Televisions And Magazines Have No Place In A Real Gym Whilst Loud Music May


Hi folks,

Reading and TV at the gym

View from the elliptical trainer – do you really think that you are experiencing your workout?

I was with my son and great athlete, Nigel, at a recent Ironman race, when out of the blue he said, “You know, Dad, I think that most people hate working out.” I thought about this for a while, remembering that one of my friends said to me a while ago, with lots of ‘venom’ in his voice, “I hate exercise!” I found these two statements interesting, and I got to wondering whether Nigel was correct. I came to the conclusion that most people who say that they hate exercise have never really experienced exercise. They might go through the motions, whilst doing anything they can think of to distract themselves from the experience, such as reading magazines or books, watching television, or listening to loud music on their headphones. These distractions prevent their actually experiencing the workout. They ‘know’ that they don’t like exercise (conditioned reflex!), so they try to think about something else instead, leaving the gym convinced that exercise is a horrible experience, but feeling that they have done their duty to their body. In reality, they created the illusion of exercise, which may be worse than no exercise as no improvement will occur.

This is what you should see whilst using an elliptical trainer – it’s a bit fuzzy because I had to pedal, or it turned itself off, whilst balancing and operating my camera (iPhone).

My friend who ‘hates exercise’ will tell me about articles he has read whilst on an exercise bike at the gym. When I suggest that this isn’t really working out, it’s going through the motions, he becomes very defensive and tells me how he set the wattage at some level or other and pedaled for such and such an amount of time. I don’t buy it, sorry! This isn’t working out, it’s reading a magazine. I suspect that he doesn’t know if he likes exercise or not.

Try turning off the TV (which has no place in a gym, anyway), get rid of the magazine, take off the headphones, and listen to your body. You can gain a great deal of pleasure from exercise if you listen inside, plus you will be on the road to a real program of safe exercise for better health. A win-win situation.

Think about it! Do these people have to distract themselves whilst eating a delicious meal? Bet they don’t. They just chow down and become weak and lazy, which is a terrible waste of life.

-k @FitOldDog

PS When does music have a place in the gym? In my opinion, the best weight lifting facilities are hot, sweaty, and have great music for lifting to, so you are all in there together, working out, and not in your isolated headphone-land world – some may object, but that’s my opinion having spent thousands of hours in weight rooms over the years, with and without headphones. It’s a social experience where you help each other to overcome the challenges of gravity (which I am sure varies from day to day!). I certainly wouldn’t want my spotter to wearing headphones or glancing at a television.



  1. I’ve been skimming a few fitness blogs and I don’t think you all realize something. Some people REALLY aren’t interested in hard core working out. And every blogger seems baffled by this. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!” Just because people want to read or take a leisurely stroll while listening to jazz doesn’t mean we’re all sitting around smoking butter and sneaking pizza rolls everywhere.
    And exercising is just NOT FUN for A LOT of people. It’s not that it’s never been done properly. It’s the fact that not all brain chemistry is the same and people have different priorities in life.
    I’m sure there are plenty of things that you’re not interested in that others would see as fundamental to a successful life.

  2. Hi Vee, thanks so much for your comment. I love it when different points of view appear. I guess I’m biased by two things, when it comes to this article, those being the fact that I can’t stand TV and I love to workout. I guess I’m motivated in part to write many of my workout articles because I discovered my abdominal aortic aneurysm as result of an Ironman race. I sure as eggs would be dead otherwise. But what really motivates me is the fact that people who want to train after dangerous surgery, often aortic, and want to get back to exercise, ask my advice. Having been there I understand. Furthermore, being 70 this year I’ve noticed that some of my friends (not all) who are not dead walk like old people. Having lost a lot of muscle mass, and they are already having trouble just walking healthily. I do love to read and walk, and Deb (my partner) complains that I walk too slow. I find I can cogitate better that way. Your thoughts are very much in line with those of The Primal BluePrint, as Mark thinks that excessive exercise is not a good thing for one’s health.
    Are you interested in writing an alternative opinion blog post. One always learns from others if one listens, and learning to do that has taken me much of my life. Much to my benefit, I must add.
    Once again, thanks for your comment. It’s much appreciated.
    Kind Regards, and have fun in your way, which is really the only way to go.
    Kevin aka FitOldDog (some just say Old Fart!)

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.