One Hour is Not Too Long to Disconnect.

Every once in a while, I’ll see something during class that makes me wonder exactly what people are thinking. Last night was one of those nights.

Let me back up a little and explain something – I never take my phone into the gym unless I absolutely have to. I spend enough of my day connected. I enjoy the two or so hours to myself, without (too many) distractions. But I realize that we live in a world where we are always “on,” so not everyone shares my need to set the phone aside during me time.

It’s not like I’ve never seen someone pull out a phone and send a text or heard a phone ring in the background of my classes. It’s at most a 30-second distraction. Do I think it’s rude? Honestly, yes. But I tolerate it.

I make a practice of not calling people out in class unless they are doing something awesome. It can be embarrassing, and really, who wants to be the one to have eyes on you because you did something wrong? Well, last night I was close. Because last night, I had a girl in my Spinning class who, in the corner of my peripheral vision, I saw texting. The ENTIRE class. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t give her any dirty looks. I kept doing my job (and pushing through without a function microphone … again).

But it made me think … do people really not realize that it’s kind of disrespectful to their instructor? Am I being a little too sensitive, or is it just rude to be so important (in your own eyes) that you can’t take one hour – ONE HOUR – of your day to disconnect, and be present and in the moment? Or at least to act like you actually want to be there?

The fact is, I spend my entire day at a job I kind of like. My classes? I love them more than anything in the world (if only it paid the bills!) – and I love the people who I see every week. Some of them have tried new classes simply to be able to take more classes with me each week (to all of you, I love you). I put my everything into my classes – heck, I taught two a couple weeks back with a pretty serious case of laryngitis (honestly, I wonder a little if I may have done some permanent damage to my vocal cords that weekend – bad, bad move) – is it so much to ask that if you are going to take the time to go to a class, you have a little respect for not only your instructor, but the people around you who came to give it their all?

Okay. Rant over. But really … am I the only one who thinks there is absolutely no reason to have your cell phone out while you’re in the gym?

29 thoughts on “One Hour is Not Too Long to Disconnect.

  1. Yes!! in singapore it is the same thing! it is like they cannot survive without an hour or 2 without their phone. what business is it they conduct that is so IMPORTANT that they have to text every 5 minutes? strange… and in our gym, men walk around with their phone and they do weights for 15 mins and text and check facebook for 10 mins..

  2. You are not being sensitive, communication devices have no place in a gym or during training period. Kudos to you Sarah for maintaining your cool, however, I REFUSE to allow that. Next time let the offending persons know by saying “alright class, time to up the intensity b/c my class today is SO WEAK some of you actually are able to text during it”… and then proceed to unleash hell!

  3. Cell phones are not allowed at soulcycle, and I’m grateful for it. Really, no one there is that important. I’m absolutely positive of it.

    Hi SaraHHHH! 😉

  4. Nope in fact I got rid of my iPhone for music and went back to the Nano because it interrupted my workout to have the Pandora stream get interrupted by a bing. Happier for it. 🙂 And that is rude!! I couldn’t imagine texting through a spin class. LOL I like UglyFitnesses response 😉

    • I’m the same. Dinky little mp3 player, nothing but music – gives you no choice but to only use it for music purposes! The few times I have taken my phone to the gym, it’s been nothing more than a distraction – and those few times have only been because I’m expecting to hear from someone at a specific time!

  5. As a former Spin instructor, I’m trying to think how I’d feel. I guess it might depend on the level of interaction I have with the class. I always tried to engage folks, but some just came and did their time without getting into it. Some people wore headphones and listened to their own music. I thought that was a bit silly… but whatever. They’re there for different reasons than me, perhaps. More power to them.
    If sitting and texting means not doing any of the instructed portions (jumps, increasing hills, sprints, whatever all you incorporate into your class), again, I would be disappointed that they weren’t interested in participating. But I’d probably shrug and say again people are there for their own reasons.
    I can sit on a bike and get a workout while texting or playing around on my phone… It’s not impossible, but of course it’s better if I’m focused on the workout.
    I suppose if she’s taking up a spot that someone lost out on, someone who was interested in participating, then that would be annoying. And I suppose if she’s just sitting there texting and not pushing herself, why not go get on some stationary bike elsewhere in the gym?
    Just my 2 cents.

