Do You Even Lift, Bro? – Lesson Three

Lesson Three: Hey You! Get Off The Phone!

For the love of humanity, get off your electronic devices people! The gym is a place for self-development and fitness, not for cruising through your iPod for an eternity. What few people realize is that using over-using electronics during a workout abruptly curbs productivity in the gym.

At the YMCA, there is a no cell phone policy and I believe this to be a positive endeavor. This policy may limit your tweets and text messages, but it will greatly expand your fitness level. Utilize music players, but use your devices within reason. Find an album you like and stick to it. You are at the gym to workout, not to create your next party playlist.

Let me illustrate the negative aspects of over-using electronic devices in the gym with an experience I had a two years ago.

I was just finishing an awesome run/chest set and went over to grab a mat to stretch. I set up shop and began to work the horror out of my calves and arms. It was then that I overheard the beginnings of a hilarious conversation that I simply could not miss out on. I moved my mat about twenty feet over so I could eavesdrop. Yes, it may have been a poor decision and life choice. I proceeded to continue stretching within earshot of two teenage girls who were talking non-stop to each other. They didn’t make eye contact with each other as they were both pre-occupied with non-stop texting and answering phone calls. This following is the portion of the conversation that most amused to me:

Girl #1 “I just cannot understand why we can’t lose weight!”

Girl #2 “I know! This is getting ridiculous!”

Girl #1 “Seriously, we come here almost every day and workout for, like, two hours! How can we not be losing weight?”

Fun fact: when your thumbs are the sorest part of your body after a workout, there is a problem. I urge you to not follow in the footsteps of Texty-Loo and Texty-Sue. Leave your phone at home! It slows your productivity no matter the level of cell usage you have during your workout. I prove this fact with a test that I recently conducted.

I hated to be that guy, but I brought my phone to the gym to test a theory I had about cell phones and productivity at the gym. I conducted my test at a gym that allowed cell phones on the weight floor and soon realized that all gyms should have a no cell phone policy like the YMCA.

Entering the gym, I turned my phone’s ringer to the max, felt free to answer it when it rang and ensured that I responded to all texts, emails, and calls in a timely manner. In a 90-minute workout, I answered six text messages (as one conversation began via text), two emails, one phone call and checked Facebook twice. Think about your own cell usage – you know this can be a pretty average hour in our technologically consumed world.

Each text took me an average of 45 seconds to respond to. One email was quick one but the other was a more complex one from school, so email response time totaled 5 minutes. The phone call racked up another 4 minutes. My Facebook cruise added another 2 minutes. This brings my total time on the phone in one workout to 15 minutes and 30 seconds. In my 90-minutes, I devoted 17.2% of my workout to my phone. Furthermore, by starting text message conversations and dealing with important emails in the gym, I was thinking about my phone and my life, not about the workout at hand.

If you are a person that goes to the gym regularly, you always strive to beat your previous personal best. If I told you there was a protein powder, a new machine, or a new workout routine that could make you almost 20% more effective, you would demand I share my secrets. In the business world, if you told a corporation that you knew a way to increase their productivity by 17.2%, they would literally throw suitcases of $100 bills in your direction until you shared the information.

Every time you bring an electronic device into the gym, you tie a boat anchor to you ankle. When you are picking a pump-up song before you do the next set, make it quick and don’t search for a WiFi connection. The gym should be a place of refuge, a venue of solace and solitude away from the outside world.

Minimal usage of electronic devices will allow you to be substantially more effective in your workout and will positively develop your mental health as well. Fully focusing on your workout gives you a way to unplug for an hour. As human beings that are seemingly jacked into the social media Matrix and we need that chance to unplug.

When we attempt to multitask, we simply do multiple things poorly. If your electronic device is playing music, just let the band play and save Facebook for later. I promise you will be more productive and enjoy your workout more.

See you on the weight floor.

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University

Stay tuned next week for Lesson Four: Rockin’ Slippers and a Coffee Mug in the Squat Rack

More Blogs by Chad:

Do You Even Lift, Bro? Series

The Top Five Things Not to Do In A Running Race Series