A poll: audio habits while exercising

I’ve been wanting to ask this for a while, and truthfully, I also just wanted to try out this “poll” feature in WordPress. lol!! (Sorry if it doesn’t actually work or something- first time.)

Here is my burning question of the day:

I’ve been mulling this topic over for a long time now.

When I used to run a lot, years ago, I always listened to music.

Then when I started lifting weights, I stopped, because I found the headphone cords to be a bother in the weight room. (Obviously this was pre Airpod times.) The weight room usually played some decent classic rock over the speakers, so I would just listen to that in the background. I kind of liked having my “ears free” anyway, to say hello to people or just be able to hear if someone asked me something, etc.

But lately the weight room music has been spotty. Sometimes it just seems to be completely turned off. So, then it’s totally silent in there. Which is kind of awkward.

I started using my Airpods to play my own music, but then I noticed something interesting. I found that at times, I would almost get distracted by the music! Like I’d be doing some reps, but instead of really focusing on the mind/muscle connection, I’d be singing along in my head or something. When you strength train, it really does make a difference to actually make the effort to picture the muscle working, or actively squeeze it as you work it. Try it sometime; I swear, your workout can feel totally different if you really focus on it versus just sort of going through the motions.

So, I decided to stop listening to music for a while, in an attempt to give my exercise my full attention. Shortly after, I ran into a guy I know (who popped his earbuds out to say hello), and he actually asked me, “Wait, do you work out with no music on?” (He must have noticed I had nothing in my ears.) Haha. He seemed amazed by this.

But…. then I started feeling a little bored, especially when just sitting there in silence, resting between sets. (Side note, but I’m also currently trying to break the habit of grabbing for my phone after each set. I mean, seriously. I can’t just sit there and rest for 30-60 seconds, un-entertained?!)

So I decided to try podcasts. (I’m talking about in the weight room- podcasts are a no-brainer YES when I’m just out walking.) I’m currently on the fence about this. It’s sort of the same issue as the music- maybe worse, because I can find I either start tuning out the podcast (and end up having to back it up/ “hang on, what did she just say?”), or I lose some focus on my workout. What can I say. I guess I’m a terrible multi-tasker?

Currently, I’m kind of going day by day. I think I need the most focus for lower body workouts (so twice a week). Upper body days are just a bit less taxing for me, so I feel like podcasts are fine. That being said….. some days I just feel like music. There is something about cranking out some tough reps with Thunderstruck blaring in your ears that just…. makes you feel badass. 😉

What do you think? Try to answer the poll above, and let’s hope it works. 😆

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful that both boys now have desks! Totally unrelated to this post, but here is a pic of Ethan doing some homework last night at his new desk, looking very “teenagery” to me….

15 thoughts on “A poll: audio habits while exercising”

  1. What an interesting topic and the poll results are interesting so far! I ALWAYS listen to something. I mean, I almost always listen to something if I’m exercising, cleaning house, or walking the dog. But it really depends on the exercise. I listen to podcasts if I’m lifting, but if I’m running I listen to music. I guess the only time I’m really in silence is yoga and that seems like a different thing altogether. I cannot imagine being in a gym without something in my ears!!


  2. I have been so lost since my running group disbanded in ’18 due to member movies. How do I get any advice or catch up? So, still really digging Peloton Digital. I don’t have to pick the playlist, I have my favorite trainers, and it keeps track of my workouts.

    Still also enjoying BodyPump, where I never pick the playlist, either!


    1. Agree that a class format generally takes the question of music or not out of the question! Sometimes when I’ve done Beachbody, I find I might not really love the music, but it’s fine…. obviously in those cases, I’m more listening to the instructor talking, anyway. 🙂


  3. I used to ALWAYS be listening to something, usually music. Then I started listening to podcasts. Now if I’m running outside I usually run silent (it feels safer and it’s just less stuff to cart around). If I run on the treadmill I listen to a podcast (our treadmill has a squeak that I have tried to fix a million ways and it drives me CRAZY, so I have to put my Airpods on noise cancellation and listen to something).
    I used to listen to podcasts while I did chores around the house, but I’ve largely stopped. I’m not sure why? I start and stop things as I fit chores in and around my paid work (also done from home)…and it just started feeling like a nuisance to listen to something for 10 minutes and then shut it all.