    • I’ve definitely had people do their own thing in my classes – usually they either hide in the back corner or let me know ahead of time. I’m okay with it as long as it’s not a total distraction to people around them.
      And I think that is one of the biggest issues – that this time of year, I am consistently turning people away each week. You’re right – if you want to be distracted the entire time, be distracted somewhere that won’t take away from others who are ready and wanting to work.

  6. I hear you on this one but it’s a tough call. I get Sundays off and if I’ve got a few important jobs going at once, I may not even get that… I carry my phone with me because I’m the boss and I have to be available at some crappy hours. I bring my phone with me on riding and running so I can take care of business. Without it, I’d never be able to get the time to work out.

    On the other hand, texting one’s girlfriends while on a spin bike seems a little silly.

    What’s the chances she works at HHS and was on the phone with Kathleen Sebelius trying to fix Obamacare… Again? Chuckle.

    • I think there’s a difference between having your phone on you and playing with it the entire time – I don’t see a problem with checking it a couple times, but if you are completely sucked in by it, that’s another story.

      And your theory could explain some things… 😉

  7. I don’t think you’re being too sensitive; I would definitely be frustrated as well! It speaks so much about the society we live in when people can’t spend an hour away from their phone to do something good for themselves.

    By the sounds of it you’re not taking it personally, which is good! As rude as it is, I would have done the same and not called the individual out on her behaviour. Ultimately she’s the one who’s missing out on getting a good workout in and clearing her mind.

  8. I LOVE not having my phone with me at the gym. The world can continue on while I’m working out. Some people don’t get that, unfortunately. You should have a sign – no phones during class. It’s potentially dangerous for her too if she’s not paying attention.

    • There actually is a sign in the locker room … but it’s not enforced, and I’m sure if you asked, 9 out of 10 people would say they have never seen it. I just like to get away from technology and really be able to focus on what I’m doing (and focus mentally) for that one short time of day!

  9. I’m in total agreement. A big part of working out or anything you do is being present. I’m actually impressed that she was able to spin and text. Listening to the instructor’s cues and trying to keep up with the class would limit my ability to do anything else but be present and get in a good workout.

    • True. I’ve had people kind of do their own thing before, but more often than not, they let me know ahead of time that they are training for something, or trying to accomplish something specific. Presence is HUGE though!

  10. If you’re going to attend a fitness class where the instructor is there to direct you safely through the exercises, it would seem logical to put your phone aside and pay attention. While I do take my phone with me, its so that I can log my mileage once I finish a run on the treadmill or finish up on the elliptical. If I don’t log it as I’m finishing I either forget my stats or forget to log altogether. Once I’m done with my cardio workout though, my phone goes into my bag and I continue on with my stretching and weight training without my phone in toe.

    • I think that’s completely different, though – if you’re running an app or something, you probably set it and forget it until you’re done. And there’s a big difference between a class and a cardio machine – I’ve seen some people do some CRAZY things on those before, so I’ve learned to expect anything!

  11. You are absolutely NOT overreacting! I also am a cycle instructor and it drives me absolutely bonkers to ignore people who text the whole class. I try to remind the whole class that if you are not focused, you can’t make changes!
    I find it unbelievably rude too! It is one hour of your life to not pick up the phone. Thanks for the post!

  12. It’s definitely frustrating and very disrespectful but just one of those things that we deal with being fitness instructors. I personally have never said anything to someone that’s on their phone texting. It doesn’t happen to me often.

    • You know it. I don’t think I’d ever say something to someone unless I actually had complaints from other people – and you’re right, at least it’s an infrequent challenge!

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