The sight of mobile phone in gyms is now commonplace.
In some situations, they are designed to benefit members, notably with fitness apps designed to help track results.
The latter is something you must be very careful with.
Remember Google and Facebook?
The little companies that offered FREE search and FREE social network access?
They are now two of the biggest businesses in the world thanks to arguably the most commodity on the planet…
Having Google and Facebook send you tailored advertisements is one thing, having a fitness company mine and prune your personal information is another.
For example Google recently acquired Fit Bit.
Millions of people have been destroying their app so personal information like period cycles are not given to the US digital giant.
Promises from Google that they won’t mine the data for ads should not be believed.
But it isn’t just the potential of data being mined that should lead you to putting down your mobile phone.
Especially between sets.
Cognitive ability is so important in the gym now.
Many supplements, especially in the preworkout category, now contain ingredients to help individual’s focus.
Decreased attention span is directly related to increase mobile phone use, and studies are now emerging that breaking one’s chain of thought (i.e. lifting) with surfing the internet leads to significantly lower results.
The ability to quickly work things is also crucial in the gym, lower analytical abilities can result in difficulty intra-set/movement adjustments, not to mention the ability to challenge one’s self in regards to heavier lifts, etc
Relying on digital information can also lead to a critical flaw in gym training – meeting others in the gym and learning from others.
Putting down the phone doesn’t just mean no ecoli and other bacteria, it means being aware of others in the gym and ensuring your visual skills and awareness and at your prime.
South Africa recently won the Rugby World Cup and one thing that has been credited has been near ‘total ban on mobile phone usage’.
This is in dramatic contrast to the modern athlete or sport’s team.
“Extended use of a cell phone can have a huge impact on your eyes and motor skills,” Dr Sherylle Calder
The renowned exercise scientist has worked with golfer Ernie Els, NFL star Kenny Stills and Formula 1 aces Valtteri Bottas.
She said that when it comes to physical performance, mobile phones are a no go.
“How you focus and how you react is affected when you’re spending so much time in front of a cell phone screen. It’s probably one of the biggest threats in the modern game,” she told SA Rugby.
“You see players using their phones non-stop.
“So we’ve tried to impact that from day one, as it makes a difference in the long term.
“Judgement skills are affected, which can in turn affect catching, passing, seeing space, kicking, tackling, getting up for lineouts, throws, restarts … in other words, everything.
‘When you narrow your focus to the screen of a phone, you de-learn your awareness and judgment skills.
You obviously can’t succeed on the rugby field if you don’t have a greater awareness.”
One suspects the same could be applied to the gym.