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You are entirely too much!
As to gym etiquette, and as a gym employee, congratulations for her hard work seem appropriate. She made a change for the better; it should be acknowledged.
DFL > DNF > DNS
I don't necessarily think it is bad to talk to her because it sounds like she has motivated you with her work ethic, not by her hotness. So if you make a genuine comment her work ethic and her fitness improvements then I can't see her being offended by that.
An example for me is a guy that swims at the pool where I swim. He has been swimming there since I moved here almost 5 years ago. My swimming has improved dramatically and last year especially and this winter too. He has made comments a few time about how much he has seen me improve and how great a swimmer I am becoming. Things like that are totally acceptable.
Things that I don't find acceptable--people, this has always been women, and often ones I barely know at the Y, asking me what I weigh, what I eat, if I eat. Really? I barely know you?
Guys, staring makes you seem creepy, don't do it. Also, compliments on flexibility, don't go there, it makes you seem perverted, even if your not. Nothing worse than having an old guy at the pool come up to you while your stretching "Wow, you sure are flexible" Or, even worse, the hs aged life guard gave me that one a few weeks ago, right before he asked what school I went to...ummm dude, I'm 29.
I agree with those that have said to keep it light and focused on the hard work paying dividends. I've gotten compliments on that from men and women both and I tell ya, it feels good. It doesn't seem creepy to have someone that's seen me running, biking or working out in general lot say "you're really getting strong, and it shows" or words to that effect. I'm ok with people I know, even peripherally, saying "you're looking good" in a general sense or even tell me they noticed a weight loss.
What comes across as creepy is staring, ogling body parts other than the face and following or trying to (I had one dude on a bike try to follow me home. I call him "creepy ass-crack dude" due to the condition of his bike shorts).
So, my vote is that maybe as you're leaving if she's still on the elliptical or whatever, just say something like "you've really gotten a lot stronger this year. Good work!" and go on.
There is no justice, there is only me. -- Death
"Pops trippin'. He want me to ask for my bike back. You know i wouldn't trip."
How to go about it: In the fall I was swimming 5 days a week and was feeling comfortable in the water for the first time in a LONG time. A little old guy stopped me on my way out of the gym and said (obviously not a native english speaker) "You swim good. Very pretty. How long you swim? How do I swim like you?" Although that meant he had been staring at me in a swimsuit, I was flattered and gave him the typical tips to find a local masters group or a YMCA. It also gave me a little extra motivation to get to the pool in the early AM for quite a while.
How not to go about it: A PI that had been helping me with my qualifying exam told a friend of mine that he had been going to the gym in the morning because the "scenery in the pool is so nice." I am the only female that swims during the times when he goes to the gym. As he is married and a superior (and apparently has been threatened with a sexual harassment suit in the past), I was pretty creeped out and switched to swimming at noon.
I second what Sabrekitty said about dropping a simple compliment as you are leaving. Done right, it will make her morning/afternoon.
that's what I don't understand about women, why would you care so much about what other people think and actually change the time you go to the pool? I couldn't care less if somebody was checking me out or not (and swimming at the Y downtown it has happened plenty of times to get looks in the shower from other guys for example).
Must be the same logic that several gals I know have, who will not run alone in a park regardless, when the odds of something bad happening are much lower than the odds of being run over by a car when crossing the street (probably the same odds as a 'creep' checking you out turning out to be an axe murderer or something).
Honestly, women who want to get hit on at they gym make is pretty darn obvious. If she is wearing make-up, not sweating too much, her hair looks great and her workout clothes are cute and vaguely inapprioprite, feel free to ask her out.
If I am on the tmill sweating like a pig, wearing a ratty shirt and old shorts, likely I'm there for the same reasons as tc, to get faster or lose weight for my health.
"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
If she doesn't appreciate the compliment, she'll give you dirty looks forever.
I was swimming once in the lane next to a woman who I biked with on a Wed.nite ride. She and her husband were nice, and I enjoyed their company. Anyway, she got out of the pool, and guess what? Her suit was so old that I could see the cr**k of her a** through it. I had just recently noticed that the suit that I wore was getting "see-through", so I was in a helpful mood.
So, I went up to her and told her that I could see through the back of her suit and she might want to get a new one.
She said, "Uh... thanks...", and things were a bit wierd after that. I'm sure I creeped her out.
Since then I've seen plenty of women whose tri suits while on their bikes or swimming suits are getting see-through. I don't say a word. I suppose I might tell my sister or wife if theirs wear out, but that's where it will end.
Here, I fixed it for you. ;-)
For the past several months, I've seen this woman at the gym at least 3 days a week. I usually try to run next to her on the treadmill. I'm always watching her, but I don't want to look that way. I knows that she works out at lunch everyday, so I make it a point to try and see her almost every day.
Anyway, I can really tell a difference in her physique since the beginning of the year, and today, instead of her usual loose tshirt and shorts, she had on this incredibly flattering (smoking hot) gym outfit that made my eyes pop out of my head. I know she's been working hard at it, so I'd like to compliment her, but I'd like to do it in a non-threatening, non-creepy way.
Just for the record, I'm married, she's married, and we've never had a conversation other than "hi" or "thanks" but my imagination has been torturing me for months about what she must be like in bed. So I don't want her to think I'm hitting on her, just compliment her b/c like I said, I really enjoy fantasizing about her, and Lord knows any compliments I've ever gotten have really motivated me to keep hard. Any suggestions?
"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." ~ Max Planck, 1950
"What am I on? I'm on my bike busting my ass for six hours a day. What are YOU on?" - Lance Armstrong