All out of sorts now

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I go into my local Snap Fitness for a little workout — no, I’m not getting buff, I’m just trying to stave off my inevitable decline into decrepitude. This is supposed to be a good experience, right? It never is, and it’s getting worse.

This morning pretty much all of the flat screens on the wall were tuned to Fucking Fox News, with nothing but Republican attack ads against state democrats (there must be a lot of toxic cash flooding the state right now). OK, I can change the channels, especially when we’re the only people there, but it does make me question whether I want to be associated with the regular clientele of this place.

Even worse, though, they pipe in horrible music from Sirius FM, curated by a trio of the worst, loudest, shrillest, most obnoxious DJs in broadcast history. I deal with this by going in with my earbuds and drowning them out with music I like, sans howling baboons shrieking about contests and trivia. It didn’t work today, because the goddamned music was turned up so loud that even Roger Waters and Joe Cocker Annie Lennox and cranked up to the max couldn’t be heard over them, and I was killing my ears trying to escape. It was intolerable and I finally had to leave.

So when I finally collapse into an even more out of shape, flabby, breathless blob of amuscular goo, I want you all to blame (or thank) Snap Fitness of Morris for driving me away.

And you wonder why I’m cranky all the time.


  1. nomadiq says

    It is not unreasonable to ask that they turn the music down. At least I hope it is not unreasonable. If it is then, yes, don’t go back.

  2. lotharloo says

    It didn’t work today, because the goddamned music was turned up so loud that even Roger Waters and Joe Cocker Annie Lennox and cranked up to the max couldn’t be heard over them, and I was killing my ears trying to escape. It was intolerable and I finally had to leave.

    Damn, I sympathize. Loud music at gyms should be cut out, unless there’s a special training program or something. There are some types music that are simply intolerable.

  3. kevinv says

    this is why i love my gym. around the corner from me, open 24/7, month to month with no contract, no gym rats policy (i.e. no grunting or dropping weights), no harrassing other members, NO TVs!, music is playing but at a low level that my earbuds cover up at normal levels.

    Only downside is the wifi blocks netflix and itunes streaming (and I assume Spotify and amazon prime video. Can’t remember if Youtube works). I assume their connection was being overwhealmed so it’s undersdtandabel. And Netflix has downloading now and my gym playlist is downloaded on my phone, so no loss to me.

  4. says

    If you like audiobooks, the hoopla app lets me check out five a month (through my library account, ultimately), and these can be downloaded to your phone so you get to listen wherever you are. At the end of the interval, it seems to vanish from the phone, as is proper.

    I also stick books and movies and everything else on my phone. I put a large SD card in so I could load it up, and I have.

  5. Ed Seedhouse says

    I rely on expensive sound cancelling headphones for ear protection when walking in traffic or on a bus. Not sure how practical Sony WH-1000xM2 phones would be when exercising as they are big and clumsy, but they make great earmuffs as well as sounding decent. But we are talking about dropping the best part of $400.00 here in Canada.

    You can get cheap sound cancelling in ear monitors from Amazon (or a nearby drugstore) for fifty bucks or so but I don’t know about the quality and you do have to put up with bits of plastic stuck up your Eustachian tubes – can’t stand that myself.

    Unfortunately at 74 my ears are still quite sensitive. It would be fare more convenient to be about half deaf…

  6. says

    I spend a lot at airports and have discovered that shooting earmuffs over normal earbuds pretty handily beats all the “noise cancelling” stuff.

  7. erichoug says

    God I hate Sirius. Their business plan seems to be to find every possible opportunity to force you to listen to them.

    I got a free subscription when I bought my last car. When it was up, they called me and asked me what it would take to get me to sign up for another year. To which I replied. A prefrontal lobotomy and giving it to me for free. Even then, I doubt I would ever listen to it when I have an endless array of idiot DJ free music available on Pandora and Spotify. Or I can listen to Malcolm Gladwell’s podcasts.


  8. stroppy says

    No good gyms near me, so I exercise at home. You don’t need much equipment if any, and brisk walks are also free. The most exotic device I own is an old Airdyne that I bought on sale.

