Gyms looking to completely crack down on cell phone usage, some patrons disagree

Gyms looking to completely crack down on cell phone usage, some patrons disagree
More and more fitness chains are trying to forbid the use of cell phones on their premises. Besides the annoying yapping we've all encountered while trying to finish that last set, nowadays there is also the privacy consideration.

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.

source: NYT



1. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 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: 32; Member since: Feb 03, 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: 32; Member since: Feb 03, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 32; Member since: Feb 03, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 32; Member since: Feb 03, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: Oct 07, 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: 32; Member since: Feb 03, 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: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 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: Oct 07, 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: Oct 17, 2011

Lol! You just remembered me of this thread on XDA.

2. N.Reynolds

Posts: 257; Member since: Feb 15, 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: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 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: Oct 07, 2011

Example 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.

35. jellytime

Posts: 135; Member since: Dec 05, 2011


4. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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.

20. terabyteRouser

Posts: 457; Member since: Oct 18, 2011


22. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

?!?!? I am relaxed. Thanks for your concern I guess.....

33. Penny

Posts: 1869; Member since: Feb 04, 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: 32; Member since: Feb 03, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 32; Member since: Feb 03, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 32; Member since: Feb 03, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 32; Member since: Feb 03, 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.

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