Gyms looking to completely crack down on cell phone usage, some patrons disagree
Smartphones with their quality cameras can catch every minutiae of someone's workout or locker room stay, which is not always pretty unless you are a fitness junkie, and upload it to YouTube in minutes. This has been the source of discontent for many celebrities, as well as different people doing stuff with the equipment and getting their videos viral all over the Internet. For example, the video below was filmed on the hush-hush at a gym in El Paso, and went viral amassing more than a million views.
Others are bucking the trend saying that their patrons are finding it hard to resist texting or updating Facebook while on the treadmill, for example, and can't be convinced this bothers anyone.
“If you go to a Gold’s Gym and someone gives you a lot of trouble about using a device on the fitness floor, someone will go, ‘To hell with you, I’m going to Planet Fitness,’ ” says Brian O’Rourke, CEO of Integerus, which consults man of the club chains and global fitness brands. He comments that banning all cell phone usage walks a fine line, but some veteran gym owners express opinions that this is the only way to go if you want to deal with the issue once and for all.
1. networkdood (Posts: 5260; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
If you are using your cell phone at a gym, for non-emergency situations, then you are just not serious about working out, and you should be thrown out of the gym, with your membership revoked.
Now, if you want to use the clock/timer to assist you in working out, or some other app that measures your heart rate or steps taken, then that maybe ok.
5. Sam_K (Posts: 20; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)
networkdood, there are many people who use their cell phones at the gym to listen to music or news while they workout and they're very serious about working out. I'm one of them. I even have JayBird JF3 stereo Bluetooth headphones that have a lifetime guarantee against sweat so that I don't have to use regular headphones with wires that get in the way while I workout. I use my cell phone listen to Slacker, Pandora, Sirius Satellite radio (for news) or my music. If I have to switch back to a dedicated MP3 player then I won't be able to use the music apps (because most the NYSC locations that I use don't have free WiFi) and then I'll also have to sync my music to 2 devices, my cell phone and an MP3 player. This would be an annoying inconvenience for me.
6. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
well i think every gym has plenty of music options so cell phone is not really something you cant live without in a gym untill unless you really wanna show off your JayBird JF3 stereo Bluetooth headphones .
9. Sam_K (Posts: 20; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)
Most gyms only have music options if you're using the cardio equipment. If you're using weights then you're stuck listening to the music that's playing over the speakers in the gym. Of course I can live without my cell phone but I'd rather not so I can listen to my own music because I don't like what they play in the gym. Also by listening to my own music through headphones, I don't hear all the noise and conversation in the gym which allows me to have better concentration.
I don't need to show off my JayBird headphones. That was just a ridiculous sarcastic comment.
8. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3450; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I get what you are saying & it sucks, but all it takes is one bad apple to ruin it for everyone. My problem is the people who constantly talk on their phones about some BS that I really don't have to hear about.
Who in their right mind has an argument while working out, why do I need to know what happened to you last night at the bar? Things like that are what mess up my work out.
People have been going to the gym for a long while now. Syncing stuff is very pain free these days & it really shouldn’t be such an inconvenience.
11. Sam_K (Posts: 20; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)
I agree that it takes one bad apple to ruin it for everyone.
My point is that I'll have to go back to carrying 2 devices around which I really don't want to do. I'll also lose the ability to listen to the streaming audio options which I what I use most of the time at the gym.
I'm also trying to point out that people should think about what cell phones can be used for before making blanket statements about those who use them at the gym.
12. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3450; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
The same should go for you. You should be able to recognize that it is a problem & that almost all gyms are facing this problem.
I truly believe that people are not respecting others at the gym when it comes to mobile phone usage. The way you use the phone I am fine with, it's just the other people with the blatant lack of regard for others is what I have a problem with.
It's against the law to film someone without their consent, you can be sued for that. The only people who can be filmed without consent are celebs, & politicians.
What those fools did recording that woman was wrong & inconsiderate of her & the others around them, that is the problem in a nutshell. I am sorry but it is what it is.