    Pro tip: Even at home avoid the news, any news, during exertion. You don’t want to stroke out in the middle of a rage. This should be practical hygiene for all of your constitutionals.

  9. jester700 says

    Marcus is right – shooting muffs. I often use those when lawnmowing. Or “canal phones”, which are ear buds basically built into ear plugs. Some are <$20, and they do a good job, if (as mentioned above) you can stand them in your ears. These are different from noise canceling headphones, which use microphones to pick up external noise and add it to the signal after reversing polarity so that the noise is canceled. Any can work, and get rid of Fox folks’ audio, though you can still see their smug mugs.

  10. Rob Grigjanis says

    Never could stand gyms. Since my running days ended, I’ve used machines. For the last 10 years, a recumbent stationary bike (actually more like between upright and recumbent). Don’t have to deal with other people, and I play my own music. Sweet. Also bought a chin-up bar a few years ago, which sits on a door lintel. Don’t really need anything else.

  11. willj says

    The Fox News is a deal breaker. Cancel your membership and invest in some free weights. As odd as it seems, weightlifting is supposed to be good for older men like us. Activates hormones or something. Just take it easy at first and don’t injure yourself.

  12. says

    I have recently taken up exercise (again, sigh), which for me means walks through the wood. Why pay a silly fitness studio if I get the woods next to the house for free? But I admit that I a) am, damn lucky to live here and b) don’t have to put up with Minnesota winters.
    Worst part about it is dog owners. I mean, there’s a big fucking wood. All you need to do is make sure that your doggie steps 1m off the path, yet that seems to be too much for some. Also those who have their dog off the leash and not under their control. I don’t mind dogs saying hello, but I’m not everybody and seriously, three big dogs running towards you while their owners keep calling them isn’t instilling a lot of confidence.

  13. kenbakermn says

    I agree with you, erichoug, with one exception. Sirius has a great jazz channel. I am – you guessed it – a jazz fan, and many regions don’t have any good, or even marginally adequate, jazz radio stations. Sirius also has a half decent classical channel.

  14. Matt says

    I was about to make a comment along the lines of, “this is one of the many reasons I like working for a university – the campus gym is less likely to be tuned in to Fox News than a gym out in the real world.” But then…YOU work for a university.

  15. stroppy says

    Minnesota winters are good for you.

    I refer you to Point 15 on How to be More Swedish, as referenced by PZM in an earlier post. I believe it to be sound exercise advice:

    15. Keep fit like a Swede.
    When you realise that 2 buns a day isn’t going to be guilt free, take up any or all of the following:
    Skiing, cross country skiing, walking, hill walking, stick walking, Nordic walking, stock Nordic walking, dog walking, walking Nordic dogs… Or anything that requires you to go outside and get rosy cheeks on two legs. During these outdoor pursuits, do not engage in conversation with strangers, other than a quick ‘dag’ grunt. Always make sure you wear a mössa, a woolly hat.

  16. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Don’t get me started on Sirius! XM was so much better before the merger. They had actual deep playlists! Less obnoxious DJs! They let Bob Dylan have a wonderfully goofy, eclectic show! It was clearly too good to last!

  17. bachfiend says

    Everyone else has made the points I wanted to make. I cancelled one membership at a gym and moved to another one just 200 metres away. The first gym played their ‘music’ very loud, even in the change room. My new gym does play ‘music’, but not loud, even if it is rap. And they don’t play ‘music’ in the changeroom.

    I also listen to audiobooks, which has a constant volume throughout. My favourite music is classical, which varies from very loud to very soft. Attempting to listen to classical music over gym ‘music’ results in my not hearing my music for periods, or being deafened. I can hear my audiobooks and not notice the gym ‘music.’

  18. nomdeplume says

    I don’t know how it became the accepted thing that shops and eating places play louder and louder music, often so loud that as you walk past a doorway you feel buffeted by sound. In addition there are shops that organise customer service by loud announcements that interrupt the loud music “would john smith come to checkout 3 please”. I am guessing that they think being bathed in a wall of sound (a) encourages you to enter a shop in the first place and (b) encourages you to stay in their for much longer and buy even more things. Both assumptions are completely wrong for me and I suspect for most of the human race who have any vestige of hearing left.

