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7 Reasons To Stop Using Your Phone At The Gym. | Davey Wavey Fitness

7 Reasons To Stop Using Your Phone At The Gym.

phone-at-the-gym-etiquetteWe all have our fair share of gym pet peeves, but using smartphones at the gym absolutely takes the cake for me. I’m always astounded by the number of gym-goers/zombies standing in hallways or sitting on machines while texting, Tindering, checking Instagram or reading Buzzfeed.

Beyond being a terrible habit (on many levels), our inability to ‘disconnect’ is an unfortunate reflection of our fractured attention spans and our inability to focus.

Here’s why you need to leave your smartphone in the locker:

  1. It’s nasty. A study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found rhinoviruses (instigators of the common cold) on some 63% of the gym equipment at the fitness centers they tested. From barbells to dumbbells to gym mats and equipment, gyms are breeding grounds for germs. Your smartphone presents a unique opportunity for cross-contamination; even if you wash your hands after the gym, do you also wash the screen that you were touching in between sets? Conclusion: You’re nasty.
  2. It’s rude. Especially when gyms are busy, sitting on a piece of gym equipment while texting Susan about the selfie that John posted last night is inconsiderate. And when you get distracted by your smartphone, you’re probably taking needlessly long rests, which carries over into our next point:
  3. It decreases workout intensity. Most of us aim for 30 – 60 second rest periods in between sets. When you’re distracted by your smartphone, seconds easily turn into minutes. This morning, I timed someone taking a six minute rest in between sets while he was typing away at his screen. Sure, it’s annoying for the rest of us waiting to use that piece of equipment. But it also gives that smartphone user decreased workout intensity. And you only get out of your workout what you put into your workout. In other words:
  4. texting-in-the-gymIt sabotages your results. We go to the gym to get results. But exercising while using a smartphone needlessly handicaps the experience. By taking excessively long rests, you’re watering down your workout and limiting your results. Why not get the most bang for your workout buck?
  5. It gives you monkey mind. Monkey mind is a term used by Buddha to describe the easily distracted and incessantly moving behavior of typical human consciousness. Like a monkey swinging from branch to branch, smartphone use impedes focus by moving the mind from one distraction to the next. By being present and focused during a workout, you’re also exercising your mind. Exercise can even become a meditation of movement.
  6. It might not end well. Gyms can be dangerous places with lots of heavy things moving around and plenty to trip on. If you’re caught up in your phone, you’re not paying attention to your environment. You could get hurt. Even worse, you could hurt your phone. I’ve seen many a smartphones shatter or get stepped on at the gym. Though I’m a generally peaceful and pacifistic man, I relish those moments as tiny victories for humanity.
  7. It can all wait. Let’s face it. You’re not the president of the United States. You’re not saving lives with your text messages. Your tweets are not changing the world. 99% of the texts you receive are unimportant noise that does nothing to serve your happiness or personal evolution. All of it can wait for an hour while you do something important for yourself.

Starting today, let’s all pledge to leave our smartphones in the locker. And if you need your smartphone for music while you exercise, then enable either airplane mode or the “do not disturb” feature so that you can resist the urge. Together, we can make the gym a better place for everyone.

What do you think of smartphones at the gym? Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. If you’re looking to increase your muscle mass, leaving your smartphone in the locker is a great place to start. But for a comprehensive and foolproof guide to building muscle, download my Size Matters program.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I don’t gym without my smartphone. I use an app to track my workout by specifying weight and reps done while resting between sets. This is the same as someone picking up their pencil and piece of paper and writing down what they’ve done. And there are many guys in my gym that do the old fashioned way 😉
    I’m not distracted by the phone at all, and when I get a notification, I simply swipe it away.

  2. My gym has QR codes on all the machines and instruction videos and workout plans on their app. This encourages us to take our phones in… It would be great but the gym seems to be in some sort of reception-less bunker so we can’t access any of it. On the plus side we can’t sit around texting on the resistance machines.

  3. Or you’re super-busy, like me, and use it for your studying and chill time alike while doing the only workouts possible (low-impact cardio) after your long distance running stress injuries. And wipe it with hand sanitizer after. Win-win-aaaand-win.

