With the advent of the internet age, exercisers can now queue up their favorite TV shows on smart devices—or even some of the equipment in the gym. Thanks to innovations like Precor’s Preva, those TV programs can now be right in front of them. The personal viewing screen allows users to see their gains in real time and gives them access to web-based TV shows on demand.
Watching a TV show can be a nice distraction, way to catch up on those shows you’ve missed, and help pass the time on exercise equipment. Believe it or not, the choice (or style) of entertainment you choose can have a direct effect on your mental state and so impact your workout.
Like music, what you watch can trigger responses that can fuel or foil an exerciser. So what should you watch?
Seems like a no-brainer, really. But seeing what others look like as a result of exercise (or conversely not exercising) can act as real motivation. You might see yourself in some of those shows or aspire to be more like some of those sunbaked bodies wrapped in tight-fitting exercise gear.
Of course, you can skip the gym and turn on Body by Jake or Bodies in Motion, but if you’re in a fitness facility, you’ll probably be the star of your own exercise regimen or be paying an instructor in a class setting.
Some Exercise TV Show suggestions
American Ninja Warrior—Ok, so its not an exercise show per se, but what these individuals are doing and how they prepare to do should add a little get-up-and-go to your workout. These are ordinary folks accomplishing extraordinary feats. You can too.
The Biggest Loser—It is proof that hard work, exercise, and a proper diet can have a metamorphic effect on an exerciser. It is a good motivational tool. Plus there is a nice “feel good factor” associated with it.
Naked and Afraid—Not an exercise show per se, however, it does involve survival. And the body transformation is pretty interesting, too.
Fit For Fashion—Coz who doesn’t like a fashion shoot and physical challenge mash up?. Kills two “get fit” motivational tools with one stone.
Cardio Exercise Equipment Pairing for Exercise Shows:
Treadmill—Go with the treadmill on this one. Without commercials, you can get in a good 45-minute brisk walk or solid run.
Guilty Pleasure Show
Another good way to get the heart rate up (well, further up), is throwing on a show with one of your “fave” actors or actresses. There is no shame in leaning on a little physical attraction to pick you up. The idea of “bettering” yourself to seem more desirable is one of the more primal motivations for exercisers. And it works, too.
Warning: You are in a Not Suitable For Work (or Workout) environment. Keep that in mind when you press play. Think mainstream media 7-9pm time slot. TBS if you’re feeling spicy.
Some Guilty Pleasure TV Show Suggestions:
Blindspot (NBC)—Intrigue. Yup. Intrigue.
NCIS (CBS)—Any of them. The intrigue is amazing.
Scandal (ABC)—It’s kinda in the name. Intrigue. Top notch intrigue.
Cardio Exercise Equipment Pairing for Guilty Pleasure Shows:
Precor Adaptive Motion Trainer—when that “intrigue” pops up on the screen you will need the capacity to be able to readjust to that activity that allows you to express yourself and your appreciation in exercise terms.
Laughter can be a good tonic when you’re pushing through the pain threshold. Caution: a belly laugh can throw you off your cadence and breathing rhythm though.
Some Funny Shows to Consider
Ridiculousness (MTV)—Misery loves company and nothing takes away your pain quite as much watching other people’s (usually self-inflicted) pain. Helpful when the lactic acid is building up.
Blackish (ABC)—It’s just funny. There are many shows like it, but none exactly like it.
Cardio Exercise Equipment Pairing for Funny Shows:
Stationary Bike—If you are going to bust a gut, it’s probably best that you minimize the potential for falling off anything or missing a step and getting fired off the back of something.
We are motivated by food. We can’t help it. It’s hardwired into our lizard brains. However, we evolved enough to know that eating too much is one of the reasons that we are beholden to exercising.
Watching a show about food preparation can act as an elliptical (or treadmillian) motivation. It will either stimulate an appetite (think donkey following a carrot on a string) or create a frenzy of calorie-busting activity with the thought of all those calories you’ll be taking in.
Some Cooking Shows to Consider
Iron Chef (Food Network)—Food and the competitive juices flowing at the same time. You will have to go back into the archives to find some of the original episodes, but it is a great way to boost the adrenaline and the salivation thresholds.
Rachael Ray (Food Network)—It’s hard not to have a soft spot for her earnestness and tasty recipes. Plus she has some pretty cool guests.
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (Food Network)—Although Guy Fieri toes the line of being in the Silly Show category, the show is about travel and stick-to-your-ribs eats—some of which you will need to burn calories simply having looked at.
Cardio Exercise Equipment Pairing for Cooking Shows:
Recumbent bike—You need slow and steady to be able to appreciate the ingredients and final product presentation. Also, you might need to be sitting down for some of the masterpieces that come out.
Think mindless. But mindless in an extremely irritating way. It’s like wrapping a bad day in the office around a conversation with your nosey neighbor and a spat with your sibling into one blanket and sticking it up on a screen. A good ol’ session at the gym will help you get rid of the frustration that is playing out as you watch.
Some Silly TV Show suggestions
Big Brother (CBS)—Coz, well, each of the contestants is annoying. Annoying leads to increased exercise output≥
The Real World (MTV)—Annoying real people since 1992. No. Just, no. Let’s face it, if most of us were stuck in a house with these people there would be waaaaay more fist fights.
Cardio Exercise Equipment Pairing for Silly Shows:
Elliptical—It has to be the elliptical. When Becky’s overt (but inept) power play to get Chaz away from Chloe gets too much to bear, you can pump away on the handles in sheer frustration. The treadmill can’t give you that.
Music and Exercise
If TV shows aren’t your thing, there is always music. Sometimes your fitness facility will get it just right. But it might only be for three minutes. The next song is one that makes you want to burst your own ear drums. It can throw you off your rhythm.
There are playlists for playlists when it comes to the Top (add number here) of songs to use in the gym. Fitness facilities will get as close to a balance as possible. Some may even have the capacity to pump different types of music into different rooms.
Let’s be frank here, it’s about personal preference. If Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony gets you motivated, then who is anyone to tell you are off your rocker? Plus, it’s more than likely that you will have your headphones on anyway.
The question of what is the best type of music to workout to? was posed to Men’s Fitness. The answer was similar to what we surmised from personal experience. It’s whatever floats your musical boat.
However, there is some science behind music’s impact on a workout. It appears that music with a beat count of 130-140 beats per minute is a good measure to aim for when you want to kick the workout up a notch. A 90-115 bpm is great for lower-impact exercises.
The rule of thumb is the more intense the workout, the higher the bpm (and tempo) should be. And the opposite is true. If you are engaged in activity that is less strenuous or lower impact, the lower the bpm should be. Also, it can be more melodic with few or no words.
This article from Insight breaks down the music per exercise type.
Playlists can even be tailored to mirror the different aspects of an Interval training session. Song selection can be chosen according to the different genres and beats-per-minute count that best suit the exercises on the workout.