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Distractions At The Gym!

Blaring music, dumbbells clanking, people chattering, weights dropping to the floor, workout partners shouting at one another. Learn how to overcome all of these distractions!
Every time I think that I've seen everything that there is to see and believe that nothing could possibly surprise me, invariably, I see something that makes my jaw hit the floor. When you, the reader, enter a gym, there are certain sounds that you expect to hear. Blaring music, dumbbells clanking, people chattering, weights dropping to the floor, workout partners shouting at one another, and those that feel it necessary to scream out in writhing pain as they wring out the final rep of their set. Fine. No matter how irksome, I've learned to live with these auditory stimuli.

The Distractions

However, amidst all of this noise, you can detect yet another distraction making its way out onto the gym floor these days; it's the "ring, ring, ring," of someone's CELL PHONE! If you're lucky you might actually hear a catchy little tune instead of the generic "ring, ring, ring." I have to ask, what possible utility could a cell phone have during a training session? Why willingly invite a distraction into your workout?

If the phone call is that damn important, the caller will leave a message! I'm not sure if it's just an overestimated sense of self-importance that prompts people to treat their cell phones as an indispensable appendage and take them out onto the gym floor, or whether there is just a decline generally in the desire to concentrate and train without distraction or interruption. I see people wandering around on the gym floor in between sets chattering away; I see people on the Stairmasters, elliptical trainers and bikes, yakking their heads off, and I've even seen people talk on their cell phones while performing a variety of exercises!

In fact, just the other day, I observed three people on three consecutive elliptical trainers all with their cell phones glued to their ears, one gentleman talking on the phone about a football game while performing a one-arm cable lateral raise, and another person actually end a set of military presses to answer his phone all in one hour! These people quite amaze me because after I complete my training and cardio session, I barely have enough energy to drag myself home let alone talk on my cell phone.

In The Gym

The gym floor is not a place to transact business, gossip about the neighbors, or make plans for the weekend. For some, the gym is still a type of sanctuary. It's somewhere to go and leave the day's crises at the door and get into your own world for just an hour. It's a place to convene and commune with others of like mind; talk about training, exchange theories, and share experiences; or at least it was in the early days. Fifteen years ago, I had a training partner that forbid me to speak when we trained, which was fine with me considering that I didn't have the strength to open my mouth let alone form words and then string them together into coherent sentences.

That person is now the Mr. Natural Olympia and has been for quite some time. To be sure, he did not earn that title discussing it on his cell phone during his training sessions. I could not imagine this incredible athlete interrupting a set for ANYTHING! Similarly, you would never catch him performing a cable lateral raise with one arm and holding a cell phone to his ear with the other saying, "Yea, I've been thinking about it. I think that I'll become the next Mr. Natural Olympia. Say what are your plans for tonight?" Back then, we trained from our very guts; every ounce of our physical and mental energy channeled into becoming bigger and stronger.

Nowadays, way too many people are content to just go through the motions. Perhaps this is why I have to hear "no matter how much I work out, I just don't see any changes." Here's a tip, hang up your phone and concentrate on your workout. These people go "train" at the gym just to feel like they actually did something regardless of whether or not the workout was even minimally effective on ANY level. Increasingly, people just don't care about the quality of their workouts.


I hear people boast all of the time that they spend two hours a day in the gym; yet I observe these very same people perform one set and then walk around aimlessly for a half of an hour talking on their cell phone. My response? Get real. Time alone in the gym means absolutely nothing; its just time. I have more intensity in the first five minutes of my training session than these people get out of their whole weekly routine. If you want results, getting into the gym is not good enough. Quit externalizing your own shortcomings, blaming your personal trainer or diet counselor. If you're not getting the results that you pine for, then leave your cell phone in your locker and get your mind into your workout.