17. Sam_K (Posts: 20; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)
I recognize that it might be a problem at some gyms but I haven't seen any picture/video taking at the NYSC locations that I use on a regular basis and I go to 3 locations regularly and I've been to about 10 different locations. The only thing I've seen is people yapping on their cell phones while they're doing cardio which can be annoying if you're next to them. Regardless sometimes couples or friends do cardio on 2 machines next to each other and yap away the whole time so what are you going to do? Are you going to ban people from talking to each other too?
Our society in general has many people who have a blatant lack of regard and respect for other people around them. I see it all the time but that's not something you're going to fix with regulations.
19. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3450; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
People talking to each other is one thing. No one sensible gym would make a statement to ban conversation between people while working out at a gym.
Talking on a phone or filming with a phone is not tolerable. I will reiterate one more time, it just takes a few to ruin it for all. The mobile phone problem at gyms is not an isolated event. I travel a lot for work, I just came back from San Diego this past weekend (for the record I fell in love with San Diego) & I experienced these problems at all gyms at hotels & chain gyms across the nation.
There is a problem because if there was no problem gyms would not be looking into banning mobile phones as this article implies.
14. jdrevolution (Posts: 87; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)
I think the gym employees would be able to tell who is just listening to music on their phone and who is taking pictures and talking:
If you're phone is in a pocket/holster and you have headphones in, obviously it's for music.
If you have it out and your yammering away or pointing the lens at someone, then you're on the phone or taking pictures.
It probably wouldn't be a harsh rule.
18. Sam_K (Posts: 20; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)
Exactly! I agree. But if you ban cell phone usage outright then it won't matter if you're just listening to music. The gym employees will just tell you "the rule is no cell phones so please put that in your locker".
23. networkdood (Posts: 5260; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
I can see the value of working out with music, but with a cell phone, it can likely get damaged at a gym.
24. jdrevolution (Posts: 87; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)
that's true too.
There are also people who don't protect their phone and end up sweating into it, triggering the sticker. Which means, if something does happen to the phone, no repair place would take cause it's "water damage."
And it's kind of gross when that happens.
34. Dmann (Posts: 165; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
Lol! You just remembered me of this thread on XDA.
2. N.Reynolds (Posts: 252; Member since: 15 Feb 2011)
This is getting ridiculous. All the cell phone bans are getting out of hand. I understand the whole locker room issue but that's it.
3. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
i guess its a good move. networkdood rightly said that if doing anything other than working out, in a gym, you are not serious enough about your workout. it can also lead to some injuries if you are busy with your cell updating fb.
15. ayephoner (Posts: 832; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)
things like updating facebook are absurd.
but, making aboslute rules like this is too.
if i pay to use the gym and im waiting on an important call, i should be free to take it (so long as i dont talk anymore than i need to and make efforts to talk away from others).
just because some people are rude and stupid does not require bans on all phones.
16. jdrevolution (Posts: 87; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)
FB: 4:31: At the gym working out my
FB: 4:53: Broke my nose on the treadmill cause i was on my phone, I think bob got a picture. FML.
I would've laughed if it were any of my friends.
4. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3450; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Look when I go to the gym I want to work out, that is the whole point of having a membership. I hate when I can't concentrate because some man or woman is yapping away about some stupid BS that I don't need to hear about.
I am paying good money to use the facilities & I hate when my workout is compromised by some fool who is not serious about their workout & are making it unpleasant for everyone around them.
I am for the ban of mobile phones in a gym, just like you can’t use a mobile phone in court. The people who are serious about their workout are the quiet ones who are most definitely NOT on their phones. I really hope the ban does go into effect ASAP! It would make going to the gym even more pleasant.
22. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3450; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
?!?!? I am relaxed.
Thanks for your concern I guess.....
33. Penny (Posts: 952; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)
I understand how other people using their phones may interfere with your concentration, but are we really for further reducing people's RIGHT to do so?
You pay good money to use the facilities at the gym, but so do many other people. It is a place in which you can expect to find a gathering of people, and there should be minimal restrictions on conduct (only as necessary for safety in my opinion).
It's not a slippery slope. It could be a rough sandpaper slope for all I care, but we're still going in the wrong direction with this push for banning cell phones at the gym.
