Don't you dare grunt in the gym...
WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. You can lift, strain, crunch and sweat all you want at the Planet Fitness in the Dutchess County village. But whatever you do, do not grunt.
Yep, "no grunting." It says so, in black and white, on a sign posted at the gym. One former member learned the new rule the hard way.
"This is really absurd, especially the part about the grunting," said Al Argibay, a corrections officer who learned first-hand "no grunting" means exactly that.
Argibay, a former competitive bodybuilder, joined the gym in September because it was affordable and convenient.
Planet Fitness is also somewhat picky, with a long list of dos-and-don'ts posted right inside the door.
"No grunting or screaming" is listed, along with "no bandanas or do-rags."
"We're creating an atmosphere that's not intimidating," said Carol Palazzolo, the gym manager, who yanked Argibay's membership on Monday.
Argibay said he was at a multi-press station, getting ready to squat about 500 pounds when the forbidden sin happened. "I let out a grunt, squatted down, back up, grunt again. That's it," explained Argibay. "Basically, grunt, grunt, basic breathing in heavy, and breathing out."
Grunting is commonplace at most gyms, but not Planet Fitness, which discourages so-called "musclehead behavior."
There's even a flashing light and siren on the wall, labeled a "lunk alarm," which sounds if someone grunts or drops weights on the floor.
Is it ok to grunt while working out?
Palazzolo admits she called the cops on Argibay. The Wappingers Falls police report said officers were asked to "escort a member out of the club for grunting while working out...which is not conforming with the rules of the establishment."
But Palazzolo said that's only part of the story.
"He did grunt, and when I told him he wasn't allowed to grunt, he got irate at me, he swore, and he yelled at me," Palazzolo said. "I asked him not to [grunt), he got irate and nasty, and I can't have him in my facility if he's gonna do those kind of things."
Argibay denied he yelled, cursed, or acted inappropriately. He demanded an apology from the gym and its manager.
"It's an attack on my character, and it's very embarrasing, and an insult," Argibay said. "At the end of the day, after serving your community as a corrections officer, the last thing I want is to be escorted out of the gym by the local authorities."
Palazzolo is standing her ground.
"I'm not out to hurt anybody," she said. "If he feels I hurt his feelings, I apologize for that, but I do not apologize for the way I handled the situation and I am not apologizing for our etiquette at Planet Fitness."
It's not personal, she said, it's policy. Grunters should go elsewhere.
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