Exercise or get off the equipment


Patsy Pridgen


Life Columnist

Sunday, January 20, 2019

It’s January and judging by the crowd at the local Planet Fitness, a popular New Year’s resolution must have been “go to the gym.”

I wish some of these people had added “actually work out while at the gym.”

You see, it’s been my observation that lots of folks are simply sitting on lots of machines. They’re not lifting any weights or pulling down any bars. Nope, they’re just relaxing, playing with their cell phones. I’ll see little smiles cross their faces as they’re evidently amused by someone’s text or post. Their fingers will then fly across keys as they tap-tap a response. I suspect those wearing headphones or ear buds are dialing up tunes. They’ll key in something, listen, tap again and listen again. Evidently the music has to be perfect before they can begin any kind of workout.

Now, I’m not the Planet Fitness Police, and I wouldn’t care if these people never exercised so much as their pinky fingers except for the fact that they’re tying up the machines I want to use. I will be in the section marked with clear instructions to move to the next machine when the light on the wall turns red, and yet some members of the cell phone/headphone crowd refuse to budge.

Maybe they don’t understand the system. The other day, I approached a young lady who’d been on the chest press through at least four cycles. This was the last machine I needed to complete my workout. I’d seen her give an occasional, half-hearted row before pausing to tap on her cell phone. The light was red, the designated time to move.

“Excuse me,” I said, “are you through with this machine?” She gave me a blank look, pulled off her headphones, and said, “Ma’am?” I had to repeat my request, and then she replied, “Oh, no ma’am, I’m just waiting for the light to turn green again.” She slipped the head phones back on before I could explain that no, you don’t sit on the same machine and rest when the light turns red; you get up off your overweight keister and move to another machine. Grrr.

When I go to the gym, I leave my cell phone in my car. Since I’m not the president, I don’t need to be in touch with anyone for the half hour I’m exercising. Any text, email or Facebook post can certainly wait. I’m a woman on a mission. I’m at Planet Fitness to actually exercise, and I don’t understand people who aren’t. Why go and pretend to be working out when all you’re doing is looking at a cell phone? There are signs at Planet Fitness declaring it to be a judgment-free zone, but I can’t help condemning these posers who are in my way.

Overall, I love Planet Fitness. It’s bright and clean and well-equipped. And in a month or so, the crowd will thin out as New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside. Some of these people who come only to sit and play with their cell phones will just stay home and do their playing there. I can’t wait.

Check out Patsy Pridgen’s blog at www.patsypridgen.com.