7. Sam_K (Posts: 20; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)
Many people seem to be forgetting that people use their cell phones to listen to music or streaming audio from Slacker, Pandora, TuneIn Radio, etc while they're working out at the gym. People (like me) who are serious about working out listen to music to drown out all the noise and conversation around them so they can concentrate. Did people suddenly forget that the best selling phone, the iPhone, is a media player and a phone combined so that people don't have to also carry around an iPod to listen to music?
10. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3450; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Yes but you can get an MP3 player for dirt cheap & just use it for the gym. It sucks but people ruined it for you & other people who use their phones in a correct manner at the gym.
I mean what did you do when you went to the gym before your mobile phone? Most gyms have music, there are other options you know. It shouldn't be life or death not to have a mobile phone at the gym. If you need your phone then you can go to your locker to get it & use it there.
13. Sam_K (Posts: 20; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)
Yes I can get an MP3 player for dirt cheap and use it at the gym but I really don't want to lose my streaming options. No it's not a matter of life or death at the gym to have a cell phone in the gym.
In most of the gyms in NY I see a lot of people with iPhones. I would love to hear the reaction of those people when you tell them "oh you can't use that here only an iPod or MP3 player" and then they have to go back to carrying 2 devices again. That's also another device that you'll need to remember to recharge.
My point is that you should punish those who violate the rules of cell phone usage at the gym by permanently revoking their membership not make it inconvenient for everyone by banning all cell phone usage. In other words the rules should be no picture taking of video taking (of anyone other than yourself) and no cell phone conversations on the gym floor. If you do that then your membership gets revoked. One strike and you're out. If you're listening to music over headphones, texting, emailing, etc then you're not disturbing anyone so it shouldn't be an issue.
21. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3450; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Sam_K you are at a gym, it's a routine. All you need to do is add charging your MP3 player to your routine. That is it.
Do you freak out when you are at jury duty & they tell you can’t have your phone on? What about a plane ride when they say you need to shut it down? I mean it just sounds like excuses.
Do you know how much your gym membership will go up if now they need to hire permanent gym floor walkers to monitor everyone, so they can make sure people are not using the phones incorrectly? I am sorry but the best solution it to ban usage altogether because people will abuse the system. I am not about to pay more money just to accommodate people who MUST use their mobile phones. It’s just ridiculous. It’s really not that serious.
It’s not a punishment, it’s a solution to a problem.
26. Sam_K (Posts: 20; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)
Yes I get that I'm at a gym and I get that it's a routine and I can change it. Please don't talk to me like I'm an idiot. The point of having a cell phone with a media player is to avoid carrying around a second device. I simply don't like the fact that I'll have to carry around a second device because gyms want to ban cell phones for the stupid actions of a minority of people.
You're comparing apples and oranges. In jury duty I'm supposed to be paying attention to the trial not looking at my cell phone. On a plane it's a safety issue because cell phones supposedly interfere with the plane's electronics. Using it in a gym is a completely different situation.
I think you're missing my point. I'm not suggesting the gym hire people to monitor everyone. Most gyms have personal trainers who are walking around pretty regularly and cameras monitoring what's going on so if someone complains it's pretty easy to verify if someone violated the rules.
I'm not trying to imply that it's serious. I'm saying that we shouldn't inconvenience the majority of people for the bad actions of a few. I'm also saying that we shouldn't have a society where the solution is to permanently ban things in certain situations because a few stupid people abuse them. Think about how many things we'd have to ban because people abuse them.
Here's an example. People text and drive and get into accidents. That's much more serious than using a cell phone in a gym but have we banned people from taking cell phones into cars? No. We have laws against texting while driving and if people violate the law then they are punished.
29. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3450; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Most people take a bag to a gym, so just put your very small MP3 player in your bag & it should not be a problem. I hope you bring a bag & a change of clothes because if you don't then your car must smell real bad.
Laws are made for the general public, I don't think they will be making laws for mobile use in a gym. In some states like NY & CA there is a ban on mobile usage while driving UNLESS you have a hands free headset or whatever. The BAN is in place. The law is made to reinforce the ban.
Personal trainers are helping their people not monitoring the floor, the cameras are for security not for monitoring people's mobile usage. People will always find a way to manipulate the system, if you don't ban mobile usage then this problem will never end.
People naturally will do & try to get away with whatever until they are caught. It's just human nature to act this way. That is why laws are in place. There will never be a true utopia, just like people will continue to use phones in an inappropriate ways at gyms unless they are ultimately banned. It's the nature of the beast.