  19. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ken Bakerman #15

    I agree with you, erichoug, with one exception. Sirius has a great jazz channel. I am – you guessed it – a jazz fan, and many regions don’t have any good, or even marginally adequate, jazz radio stations. Sirius also has a half decent classical channel.

    I concur. I live on the outskirts of of the Chicago radio area, and finally got a Sirius XM subscription for my car after the jazz station, which was the FM HD2 channel of a pop station, went away after the pop station was was sold.

  20. chrislawson says

    Marcus and jester700–

    Noise-cancelling headphones are one of the cleverer audiophile scams of the modern era. They can be very effective in an environment with a constant background noise, e.g. industrial fans or engine noise, but they’re not very good at cancelling highly variable, unpredictable noises. For most people the better option is to wear noise-blocking headphones. And indeed, if you look at most of the highly-regarded noise-cancelling headphones, you might notice that they have large muffs to dampen incoming sound.

    I’m not saying noise-cancelling doesn’t work at all, but most customers are getting almost all of their listening benefit from the cheap foam muffs and a tiny amount of their listening benefit from the expensive noise-cancelling electronics, and losing battery life in the process. It’s also pretty funny to see manufacturers lauding their sound quality when many of these headphones use Bluetooth wireless which hugely degrades sound quality (recent Bluetooth codecs are a lot better, but most manufacturers have not adopted them yet).

  21. magistramarla says

    I hear you, PZ! I’ve stopped attending the water aerobics class at my gym because most of the ladies who attend it are big Trump supporters and the instructor looks, sounds and acts like Sarah Palin. I simply can’t stand her screechy voice!
    Instead, I swim on the days when there is no class. I meet up with my equally progressive Democratic best friend, and we water walk and talk for over an hour. It definitely helps to keep us in shape.
    I’m rehabbing from two awful back surgeries, and that pool has been what keeps me able to walk.

  22. kaleberg says

    $400 for noise cancelling earphones! Yikes! You can get a modestly priced treadmill or exercise bike for less. What is your workout? Do you have room for some gear in your basement or garage or better? Check out Craig’s List for even cheaper options, but give them a whirl before buying unless you are handy.
    Also, does your university have a gym membership you can get a faculty discount on? Yeah, it might mean exercising with a bunch of buff kids, but some schools have decent enough gear and sane rules on music and definitely no Fox News.

  23. methuseus says

    Why do gyms seem to always have Fox news on? Do progressive people just not say anything or not go? I know that the majority (meaning slightly over half) of the country is actually at least a little progressive about stuff. But maybe I’m wrong.

  24. Ed Seedhouse says

    @25: “$400 for noise cancelling earphones! Yikes!”

    Horses for courses. The Sony’s are extremely good at cancelling the sounds that annoy and disturb me. My needs are not your needs. My ears are not your ears. My life is not your life. And I did not, you might have noticed had you been in the mood to notice, recommend them for anyone else.

  25. Ed Peters says


    I complained to the mgr at LA Fitness about the overly loud music, but he just laughed and said it’s dictated by corporate. Never mind that the volume would go down whenever they wanted it to. What I fail to understand is, who does want that loud, obnoxious music on a 1 hour loop? It often seems everyone is wearing earbuds or headphones, indicating almost no one likes the public music. And it’s so loud no one can really hear all the music they are playing, even with the so-called “noise cancelling” headphones. I even found it almost impossible to understand British History podcasts. So what is the sonic bombardment for, besides the regular ads? I suspect it’s the same reason as Chipotle: they crank it up as an anti-loitering measure. You done? You leave. No socializing. Movin, movin, movin’ Keep them doggies movin’.

    I also complained about the Fox News, but the black mgr just shrugged. Fox News is the default setting for all public TVs in Texas. I just gave up and let my sub expire. It is about the only thing we can do to protest.