unhappy - that will make your love life and future endeavours more successful.
Confidence or Arrogance?
I've never really understood which of these traits attracts women as they complain about us being arrogant and full of ourselves but isn't it always the confident guy that they go for in the end? The majority of people do not want a partner who lacks self-esteem and needs constant reassurance, so if you don't feel great about your appearance, working out will not only boost your confidence but also fill you with feel-good endorphins.
Confidence builds other qualities that I think are attractive to the opposite sex, including having a positive outlook on life, being proactive in your work and other relationships and having strong self-esteem. However, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and this is something you should always be aware of. Be assertive but not dominant and ambitious but not conceited.
Despite what has been said in the past, going to the gym isn't the most sociable of activities in terms of meeting new people. Making a move whilst red-faced and drenched in sweat has never been the greatest of ideas in my opinion, and some people don't like being interrupted when they're in the workout zone, so you might not get the response you hope for.
So why not be a little more creative and consider your other options? Going to the gym isn't the only way to get fit and meet people. Joining a sports club can help you lose the festive weight-gain but it has the beneficial aspect of meeting new people and bonding over a team sport. Or if you think you could rival Brendan Cole or Ola Jordan on the dance floor; another option is to join a dance class. It has a far more social atmosphere and it's easier to talk and laugh together as you try to pick up a complex routine. The options are endless: many companies have mixed netball teams for example, or as the weather gets better, join the local tennis club to perfect your backhand.
So in conclusion, if one of your resolutions this New Year is to get fit and your love life back on track, maybe the gym isn't the best option? Think outside the box on this one and leave yourself open to meeting more people.
Brett Harding is the director of Lovestruck, a website dedicated to online dating and bringing people together. As well as being a big fan of the gym, Brett plays football and is a keen snowboarder.