Is Silence Normal at the Gym?

24 Jan

I got a membership to our local YMCA back in December. It’s one of only two gyms in a 20-mile radius, the only gym with childcare, plus our health insurance is paying part of the monthly fee, so it was a no-brainer. Also, I got tired of trying to get up at 5:30 a.m. every other morning to go running.

As an added bonus, our Y renovated and expanded the cardio room last spring, so there are all sorts of new machines, most of which have individual TVs. Yay for TV while I exercise! Each machine has a place to plug in your headphones so you can listen to your show. Actually, these days I’m listening to audiobooks (the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini), so I just look at the TV screen while I listen to the book. Or sometimes I’ll play my workout music. Works for me since all of the shows on cable are reruns anyway.

The new cardio room

But walking into the cardio room is very jarring. For one thing, it’s freezing in there. I bet it’s 43 degrees. Even after 30 minutes on the elliptical today, my arms were still cold. The other weird thing about it is the noise level. It’s silent in there. We’re talking decibel levels to rival a library. It’s odd. There are a couple of TVs mounted near the ceiling, but they’re on mute with the captions on. There’s no music pumped in, and people don’t usually speak to each other. The only sounds are feet hitting treadmills.

I feel like I’m breaking some kind of silence rule when I climb on a machine, begin my workout, and start huffing and puffing. I have exercise-induced asthma, so my breathing sounds like what I imagine a walrus with a chest cold would sound like when it’s trying to breathe while its heart rate is elevated. I pretend to not notice. “Me? Breathing too loudly? No, surely not me. I’m just here on my treadmill watching ‘Pop-Up Video’ and listening to an epic fantasy story. You must have me confused with that ill walrus over on the elliptical.”

Yeah, I don’t like it. Exercise rooms should be noisy enough to cover up wheezing, heavy breathing, and any gas expelled while running. But why should I care? It’s not like I can hear what’s going on anyway. Let’s just get the temperature fixed. Maybe bump it up to 56 degrees. That would feel downright balmy. I just don’t want to dress in layers. If I wanted a silent, cold workout, I’d get up at 5:30 a.m. and go for a run around my neighborhood. At least it would be free.


7 Responses to “Is Silence Normal at the Gym?”

  1. juliesaysyay January 24, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    The silence would probably weird me the hell out. My gym can be the exact opposite–so loud I have to crank my own headphones if I don’t want to listen to whatever it is they’re blasting. Then I workout in fear that the sound system will suddenly go out and everyone around me will hear the Miley Cyrus blaring from my headphones at an unreasonable volume. I mean, if I had Miley Cyrus on my iPod. Which I totally do not. Usually.

    • That Nolen Chick January 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      Ba ha haa! Miley Cyrus? IF you had her on your iPod, what song(s) MIGHT you recommend for working out?

  2. iampotassium January 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    How do they expect you to exercise when it is so cold in there? I am always cold so exercising when it is cold does not appeal to me. And I totally see the sick walrus on the elliptical so I know it’s not you… OR me…. 😉

  3. Laurel January 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    April- my “gym” is at my workplace, and I have to listen to either the very macho young guys listening to death metal, or our very macho-looking older guys (plural.. they all got some memo about disregarding appearances and listening to whatever they want) listening to Katy Perry/Justin Beiber/etc. It’s disturbing either way… I think I’d prefer the silence!

  4. Marianne January 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    I gave up my membership there when we brought Abel home, but boy do I remember the silence. I tried a few times to strike up friendly conversation there, but people sure don’t seem to want to socialize. Feels cold, calloused; I felt like no one would notice whether I came, left, or never came at all. But the temperature used to be very warm before the renovations. Personally, I think I prefer a cold workout to a hot one. 🙂

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  1. Did I Hear That Right? Absolutely Shocking! « that nolen chick - February 11, 2012

    […] before, I go to the local YMCA to workout three mornings a week. I use the cardio room, which is as cold and silent as the Arctic tundra. I don’t have a set routine for my workout, nor do I have a specific machine that I must use […]

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