Podcasts versus Music (On the Elliptical)

When I started getting my sorry ass up at 6:00 am to work out on the elliptical, I filled my Nano with podcasts. I liked putting on something that woke up my brain while I was using the elliptical to wake up my body. Well, this morning, I’d run through my available podcasts and was too lazy to download a new one to the Nano, so I put on a music playlist and started working out.

And I’ll be honest: with the exception of the FIRST day I did it (by it I mean waking up at six am, getting on the elliptical for 20 minutes, and feeling my body go OMG-WTF-WHY?!?!?!?!), this is the hardest workout I’ve had. I mean that in a good way: I didn’t feel sick or tired after, but I definitely worked up more of a sweat than usual, and my pores still felt like sweating even after I showered and dried off. Definitely got my heart-rate up, which is the whole point of exercise, right?

Which makes me realize that while I like stimulating my brain first thing in the morning, music may be the way to go. 2-3 minute songs also make the 30 minutes on the machine go by faster, especially since my pace is more determined by whatever beat I’m listening to.

For those of you wondering what I’m listening to, here’s the breakdown:


This American Life
The Dr. Drew Podcast
Star Talk Radio with Neil deGrasse Tyson
Writing Excuses


Okay, don’t laugh: I have a playlist full of the post-Idol albums of American Idol contestants. Not all of them, of course, because that would be insane, and for those of you starting to question my tastes, I haven’t watched that show in a while (and if you’re still on board with that show, more power to you!). Still, some great voices have come out of that show, which leads to some enjoyable songs, and it’s really fun to put those albums on shuffle and see what pops up, especially since I’ve got a solid mix of rock, pop, and singer/songwriter folk stuff. Adam Lambert is especially fun to work out to. 🙂 So today’s shuffled playlist included the following artists in alphabetical order (first name):

Adam Lambert
Allison Iraheta
Blake Lewis
Brooke White
Crystal Bowersox
David Cook
Haley Reinhart
Jack and White (a duo which includes Brooke White)
James Durbin
Kelly Clarkson
Kimberly Caldwell
Kris Allen
Lee Dewyze
Phillip Phillips
We are the Fallen (a group which includes Carly Smithson)

And that’s that. I suspect I’ll be sticking with music for the mornings, and maybe listen to podcasts while I walk because keeping up my heart-rate isn’t quite as important as distance in those cases (it isn’t in my book), but we’ll see.

What do you listen to when you exercise, or do you forgo listening to anything entirely?

15 thoughts on “Podcasts versus Music (On the Elliptical)

  1. Wow. I only recognize three people in that list. Contemporary American music is clearly my kryptonite

    To be honest, I usually just stick with whatever will keep me on the bike. Yesterday, I read from an ebook. The day before, I watched youtube videos. Sometimes I do music or podcasts instead.


    1. Well, these are people who got deals because of their exposure on American Idol. If you don’t keep up with Idol, it’s HIGHLY likely you’ve never even heard of them. 🙂


  2. What I listen to while I work out depends on what I am doing and where I am doing it. I don’t listen to my headphones when I’m lifting, for example–that’s a recipe for disaster. I also lift at home but do cardio at a gym. So at home, I tend to watch Chopped or some other Food Network competition show while I lift–though it’s probably more accurate to say “that’s what’s on in the background.” At the gym, I will either 1. watch the food network, 2. watch Bravo, or 3. listen to music while I do my cardio. My favorite cardio accompaniment is Tabitha Takes Over–I’ll be on a machine in front of the Bravo TV if that’s on. Otherwise, I only watch Food Network if Alton Brown or a competition show is on. If not that, it’s music, and since my musical tastes wander all over the place, you’ll see a weird mix of uptempo things. Like, yesterday, I ended up listening to Florence and the Machine, Lady Gaga, Adele, Psy, Pink, Bonnie Tyler, BT, and Daft Punk off the top of my head, but there’s everything from Kayne West to Delerium on my gym list and things get dropped on and off as I either get bored of them or find something new to listen to that’s fast enough for me to want to work out to it.


