Addicted to novelty since 2001

Music at the Gym

I try to keep my petty whining to a minimum on this site (regular readers may disagree), but here’s an exception: Why is it that in gyms and fitness centres across the globe (well, in at least the four countries in which I’ve been in them), owners and patrons alike play ridiculously loud dance music? This has been true in every facility–from the largest Fitness World to the smallest apartment gym, both publically and privately-owned–that I’ve ever used.

I know I sound like an curmudgeonly octogenarian, but people, enjoy the freaking silence. If you require music to motivate you to exercise, perhaps you should reconsider your fitness regime. If you really want music, buy a Walkman/Discman/MP3 player–they cost about $4 these days–and spare me your musical taste. After all, it’s an exercise facility, not a night club. And I’m not arguing for Mozart or Marsalis on the stereo–just turn the stereo off.

I don’t think there are gender issues here–in my apartment gym both muscle-bound men and thimble-wasted women play pounding music on the stereo (what is the correct term these days? It sure aint ‘ghetto blaster’).

This has always bothered me (particularly in my gym in Dublin, where they had TV’s with headphone jacks at every exercise machine), but it’s become more irritating since I’ve started listening to books (well, plays) on tape while I exercise. To my eternal surprise, King Lear and Christina Aguilera do not mix (My kingdom for a who…never mind).

13 Responses to “Music at the Gym”

  1. Jenny

    Well, speaking for myself, exercising is boring. I feel like a gerbil (i.e., I feel undignified and a little embarassed) and, since I don’t own a portable stereo (nor do I want to), I like having something as obnoxious and inane as mainstream dance fluff to zone out from. It’s like white noise to me, really. At the YMCA where I work out, they have TVs that you can tune a portable stereo into if you want to actually listen to a program as well as watch. Having something visual (sans sound) as well as the crappy music helps me keep my focus off my body, off the burning in my muscles, helps me stay with my routine to the finish. I just started working out as well, so the less focus I have on my (ahem) imperfections while I’m reshaping myself, the better off I am. If I had to deal with silence, my mind would go into overdrive thinking about stuff, exhausting me further and eventually causing me to stop working out. Also, I have a security issue with plugging my ears in a public space (my cubicle at work notwithstanding).

    It’s not that I require music to motivate me, per se. It’s that I prefer *something* to force my brain to decompress, and I’d prefer not to hook myself up to something that will only make it more difficult to do. I imagine it would be different if hooking myself up to a portable stereo actually meant installing a cortical implant that allowed me to just download stuff wirelessly and play at will. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about the stupid headphones or the bobbing weight of a machine on my hip. As it is…apologies that you’ll just have to deal with people like me, however humorous it reads in your blog.

  2. donna

    It was noticed today that the Cliffhangers climbing gym in Vancouver sucks for music — crappy annoying dance/techno. The Edge in North Van has much better music. They actually occasionally play rock! *shock*

  3. alan

    Doing a Step Class in silence would be a bit strange, I’d say… I like the music pumping, I feel like I am dancing.

  4. Todd

    Music in classes is fine, but they need to mix up the variety in the main workout areas and turn down the f’ing volume. The motivational needs of others don’t really concern me, and when I can hear the gym’s music over my own using headphones, something is way wrong.

    But no, the ‘but i like the music’ crowd always seems to win.

    If you get into a real tussle with the gym you can do what I did – sit down with a manager and explain that the WCB would be happy to come in and impose a volume level in the interest of a workplace environment that isn’t conducive to hearing loss. The look of terror at the word WCB is worth it on its own, but it also gets results in my experience.

  5. Chris

    I agree with Darren. It gets a bit much after a while being forced constantly to hear foreground music everywhere in public. I have wanted to find a gym where I could have at least the CHOICE of quiet. How can anyone choose a music, volume, and the acoustics that matches everyone’s enjoyment.

    Why can’t there be a few hours or certain days that it is turned off.

  6. The_truth_teller

    I TOTALLY AGREE: What the HELL is up with that? LOUD Techno pumping, and usually they play the same CD. ITS GAY. They should go and die.

  7. Jen

    Dear Mr. B., Please suggest for me a comfortable ,CHEAP, I repeat CHEAP portable unit for the sweat shop I call home 4-5 days a week, ‘so I can listen to music\, or NOTHING, when I’m not out wiping as-es in the “Retirement” “Home”on the weekends. I really deserve a decent stroke as payment for my efforts as a world-renowned as- cleaner, and all’round cool ol’ gal. Tell me what I need boy.

  8. Danielle

    I strongly agree with Darren!! I leave my gym with a headach at times forced to listen to head banging music
    that upsets my spirit, even headphones don’t block out the noise!! A few of us at the gym are putting up a pettition to remove the loud niose and have people bring in thier own music with headphones. As for what Alan wrote, classes are another story, that is usually done in a seperate room where the music is only heard by those doing the class,it’s a seperate issue like taking a dance class where your learning to do the cha , cha.
    If your in the main part of the gym pumping wieght’s or doing cardio headphones are the way to go!!!!!
    RESPECT that we are all different and have different taste in music and volume easy solution , Headphones!!
    Jenny’s comment about not owning a
    portable sterio and not wanting to because it would be uncomfortable for her to wear , things have changed the units are so tiny you can hold them in your bra and not even no it’s there, give it a try , it’s not so hard to be mindful of other people!!!
    Most sincerely,
    SICK and TIRED
    (of head banging music in the gym!!)

  9. Raymond Deane

    The point is, surely, that there should be a choice: those who want loud muzack should have it (while perhaps acknowledging that they have been brainwashed by a society that abuses music for all kinds of ends), and those who want silence should be able to find it. As in restaurants and shopping-malls, there is now no choice – and the chilling thing is that people don’t seem to respect the need for choice.

  10. sam

    Lately my gym has been playing music so loud that it drowns out my earphones. Usually the guys who are running the gym will turn it down when I ask them but lately I have been getting remarks from them that it is not that loud to rolling of eyes. Our cardio machines have TVs built into them and I cannot enjoy them or my own discman with some crap blasting. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  11. Peter

    I too suffer the loud radio at the gym and it reminds me of the time when there was no smoking laws. No matter where you were, someone would light up and you were subject to their pollution whether you liked it or not. Now the smoker has to find a place where they won’t hurt anyone else. So should it be with noise pollution, the noise makers still have a choice, Walkman/Disk-man/MP3 Players, and the rest of us can chose blissful silence.

  12. Robert

    Music at the gym needs to be low. lf you want load music then bring an ipod and listen to whatever volume you want and whatever type of music u want. l like rap and hip hop do l want to hear it basting at the gym HELL NO cause l don’t like every rap and hip hop song out there!!!

    People are never happy. l own a small fitness centre and l keep my music low

    l can’t tell u how many times a days l hear people saying “l want it on a rock station” then other people say “l want a rap station” people say turn it up turn it down. there is no way everyone is going to be happy so suck it up people and bring an ipod then there is not problem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comments are closed.