  4. You are absolutely correct Davey, and the advice doesn’t just apply to the gym. To succeed at anything you must be fully present in the task. Allowing our smart phones to govern our lives limits are capacity to perform well in ALL aspects – not just in our fitness efforts.

    Here is what I do – I put my IPhone in airplane mode while I am at the gym. No calls or texts, but I can turn wifi on to view training videos and I can listen to music or audiobooks during cardio. Callers can leave messages and the texts will be waiting for me when I take it off airplane mode. It works for me!

  5. I agree 100%. And I would add to what you say, conversing on the phone while exercising. If you need to talk beyond like okay I’ll pick up the milk, go to an appropriate area like the juice bar or reception. The other day I was a captive audience to a guy on the next elliptical who made about 10 phone calls in a half hour while pretending to work out. Even though I had my music turned up all the way in my ears I could still hear and be annoyed. Don’t do it.

  6. HÃ¥kan Eriksson says:

    I don’t trust the security at my gym enough to leave a very expensive item in the locker.

    • Perhaps you could leave your smart phone in your car, or better yet, change to a safer gym. My solution of simply turning off the phone and text functions works well for me.

  7. I have no problem with texting on machines like the treadmill, as long as you are using the machine actively. I don’t think talking on the phone is acceptable though.

  8. PREACH IT BROTHER! It’s like Grindr® Lounge in the gym. And for all you cry-babies who swear to gawd that you aren’t texting/Grindr®-ering/face-timing® but keeping track of your sets/reps/weights/goals etc.. It’s actly faster to record your results in a note book with a pen or pencil.

  9. Davey, Charley & Aloha Dad; you are all heads on!!! I couldn’t agree more!

  10. Right on David!

  11. Wow.. lots of comments generated by this article I agree that phones are often more of a distraction. They can be a tool to enhance our workout; however It takes a very structured person to be able to ignore all the noise it comes into our smartphones and say that they are totally focused on the app they are using to improve their work out.

  12. As you said on point number 7, it can all wait.
    99% of the texts you receive are unimportant noise that does nothing to serve your happiness or personal evolution.
    Amen sister.

  13. With my wallet, I keep mine in a locker. Don’t wanna risk water damage from sweat and I like to stay focused.

    For music I use a cheap mp3 player or a small am/fm radio so I can tune into any of the televisions, listen to the latest music, or keep up with “the score.”

    I use a waterproof stop watch to make sure I don’t rest too long between sets and to safely monitor my time in the sauna. People seem to also bring their phone to the sauna too. I could mention to them about waterproof phone covers but I hate them 🙂

    I used to use a notebook until exercising became second nature to me.

    For emergency calls, those who are close to me would know to call the gym and I’ll get summoned at the front desk. (Although it can annoy staff if the call wasn’t important at all)

  14. all losers.leave your phone alone for that damn 1 hr …

  15. Do you people have real jobs, family and god forbid kids? Yes I have my phone with me all the time. And many, many times I have had to leave gym abruptly. No my gym can’t even pronounce my name right as I don’t live there so most likely if they even paged me I wouldn’t know. Surprise! I am a woman.

  16. Hey, I just had a question, let’s say you use your phone in the gym just to put some music o an then after your session you use your phone again. Don’t you think your phone will have germs on phone from the gym which will eventually spread to your day to day items like water bottle, clothes, laptop, etc?

  17. super tired of waiting for machines while people play games / text / and check their facebook (yes I am looking at your screen douchebag) and after fifteen minutes they do a whopping 5 reps. i love it when it is followed by slamming the weights down to get attention and immediately going into the phone zone without even looking around to see if maybe they should stand next to the machine while they rest and text and pick their nose, enabling someone else to use the machine. no, that would be crazy. this is not what smartphone people are about. it is all about them! “who cares if people are in my way as i walk down the street, they will move out of my way”

  18. What is incredibly annoying and I’ve gotten really fed up with are members who tie up a machine you’re waiting for by staring at their phone in a daze for long periods of time – and not working out at all -with no awareness whatsoever that anyone is waiting to use it. When they’re interruped, they give you attitude. Management at my gym has informed me there is nothing they can do if another member ties up a machine like this. Something is very wrong about here.

  19. Bom dia a todos!