Workout etiquette: OMG stop grunting
Every gym has at least one.
You may not see him right away, but listen carefully and you'll hear his distinctive call, roared at the pitch of someone passing a grapefruit-sized kidney stone: Hoooo-ahhhhh.
They are the grunters.
Up until now, gym goers have politely tolerated these vein-popping wailers. That was before Chris Carter, a 45-year-old New York stockbroker, inspired fitness buffs everywhere to confront the grunt.
Last August, an exasperated Mr. Carter approached Stuart Sugarman - who had been grunting and yelling "Good burn!" and "You go girl!" as he pedalled a stationary bike at Manhattan's Equinox fitness club - and slammed the back of the bike into a wall. Mr. Sugarman later went to hospital, claiming the impact caused a herniated disk in his neck.
In a court case that concluded on Tuesday, a jury acquitted Mr. Carter of assault charges, immediately hoisting his status to the level of folk hero among the anti-grunt majority who frequent gyms.
"They're so annoying," said Tracie Macko, a 31-year-old dancer whose ears were still ringing from some "big-time grunting" at Extreme Fitness in downtown Toronto.
"Some guys sound like they're in serious pain. It's just something to show off," she says.
But short of borderline assault, what's to be done about grunters?
recent research out of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Tex., rejects the notion that grunting improves weight-lifting performance in any meaningful way. Researchers found that a group of grunting study subjects posted 5-per-cent gains in strength, roughly equivalent to silent gym goers. The lead researcher even warned that grunting did more to spark arguments than to build muscle mass.