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Sit Back and Listen to the Sounds of the Jungle

One last thought about the sounds around you. Sit back and listen. What do you hear? The fitness facility is home to numerous noises not experienced in most settings. Just think about it. As you walk the aisles of your grocery store, do you routinely hear men huffing and puffing as if they're in a Lamaze class? I hope not! But you do hear those sounds emanating from the muscle-pumping dudes on the weight-room floor. Do you hear ear-splitting techno at the dry cleaners? Again, not usually, unless you go to some really hip, new dry cleaners that is part dance club and part laundry facility. Ever been in the post office and heard the sound of 200 pounds dropping on the floor? Nope, you don't usually hear that while buying a book of stamps.

Fitness facilities are unique places. And we should enjoy the zoo-like environment. Now, I'm not calling the club a zoo because it holds a lot of sweaty, and sometimes stinky, mammals (although that it true occasionally); I'm calling it a zoo because on most days it sounds like a jungle. And I'm not just talking about roars coming from childcare.

That's right, most of the time it's the grown men and women on the treadmill, in the locker room and on the free weights. They're the ones that have an odd inclination to become noise-producers — especially during busy times when the gym is packed with life.

How many stories could I, a group exerciser and personal trainer, recount about weird noises at the gym? Plenty. And as a fitness professional yourself, I'm sure you have a mountain more. But, regardless, here are some of my favorites. See if you can identify these and other species native to your club.

  • Hard-of Hearing Elephant - This is a rare breed of mammal that ignores all signs on televisions reading, “Please Do NOT Change the Channel.” This persistent member also pays no heed to messages about keeping the volume of the televisions to a minimum, if any sound at all. Beware of the Hard-of Hearing Elephant — they do not listen to requests made by the staff to follow the rules. They'll go right back to their usual habits once you walk away.

  • The Grunting Gorilla - You can easily spot the Grunting Gorilla. He is commonly male, but can also be female. He/she enjoys sitting in the focal part of the weight room, usually near a mirror. The Grunting Gorilla then picks up an inconceivable amount of weight and while lifting it, begins to turn so red that it looks like they may explode, followed by heavy breathing, panting and then, on their last rep, a long, drawn-out release of a grunt varying in tone and pitch.

  • The Crooning Chimp - This animal doesn't just walk around singing to the music (there isn't anything wrong with that, is there?); this member gets so wrapped up in his workout that he forgets that the entire gym even exists. The in-the-moment thinking absorbs the member in his pace and music. The Crooning Chimp gets so fired up that he begins singing to his portable music device without realizing it. Take heed of the Crooning Chimp though. It's best to ignore his singing because he is easily embarrassed and may try to escape when he becomes aware of what he is doing.

  • Chatty Birds - This breed of animal travels in pairs. They walk away on their side-by-side treadmills discussing their latest dilemmas for all to hear. From problems with their children to boss issues to their latest doctor's visit, these Chatty Birds seem not to care who can hear the most intimate details of their conversation. Zoologists think that the rhythmic sound of the treadmill lulls these creatures into a false sense that they are the only two creatures at the gym that day.

While it may sound like a zoo at times, remember that your facility is a place where members can come in, relax and work on their own personal goals, both physical and mental. So, go ahead and let them make a whole lot of interesting noises in the process, just as long as they're being safe and not endangering your other members. You may be surprised and frightened at times by the random noises, but you sure can have fun observing them.

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