Do you bring your phone with you when you workout?
I don’t. And that’s a hard no for me. There are many reasons why, and I’m going to tell you all of them. But first, some background:
I’ve been involved with fitness professionally for over a decade. By “professionally” I mean leading various fitness classes in a gym setting, though I’ve done other roles too. So a decade ago, probably the most popular cell phone was the Motorola Razr flip phone.
But I wasn’t cool enough to have one of those. So I just had a regular old samsung flip phone. With an antenna. That tucked smoothly away and only extended when you really needed it. Which was always. But it sure did feel cool pulling it out of it’s home every time I needed to call somebody. #advanced
Technology has changed and grown and evolved quicker in the past 10 years than it EVER has. I’m sure there are many reading who remember much more “difficult” times, like rotary phones. Man, what a time waster those things were. Phones with curly cords, attached to the wall, holding me back ‘n stuff. Then call display. (I CAN SEE WHO’S CALLING!) Then eventually cell phones, that were “car phones” and super expensive and high class. (If you were like, born in 2004, Google it kids. From your phone, obvs.) This is a loose chronology. I could be off. Don’t be too critical okay?
Anyway. Where was I?
Oh yes, what on earth does cell phone history have to do with fitness?
When I first started teaching fitness classes, I’d venture a guess that about, mmm, 60% of the people in my classes even OWNED cell phones. This was in 2006. I could be grossly incorrect, but cell phones were those things you kept in your purse and used for emergencies only. The texting feature was quite new (and annoying… t9 predictive texting? LAME. Why bother? Unless you’re just gonna type “hi”, which was the ‘usje), your phone was highly advanced if it had a camera in it, and we were just getting to the sweet feature of setting your ringtone as a popular song. (Not the real song, though. A monophonic one that was super annoying too. Ah, if we only knew what was coming!)
During this time, cell phones in fitness classes just simply did not exist. Cell phones on the gym floor did not exist. There were no cell phones anywhere at the gym, except for in your purse or gym bag in your locker… maybe. I would never, EVER catch a participant fiddling with anything other than their water bottle between songs. EVER.
As phones became more popular, and people started seeing the value in carrying them everywhere, slowly but surely, phones started tricking into the studio.
It happened innocently enough.
After teaching about 3 songs of my BODYPUMP class, I noticed a younger participant squat down beside her bench. I wondered what she was doing; she was supposed to be changing her barbell weight for the next song. She wasn’t. She was holding her blackberry (she was hip) and tapping away on the keyboard. It wasn’t long, but it was long enough for me to notice. Long enough for me to go… “Huh. That’s the first time that’s happened.”
I didn’t document the date and time or anything… but it was probably in like, 2008?
At a certain point, I remember having discussions with other instructors about “what we can do” to stop people from looking at their phones during a class, because clearly, it was unsafe. And also, how rude! I’m here teaching for YOU and you’re ignoring all my cues and funny one-liners and natural stage charisma? Not cool, guy. Not cool.
(Photo credit: Cavelle Schmid Photography)
Time passed. Blackberries came and went. iPhones and Androids became the language of devices. Cell phones turned to smart phones. Somewhere along the lines, Facebook was accessible through your phone, and then Facebook’s cousins Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat… they all joined the smart phone scene. And as such, we’ve become reliant upon our phones for so much more than just to communicate with someone in an emergency.
And that’s okay, I guess. If I’m being honest, though, I don’t love that my phone is always near me; I don’t love that at times I feel sort of addicted to my phone and the amount of information that I can access in a split second.
But I’m aware of it.
And for that reason, my phone “can’t sit with me”, if you will, at the gym.
If you’re like me, you use your “gym time” as “me time”, and that’s time where I not only work on my body, but also my mind. I switch off my brain, crank up my music and get in the zone.
(That also makes for much more efficient, and I’d argue effective, workouts too. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend 3 hours at the gym. I gots shit ta DO!)
I think, personally, if you’re working out, you should be thinking about what you’re doing. This is not only safe, but smart. You should be thinking about what muscle you’re training, counting your reps, checking your technique, and being present. Just my opinion.
I see people sitting on equipment scrolling their phones. Every day. It gets WORSE every time, somehow. There’s always that one guy.
Sitting there, holding up a bench, occupying a weight machine, hovering over a squat rack… wastin’ my time. (Sorry, that’s harsh. But it’s true!)
Checking their insta feeds between songs in the studio, getting in a few swipes, missing important safety cues and zoning out and away from the workout.
We all have to share the gym space, and if it’s busy in there, seeing someone checking Facebook while I’m patiently waiting for the machine they’re hoarding really grinds my gears. Ya know?
So there’s that.
But, aside from the fact that it’s rude and selfish to occupy equipment when you aren’t even using it, there’s the mental side of it, too.
Truth bomb: it will do you some good to be away from your technology for 1 hour.
Yes, it will. You can survive. Life will go on. You may miss an expiring snap story, but it’ll all be alright.
Now, I understand some of you use your phone for music. Okay, that’s fine. Good point.
Switch it to airplane mode, pump up the volume, and tuck your device away while you’re lifting.
Sure, you can come up with some counter arguments. (Go ahead, I’d love to hear them. Post a comment below!)
I’m just saying… my phone does not accompany me to my workouts. That includes classes and my own personal training. (I would seriously never DREAM of looking at my phone while participating or teaching a class. NEVER! I don’t know if that’s just me because of the experience I’ve had, though.)
It’s sort of a pact I’ve made with myself.
Phone = locker. Sometimes I even leave it in the CAR! *Gasp*
Because I really think theres value in not only being a respectful gym go-er, (/person) but also in giving your mind a screen-break and really focusing on what you’re doing.
Go away phone, nobody likes you.
What do you think? Do you bring your phone with you? Yay or nay?
See you at the gym! And you best not be clogging up a bench when that happens… or else look out for flying dumbbells!
**Title image courtesy of pexels.com