Why You Should Stay Off Your Phone at the Gym—and How to Do It

Eliza Shirazi is here to kick your tech addiction.

Your phone: It’s in your pocket, purse, desk, car, and even your bed. You’re so addicted, you can hardly put it down.

Unfortunately, that addiction follows many of us to the gym—and that’s a problem. There are three ways of looking at how phones can ruin a group fitness experience, and three strategies for dealing with it.

1. Instructors: Instructors work so incredibly hard to create thoughtful and effective classes, so there’s nothing worse than a student on his or her phone. Are the Insta likes you’re looking at more important than this kick sequence I planned for you? I don’t think so.

Instructors, it’s our job to speak up. Although being authoritative in a space that’s supposed to be friendly and warm can be uncomfortable, remember that your work and time are valuable. Remind phone users why they came to class, and encourage them to power down—even if it takes a loving kick.

2. Participants: Have you ever been in down dog, taking deep inhales and exhales, and then noticed the person next to you firing off texts? So distracting. Instead of giving that person a death glare or making a ruckus, make eye contact with the instructor so s(he) can give a gentle reminder about class etiquette. If all else fails, take it upon yourself to move and talk to the instructor after class. Your experience shouldn’t be dimmed because of someone’s iPhone light shining in your face.

3. Yourself: If you’re the culprit, it’s time kick the habit. If you’re glued to your phone during class, you’re setting yourself up for stress when you actually signed up to do the opposite. Your phone brings your mind out of the class and into another world. Give yourself the opportunity to power down your phone and your mind so you can hit the rest of your day full force. 

Here’s how:

  • Before you enter the gym or studio, put your phone in your bag and commit to not grabbing it until you leave.
  • Set a timer on your phone, and only pick it up when the timer goes off. This way, it becomes non-negotiable, mentally. You can give yourself permission to let go for a certain amount of time.
  • Put on the “do not disturb” feature, even when your phone is in your bag. This way, you won’t be sucked in while you’re getting ready for class. No temptation equals no distraction.

Eliza Shirazi is the founder and creator of Kick It by Eliza.