If you are at a gym you should work out not use your mobile device, & if you need to use a mobile device then let it be a MP3 player that can't make phone calls or record footage, so other people don't have to be affected by those actions & can concentrate on their work outs.
36. Sam_K (Posts: 20; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)
Please stop putting words in my worth. You're twisting everything I'm saying. I didn't say they should make a law against using a mobile phone in the gym. I said we haven't banned bringing cell phones in cars even though texting on them while driving is dangerous but you're advocating banning in them in gyms because people do improper and inconsiderate things with them.
I also wasn't referring to the law that requires you use a hands free kit with a cell phone. I was referring to the law against texting while driving. They are 2 different laws in many states (including NY where I live). I said the government didn't go as far as to ban having cell phones in cars to prevent texting while driving (as well as prevent people from using them without a hands free kit). You're advocating banning cell phones in gyms to prevent people from taking pictures/videos and talking on them. I think that's going too far. Simply ban the offensive actions instead of the device themselves.
You also attempted to say that the ban against using cell phones without a hands free kit is separate from the law against it. No it's not. There is only a law against it which creates the ban. The government can't ban anything without passing a law banning it.
Lastly you said "if you need to use a mobile device then let it be a MP3 player that can't make phone calls or record footage." So then gym patrons will have to show gym employees that their MP3 doesn't have a camera in order to prove that they should be allowed to use it.
I simply think it's better to ban the improper activities that can be done with these devices(i.e. taking pictures/videos, talking loudly, etc) than ban the devices themselves. Either way the gym will have to enforce the ban.
At this point let's just agree to disagree.
37. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3450; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
You can never ban improper activities because people will always find a way to do it. That is why these gyms are looking into banning mobile phones, because if the phone is present at the gym people will use them good or bad.
Just like you suggested that personal trainers or cameras should look out for offenders, then why not just show your MP3 player to the front desk as you go into the gym. That seems easier for all parties involved.
Look whether the ban takes place first or the law takes place first the fact of the matter is the ban is in place. In NY & in CA there is a ban on phone usage while driving without a hands free device.
I am sorry if you feel that I am twisting your words but the fact is gyms are facing these problems & are planning to ban mobile phone usage while at the gym. It's the same thing that the movie theatres are doing. You can have your phone BUT you can't use it. The ban is against mobile usage at the movies not a ban on the actual mobile device. I am 100% fine with the gyms doing exactly what the movie theatres are doing.
Yes let's just agree to disagree.
38. Sam_K (Posts: 20; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)
You said "you can never ban improper activities". Really? Actually many laws ban improper activities. They do not ban the things that enable you to do the improper activities. Here are some examples. We have laws banning texting while driving and using a cell phone while driving without a hands free kit. We do not ban having a cell phone in a car. We have laws against public intoxication and drinking and driving. We do not have a ban against alcoholic beverages. I could go on and on.
Showing my MP3 player at the front desk only let's that particular employee know that my MP3 player doesn't have a camera. There are usually other employees and trainers walking around the gym so I could potentially get approached repeatedly by different employees asking me if my MP3 player has a camera. Potentially having my workout interrupted over and over again by different employees to prove that I'm using a device without a camera would be really annoying. Do you want your workout interrupted repeatedly by different employees asking you if you have a cell phone or MP3 player because they see you wearing headphones? A ban sounds good until you think about how they are going to enforce it.
Again you misunderstood me. The government can't ban anything without passing a law against it. The ban is a result of the law. You can't have one of them first. They happen at the same time.
Your analogy of movie theaters and cell phones actually defends my point. They don't ban you from having a cell phone in a movie theater and they don't actually ban you from using them either. They remind you during the previews to silence them and not use them during the movie. In other words they remind you not to do activities that will bother other people. That's not a ban. If one customer complains about another or a movie theater employees see someone doing something that disturbs other customers then they will tell them to leave. Many gyms have gym etiquette signs posted all over that remind people what to do and not like no loud talking on cell phones and no usage of cameras. If gyms would actually start enforcing those guidelines and actually kick people for doing offensive things, then the offenders would eventually stop. People will do things when they think they can get away with it. They will stop doing them when they know they might suffer the consequences like being kicked out or having their membership canceled with no refund.