    Also, the poll worked great! What a fun idea, and I’ve loved seeing the range of responses. And great categories, too, by the way. You really covered all the bases!


    1. I like to listen to podcasts when I’m doing chores around the house, too, but only if say, most of my family isn’t home. I don’t like getting interrupted by someone asking me questions, etc. My biggest podcast time at home is when I get out of the shower and am getting dressed, putting make up on, etc. Otherwise, it’s mostly walks, or occasionally car time, but I’m not alone in the car too often anymore.


  4. It really varies for me! A lot of my runs are with my neighbor so I am obviously not listening to anything! When I run alone, I do listen to podcast so I can ‘maximize’ the time. A lot of my strength training workouts are on beach body so it’s not possible to listen to music or anything. I miss the house DJ from MM. I’m doing LIIFT4 now and there is no music and I miss it! Very occasionally I will do workouts I have save from past programs I purchased. And when I do those, I listen to pop/upbeat music.


  5. i used to run only with podcast, but then I realize that it distracts me a bit, especially when I’m doing a hard running workout. then one day, i forgot my airpod and just run 8 miles without nothing. I realized I was very entertained with my own thoughts and the space between them, so it was actually a happy accident. If I do listen, i’d listen to calming/slow music as it soothes me, instead of causing me stress. For the race, i didn’t listen to anything because it’s technically not allowed but still many do, and honestly i thought it was better because then I was focused and tuned in with my body and sensations, super helpful to pace for a marathon.
    Overall, I think i prefer not listening to anything now when running. when walking maybe I’d listen to podcast when I feel like.


    1. I used to love listening to real “pump you up” type music while I ran. Now I feel just sort of out of touch with music and I never buy it, don’t have Spotify, etc. Back when I ran I would make playlists and stuff, but haven’t done that in years. It was allowed to listen to music during the marathon I ran, and I feel like it really helped me a lot to stay motivated! 4+ hours with nothing sounds a little hard to me, so I would definitely need to practice that if I had a no-music race coming up. It is a nice way to clear your mind though for sure. I try to even leave my headphones off at least once a week when I go for a walk. Otherwise it’s so easy to get so into what you’re listening to that you barely even notice what is around you sometimes- like the pretty leaves, or a nice day.


  6. I love those stripes on Ethan’s walls. I exercise to music if I’m doing cardio. But if I am going for a walk, I usually don’t- mainly so that I am aware of the surroundings


    1. Yes, I forgot to specifically mention too- if I’m doing cardio, like on a cardio machine at the gym (ellipitical, stairmill, bike, etc.) I will usually definitely listen to music. I am not a big cardio fan and some energetic music helps to motivate me to keep moving. I think listening to a podcast during that type of exercise wouldn’t work for me.


  7. I answered the poll with “music” but now I feel like I have to clarify. I listen to music when I’m doing cardio – running or elliptical, and I choose my peloton rides based on the music they play. I am very motivated by music. But! If I’m walking or strength training, then I listen to podcasts. So now I feel like I need to change my poll. It’s both!


    1. Haha, that’s ok! 😉 I think I’m basically the same as you, really. I hadn’t mentioned traditional cardio like on a machine- that is definitely a music situation for me. Walking usually always = podcasts or nothing, but strength training has been the wild card lately for me! Can be nothing, music OR podcast, depending!


  8. I think I might be one of the only people in the world who is NOT into podcasts, at all. I have occasionally listened to a podcast on a long car ride and maybe once or twice on a long run, but I much prefer music or silence.


  9. I chose “listen to something” because cardio = streaming radio that is then later turned into a podcast, so… straddles some kind of line? Not so much music, though. Podcasts are where I go (unlike San!).
    But I also do boring cardio where I don’t get distracted, so there’s that. 🙂


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