A grunt by any other name … is likely still just a grunt, according to Planet Fitness gym. In fact, a couple of grunts while heaving a whole lot o' iron got one member bounced and banned.
All that for a grunt.
Planet Fitness says it is clear on its policy of banning intimidating aka "musclehead" behavior and apparel, including grunting, screaming and do-rags or bandanas.
But Albert Argibay of Beacon, N.Y., was said to let out with a few grunts and now has focused national attention on the gym. And grunting.
"Perhaps I grunted, perhaps I didn't. It's open to interpretation," Argibay, a 40-year-old corrections officer and former competitive bodybuilder, told the Associated Press. He said he had his headset on when he was lifting 500 pounds on a squat machine at the gym in Wappingers Falls, about 80 miles north of New York City.
It was peak time at the gym -- Monday evening and gym manager Carol Palazzolo said she heard his grunt from across the room even though the place was packed. No word if the gym's so-called "Lunk Alarm" was sounded. That's a little amenity -- flashing lights and siren -- that is set off if someone drops weights, grunts or does other lunk-like things.
"He was looking directly at me and he did it four times," she told AP. "I'm not a doctor, but as far as I know, a grunt is a noise that comes out of one's body that is loud and is intimidating."
The two apparently got into an argument and Palazzolo said he cursed, screamed and generally got irate. He denied it and is asking for an apology. Nevertheless, the police were called, and he was escorted out.
"It's an embarrassing situation to be in, over a grunt," Argibay told the news service.
Planet Fitness noted that although this case is getting a lot of attention, it's not the first: Across its locations nationwide, there is at least one expulsion every two weeks, Mike Grondahl, CEO of Planet Fitness, told AP. He said grunting and dropping weights are the most common offenses.
The chain is so intent on creating safe and non-intimidating gyms that its home page at www.planetfitness.com notes it is "the judgment-free zone."
At Topix.net, the event has set loose a lot of opinions in a forum about grunting. Yes, grunting! People must have time to kill. You'd think it would be women who would be anti-grunt (maybe that's stereotyping, but women don't really grunt while lifting weights). But not so. In fact, at the forum (click here to see the entries), there are men who are logging in as on the anti-grunt side too.
"I have heard these guys in the gym. They are such geeks," wrote one man. "Just trying to bring attention to themselves probably because they don't get it anywhere else. You shouldn't have to hear these pea brains making noises when you are trying to workout. It's annoying. But to ban them? I don't know if that is going a little too far."
In general, though, most think this is a lot of falderal over something pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.
"It's the end of the world," wrote another. "Run. Oh my. Someone grunted."