I also forgot to mention that many people now use apps on their cell phone to track their workouts. There are apps like JeFit, Workout Trainer, VirtuaGym, etc that all have over 1 million downloads in the Android Market. Banning cell phones also prevents people from using those apps which again shouldn't bother anyone.
39. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3450; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Look in NYC they banned cigarette smoking inside any building, people still did it & then they started handing out fines & then the law was passed. So things can get banned without laws.
The problem is that people will always break the rules. If phones are allowed to be at gyms then these problems will keep happening. This has been a habitual problem for gyms, you don't think that they have tried other solutions?
They are desperate & banning phones is their last resort. I hate to say it but people ruined a good thing for you. I am still for the ban of the phones. We need to get back to going to the gym with a walkman or a MP3 player.
If you let phones in the gyms these problems will continue. It will be a vicious cycle that will never end. Just today there was an insensitive woman yapping about some crazy stuff at the gym. It pissed me off & there is no reason why I should have to feel that way. All I want to do is concentrate & work out, without having to worry about hurting myself because of a distraction from an unruly phone user.
This is more common than you think. I wish I went to your gym, then maybe I would not feel the way I feel about the ban. You know since no one at your facility does what is being mentioned.
40. Sam_K (Posts: 20; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)
You just don't get it. Individual buildings or businesses can ban certain things like smoking but the government cannot ban something without passing a laws against it first and they cannot fine someone without a law against it either. You said "in NYC they banned cigarette smoking inside any building, people still did it & then they started handing out fines & then the law was passed". Wrong. The law against smoking in NYC was passed then the law went into effect and then they were able to fine people for breaking the law. As an example the 2002 NYC Smoke-Free Air Act (one of many NY laws against smoking indoors) was passed on December 30, 2002 and took effect 3 months later on March 30, 2003 and then it was enforced. Google it if you don't believe me. No matter how many times you repeat what you believe about bans versus laws, that doesn't change the facts.
Even if you ban cell phones in gyms, people will still break the rules. I'm sure there are rules against taking pictures, recording videos and talking loudly on cell phones in some gyms and people are still doing it. And if the gym doesn't have those rules then maybe they should try implementing and ENFORCING those kind of rules before trying to ban cell phones. Nobody is going to take a rule seriously unless it's enforced. As an example, there is a law against jaywalking in NYC but many people do it without thinking twice about doing it because the law is not enforced.
I'm going to ask you again. How do you expect gyms to enforce a cell phone ban? If they tell people as they walk into the gym or have a sign that says "please leave your cell phone in your locker" do you think that everyone is going to follow the rule? Or are you expecting gyms to collect cell phones when people check into the gym and then give them back when the person leaves? If they send people to walk around and make sure that nobody is using a cell phone then they could easily do the same thing to stop people from taking pictures/videos with them and talking loudly on them instead of banning them.
If I was in your shoes I would have said something to the woman who was yapping away on her cell phone. Or you can do what one of my coworkers did to stop people from talking loudly on their cell phones on the metro north train. He bought one of those pocketable cell phone jammers that kills the signal to cell phones within a few feet of him with the simple press of a button. He demonstrated it to me and it works.
Please don't get me wrong. My gym is far from perfect. There are people at my gyms that talk loudly on their cell phones especially on the cardio equipment but I've never seen anyone take a picture or record a video of someone else at the gym.
25. mrturner1966 (Posts: 5; Member since: 08 Dec 2011)
The Funny with this lady right here, she has lost 50lbs doing her thing on the tredmil so I'm not hating on her at all. She was on the local news here in Atlanta so this has done nothing but made her known.
27. Uzzelien (Posts: 131; Member since: 22 Feb 2011)
" Smartphones with their quality cameras can catch every minutiae of someone's workout or locker room stay. " Yup they sure can catch every MINUTE of someone's workout. God PA needs to have a editor for stuff like this.
28. Monster.Ninja (Posts: 9; Member since: 10 Jun 2011)
It should be up to the staff (im 1 of the trainers) at the gym to stop people that are talking on there phone or taking pics as it really isn't that hard to find them, if staff walks around like they do at our gym, which they should do anyhow looking for people that need help, injured themselves, or just have questions. you will usually spot someone talking or taking pics, it really isn't that hard...
if I am on the treadmill or hitting the weights that's the last thing i am thinking of is updating facebook...