    1. Just to add, podcasts just don’t do it for me. I LIKE podcasts and I listen to them a lot, but while working out? It just doesn’t work for me, my pace ends up lagging and I end up staring at the clock going “When can I get off this stupid thing”. I don’t know why TV works better, but it does.


      1. I found that same problem with podcasts. Unless I knew the podcasts were super-short (Writing Excuses is 15-20 minutes long), my brain was like, “When will this be OVER?!?!?!”


    2. I used to watch television shows while doing the elliptical, but I found that I would slow down to pay attention to what was happening on tv, which sort of defeats the purpose of the workout. 🙂


      1. A lot of people say that and a lot of exercise experts would tell you NOT to watch TV for that reaosn. I don’t know why it works okay for me. It’s probably because I don’t much watch TV, except when I turn it on because I need low level background noise or something I’m only kind of vaguely interested in to listen to while I do something else (like clean the house, or work on a project). We didn’t have cable at all for the first year we were married and I didn’t miss it. I also can time intervals to the TV and either have “show” be “high effort” and commercials be “low effort” or vise versa, and that’s nice and a bit harder to do with a music playlist.


  3. I don’t work out. It’s not because I’m lazy (even though I am, lol), but I have so many health problems that it’s hard to find a day when I feel well enough to work out. I think the largest barrier is the joint pain and stiffness I get from my Crohn’s Disease, which sometimes makes it a bit painful to walk, let alone exercise, especially in the morning (and I’ve always been a Night Owl in any case).

    It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg situation, because I know I’d feel better if I would exercise, but I can’t exercise until I feel better, and so it goes.

    I used to swim a lot as a child, and I’d love to get back into that–unfortunately, there aren’t many good/convenient places to swim around here, and self-consciousness about being seen in a swimsuit also poses a barrier :P.

    I do listen to music a lot in the car, as I tend to do a lot of driving. Mostly it’s classic rock, although I also enjoy movie soundtracks and the occasional pop artist. I’m particularly fond of the newer group, “Fun”–I tend to listen to them ad nauseum.


      1. Well, let’s see, the ones I listen to the most would be “Harry Potter” (can’t go wrong with John Williams) and “Pirates of the Caribbean”–in fact, I saw the first “Pirates” movie something like three times in the theater JUST for the music (and Johnny Depp, but mostly the music 😉 ).

        I also listen to the “Riverdance” soundtrack a lot, probably a lot more than the other two, but it’s a stage show, not a movie.

        I also have the soundtrack to “Phantom of the Opera” somewhere, but it’s MIA at the moment.

        I feel like I should also say, for me, liking the soundtrack to a movie has nothing to do with liking the movie. Although I do like the first “Pirates” movie.


        1. I was a soundtrack WHORE back in the day. Not so much anymore, but I don’t get soundtracks to movies I haven’t seen (or if I did, it was a very rare thing). My favorites from back in the day: all the scores to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hours, Les Miserables (the movie adaptation with Liam Nieson) come to the top of my mind. Oh! And The Last Samari and King Arthur. I enjoyed Pirates of the Carribean and the Harry Potter stuff very much too.

          More recently, I’m in love with the score to Moon. I also love downloading scores from television shows, like Fringe and Game of Thrones.


          1. Oh, I really love “Lord of the Rings” as well, although I haven’t listened to it in awhile.

            I would love a soundtrack to “Grimm”–the music is perfect for the show and really enhances the mood.


  4. I used to exercise in silence, back before I had kids and before the elliptical died a sad and pathetic death… Now I eat Cheez-Its in silence, which is a lot more enjoyable but alas not doing anything for my figure 😦

    My husband tried P90X last summer. Just listening from another room convinced me I will never be able to work out along a DVD, because the urge to strangle the trainer on the screen will be too overwhelming 😛


    1. I hear that P90X is a special kind of hell. I had some friends try it and they couldn’t keep up with it. It demands an hour of your life EVERY DAY. Nope! Not gonna!


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