The Trouble with Phones in the Gym

As a personal trainer I see all sorts in the gym. 

What I saw the other day (and I've seen before) is someone stepping on a phone that had been left on the floor of an exercise studio. What ensued, was nothing short of a cat-fight. 

Woman 1 - who trod on the phone - let out a small squeal, alerting woman 2 - whose phone it was - to rush over (she was busy putting a mat away at the time). Woman 1 apologises, adding she didn't see it because it was on the floor. Woman 2 picks up the phone to find that the screen has shattered and launches into a tirade of abuse. Woman 2 stands her ground and protests that it's not her fault because the phone shouldn't have been left vulnerable on the floor and it was an accident waiting to happen. Woman 1 suggests she must be blind not to see it, and starts name calling and using foul language.

This exchange  goes on for a couple of minutes by which time the studio has emptied of other people and a member of the gym staff rushes in, advising them to carry on their argument outside.

It was an unedifying sight which could have been avoided with a bit of common sense:

I am totally with Woman 1 on this:

If you bring your phone into a gym, do NOT leave it on the floor. It's plain STUPID and if someone does tread on it, you've only got yourself to blame.

I understand why people bring phones into gyms - there's a number of valid reasons. But, they can be a menace. 

What I DON'T understand, in addition to abandoning  them on the floor, is people who spend more time talking on them than working-out.But that's a whole different subject which needs a blog of its own - watch this space!


As a personal trainer, I'm in and out of gyms all day. Something I've noticed lately is the emergence of an 'athleisure trainer'  being used instead of a bona fide sports one.

Be aware: fashion trainers might look cool and stylish, they might come in more colours and styles, they might even cost less, but - in the main - they are not suitable for working out in. 

That's because they're not made for athletic functionality or to help prevent injury. 

The grip on the bottom is likely to be inferior to fashion ones and the cushioning and support at the rear of the shoe is unlikely to be suitable for supporting the ankle and instep - particularly if you're running or jumping. Also, the impact on joints will be greater, which is a classic pathway to knee and hip problems.

Also, the materials and fabric used in fashion trainers are often 'hard', inflexible, heavy and without wicking to help release heat and moisture.

If you're an athleisure-trainer-wearer in the gym, it might not be your fault. When you walk into the trainer section of a sports store, the two varieties are often not de-lineated and if you ask a member of staff, they don't always know the difference.

So, do your research before you part with your money. Once you've worn your trainers (whatever type they are) you won't be ale to return them.

D‚Äčon't Run Out of Steam

So much has been written about coronavirus and how to keep fit while we're locked down. So much information, so many You Tube videos, so many Instagram posts and so many people to like, follow and watch. It's overwhelming and exhausting - and that's before you've even done any exercise.

 My advice is this: find a type/s of exercise that works for you and keep doing it. Change it when you feel your body's got used to it or when it gets boring, The most important thing to do is keep going during this period. Those people who maintain an exercise regime throughout lockdown are the very people who are likely to remain committed when this is all over. They are the people who will stand out and flourish back in the gym/exercise classes and they are the people who will be able to feel proud of themselves from a fitness perspective for a very long time.


The Honest PT

Posted on October 22, 2015 at 4:20 PM

IN this weekly feature, personal trainer Aylia Fox shoots from the hip about some aspect of the health, fitness or weight loss industry. Unafraid, upfront, provocative but most of all honest, you'll either lover or hate her opinions. Either way, you won't be able to ignore them and you might just learn something!

This week's rant:


FASHION is fun and colour is cool, but if you're buying a pair of training shoes for the purposes of exercise, make sure you're ruled by your head not your heart.   

What I mean by this is that nowadays there are so many trainers on the market, it's easy to be confused about which are for sport and which are for everyday use. They look much the same; they cost a similar amount and they're often not separated on the shop shelves. On top of this it's difficult to focus on what you need - rather than what you want - when your senses are bombarded by a rainbow array of colours and designs the moment you walk through a shop door.

Caught up in this intoxicating vacuum, you can be drawn towards a pair which you can't help but try on. They fit like a glove, feel like a pair of slippers and the shop assistant is employing their best sales patter on you. Soon you're hooked and you've long forgotten the reason you went shopping today was to buy sports trainers. It doesn't really matter though because these trainers look great, they're cool, they'll impress your friends and therefore you simply have to have them....                      


Above, an example of a fashion/leisure trainer

No you don't!

If you buy them and use them to work out, you are setting yourself up for problems and, potentially, injury. Initially this might only present itself as a bit of discomfort in your joints such as your hips, knees and ankles. But it can escalate to back pain and conditions such as shin splints (extreme pain in the shins)l achilles tendonitis (damage and inflamation between the calf muscle and the ankle) and plantar fasciitis (overstretching and damage to tissue that links your instep to your heal). A worst case scenario could mean irreparable damage to your spine.

So here's a bit of guidance: as a rule of thumb, the higher the exercise impact, the more support you need from a trainer - particularly around the ankle and underneath the heel in the form of  cushioning. If you're a serious runner you need serious running shoes. If you're someone who does a variety of exercise types, then your best bet is a cross-training shoe. This is a soft and flexible generic trainer which moves as you do (see pic below). You can normally identify this type of shoe by a criss-cross patern on the sole. 

Above, an example of a cross trainer                                            

As a personal trainer I often see people exercising in 'leisure' shoes or sneakers. Sometimes I strike up a conversation and mention it. Most people welcome the advice because they want to be safe, but I was once told to 'mind my own f-----g business' by a burly macho man who was a regular gym user and should have known better. About six months later I saw him hobbling around with a hunched back. I couldn't help wondering if his condition had anything to do with his gym footwear. Unfortunately I was too much of a coward to ask!

And finally, trainers are like tyres - they wear out with use. If you exercise more than about three times a week, you should be looking to replace your trainers every six to eight months. But don't think you have to buy one of the overpriced, well known, 'hip' brands (I'm thinking tick logos here). No, buy what's right for you and within your price range. But before you do, just remember: functionality first, then fashion.


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