I also use bluetooth headphones streaming pandora for the gym as i don't have to worry about cords or an arm band, and my phone sits in one of the cup holders out of the way.
30. Helloitsme (Posts: 1; Member since: 08 Dec 2011)
Constantly yakking on the the phone while working out next to someone is inconsiderate. A woman next to me on the treadmill today went non-stop for over 1/2 hour. When I finished working out I asked her whether she was aware of how distracting it is to others who are trying to get in the workout zone or enjoy the beat of the music. She just stuck her earbud back in and continued yakking. Low emotional IQ that one. Unfortunately, because of her and others like her...I vote for banning phones in the workout area!
31. LCpl_vinny (Posts: 8; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
I don't think they should be banned outright, talking, yes, I can see how that would be annoying and those people alone should be punished. I use spotify to listen to huge playlists I've built with music I want to listen to while working out, music that gets me pumped and keeps me focused. I don't care for the mainstream bs my gym pumps out it just doesn't work for me. I'm not gonna go shell out money for another device just to listen to music either just so I can please people I'm not even affecting because I never speak on my phone while @ the gym.
While I'm on the tread, usually for an hour maybe 2, being stationary it gets boring and more than half the time there's nothing on tv so I'll kick on Netflix to keep my mind focused and of course I can watch whatever the hell I please doing so, again not affecting anyone. I can easily tell when someone is speaking, texting and browsing the net on their phone WHILE exercising so I'm sure staff walking around can as well. I'll reply to texts or read twitter and check email while I'm resting sitting on a bench for 10-15 minutes after boxing and only then and it doesn't affect anyone, if it did all I say is stop being a negative nancy.
To say your "phone" could be damaged while @ the gym being the reason is absurd, any device you carry be it an mp3 player, calorie counter, pulse monitor etc hold that same possibility yet their doing nothing about those devices. I've personally only heard someone using their phone with disregard for others around them maybe 2 or 3 times in the 5 years I've been at my gym. I alone haven't been affected so much that I want them banned but for those who have I can understand and again to ban them outright I think is overkill and further ruining the experience for others.
32. bossmt_2 (Posts: 412; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)
I think that it's fair for a gym to not want people on cell phones texting, calling etc, but if you're listening to music (read your phone is in your pocket and you're not talking to someone on bluetooth, If you get a call you need to take, get off the machine and step outside.
41. JPerth (Posts: 1; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)
A lot of people don't go to the gym and get fit because they can't make the time.
Now that I have made time I cannot get a workout done because the gym is full of wasters sitting blocking the use of equipment whilst obsessively using their mobile phones for God only knows what.
If I was not the sort of person who is perfectly prepared to ask people if I can use equipment while they 'rest' (they're not resting of course, they're wasting gym equipment on their phones mostly and have not worked up a sweat in the first place to have to rest and recover from), I would have to allow maybe 5hrs to do a 2hr workout, and would therefore have to sack the gym idea all together.
People sit down at equipment and the first thing they do is put their hand in their pocket and pull out their phone instead of using the equipment.
They finish a set of maybe 5 reps, put their feet up, have a yawn, get out their phone, play with that for a bit and then just get up and walk off some time later, having senselessly wasted other people's opportunity to use that equipment when they were actually finished five minutes earlier.
They use cross trainers (if that's what they're called) using only their feet because their hands are busy with their phones, meaning that the arm bits are swinging back and forwards beside them like baseball bats waiting to wipe them out when they get something wrong because they are not paying attention to what they are doing nor holding on. The same with treadmills.
Gyms should absolutely ban people texting, talking or surfing the net in any shape or form whilst occupying gym equipment of any sort, for safety reasons if for no other reason.
If people who are there to 90% use their phones and 10% exercise cannot accept this then perhaps paint a 5ft square box in the corner somewhere and call it the 'phone zone' so that these people can go there to get their fix while the rest of us get on with getting fit through having fair and equal opportunity to use the equipment that we pay our gyms subscriptions to be entitled to use unhindered by time wasters.