From AP, this could get any stranger?
Grunting Carries No Weight in This Gym
- By CANDICE CHOI, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, November 2, 2006
(11-02) 20:21 PST Albany, N.Y. (AP) --
Some gyms forbid hogging machines and or wearing flip flops. At one gym, grunting is grounds for expulsion. Albert Argibay of Beacon, N.Y. was escorted by police officers from a gym this week for grunting — which is against Planet Fitness' rules for maintaining a non-intimidating atmosphere.
"Perhaps I grunted, perhaps I didn't. It's open to interpretation," said Argibay, a 40-year-old corrections officer. He said he had his headset on when he was lifting 500 pounds on a squat machine at the gym in Wappingers Falls, about 80 miles north of New York City.
Planet Fitness, which has 120 locations across the country, markets itself as a place where anyone can feel comfortable in its "Judgment Free Zone."
Its rules, posted around the gym, state members cannot wear bandanas, grunt or bang weights on the ground. When an offender is spotted, a "lunk alarm" sounds to warn the member.
Across its locations nationwide, there is at least one expulsion every two weeks, said Mike Grondahl, CEO of Planet Fitness. He said grunting and dropping weights are the most common offenses.
"When somebody's in there and they grunt and they grunt loud, it's trying to bring attention to themselves to show everyone how strong they are," Grondahl said.
Argibay emitted the offending grunt Monday evening, a peak time for gyms, said Carol Palazzolo, the gym's general manager. She said she heard it from across the room, even though "the place was a zoo."
"He was looking directly at me and he did it four times," she said. "I'm not a doctor, but as far as I know, a grunt is a noise that comes out of one's body that is loud and is intimidating."
An argument ensued when she confronted him, and the police were called. Argibay was escorted out, but no charges were filed.
"It's an embarrassing situation to be in, over a grunt," Argibay said.
Most clubs have policies regarding proper gym manners, although expulsions are rare, said Brooke Correia, spokeswoman for the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.
Grunting might be more taboo in gyms like Planet Fitness, which cater to exercise novices, Correia said.
The heaviest dumb bells at Planet Fitness are 80 pounds, meaning it's a place geared toward the general public, Palazzolo said.
She didn't know if Argibay was a chronic offender — he'd only been a member since Sept. 27. But it was the first time she kicked a member out for grunting.
"I don't know the reason behind grunting or not grunting. But if you need to grunt, you may go and join another gym," she said.
On the Net:
International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association,