Posts tagged with "a 27-year-old yoga instructor in New York City"

Stop filming yourself at the gym already!

April 17, 2024

Emily Holtzman, a 27-year-old yoga instructor in New York City, is frustrated that her students won’t stop bringing their phones to her class. So, she put a note on her class door: “Please no phones! Especially no filming yourself working out.” But, she didn’t expect the note would stir so many emotions, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Many people think phones have gotten out of hand—at concerts, at movies, even at the fast-food drive-through. Documenting our lives for social media or group texts has become the norm. Few moments exist now where people don’t whip out their phones to take a photo or video.

The gym had been a holdout in our phone-obsessed society. Taking out a device during a workout used to be met with side-eye from nearly everyone in the room. 

Now, more people are throwing that old etiquette away and using their phones in yoga studios and workout classes, and at the squat rack. The movement has other gym goers questioning their filming counterparts online and in person. It has sometimes led to confrontations.

In Holtzman’s class, students have come to her upset that they were in the background of someone’s video or got distracted by someone else’s screen during a session. Much like wearing swimsuits to the beach, we show up in Spandex assuming we won’t end up being recorded for all the world to see.

When she posted her no-phone notice on TikTok in March, the video received more than 780,000 views. Most commenters voiced appreciation for the rule. Some, however, defended the right to film. Working out is a great opportunity to share online, they say. People can feel motivated to try a new class by watching someone else’s workout videos.

“The broader issue is how much of our life do we need to be sharing online?” says Holtzman, who has taught more than 700 yoga classes in three years and works at a foreign-policy think tank.

No consent

Corinne Keogh, a 25-year-old self-employed home-goods designer in New York, has noticed more people filming themselves during workout classes during the past year and a half. She finds it “off-putting.”

“It’s a little daunting going in those workout classes where everyone is super fit,” Keogh says. “The last thing I would want is to be on someone’s viral video.”

She doesn’t believe the people doing it are being rude or mean. They’re just so used to putting every part of their lives online that they might forget others don’t like it. To avoid being on camera, she picks a spot in the front of the class. She hasn’t spotted herself in any TikTok videos (that she knows of).

Many chains—such a 24 Hour FitnessNew York Sports Club, and Life Time—prohibit filming of other people without their consent.

Others have looser restrictions—opening up the possibility that people will be filmed without giving consent to appear in their fellow classmates’ videos.

Ana Gaby Garza, a 21-year-old junior marketing major at Texas A&M University, regularly films herself during workouts. She tries to sit on the side or at the back of the class, to avoid capturing other people.

Garza sees filming herself as a necessary part of her job as a beauty and lifestyle content creator. She also records herself throughout the day doing other things, such as getting coffee or studying. 

When home in McAllen, Texas, about half of her 20-person fitness classes typically have phones out for filming—mostly just for fun. At school in College Station, usually two or three people film themselves out of a 30-person class, she says.

Liv Schreiber, a 27-year-old content creator and event-company founder, routinely works with studios and gyms to film her workouts, in exchange for pay or comped classes. She says she takes care not to catch anyone else on camera. She’ll ask others around if it’s OK; and, if she messes up, she’ll ask for permission to use the footage.

“It’s our responsibility that others feel comfortable,” Schreiber says.

She often films at CorePower Yoga, the same chain that Holtzman works at. Earlier this month, CorePower asked influencers to pause filming content in class until new guidelines are rolled out, says a CorePower spokesperson.

“In this era of social media, we want to ensure consistency throughout our studios and are evaluating our policies around cellphone usage before, during and after class,” the spokeswoman says.

More phones, more problems

Kayla Kleinman taught at various New York studios until last June. When she posts fitness-related content on Instagram, she only takes photos before or after—but not during—her workouts.

Before the pandemic, she’d see a phone in the studio only once in a while, with people apologizing for bringing it in.

In the summer of 2021, when in-person classes returned, people became more combative, says the 33-year-old. She told one person to put her phone in a locker and the woman just responded, “No.” When Kleinman stood her ground, the woman finally put it away.

Jacob Reynolds, a 32-year-old yoga instructor in New York, says he won’t begin class without asking students to turn their phones off. On several occasions, people have yelled at him.

“Honestly, there is probably not a month that goes by that I don’t have to deal with someone like that,” says Reynolds, who has been an instructor for 11 years.

And the concerns go beyond filming, to scrolling apps and checking email. If people are unfocused, they might push past their own limitations and hurt their body, he says.

“I cannot tell you how many times I catch people on Instagram,” he adds.

Research contact: @WSJ