Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Getting in Shape with Your iPod

The iPod is truly a revolutionary invention. Its genius is in that it didn't re-invent the wheel, it just made the wheel better. It took something we all were already using and made it easier to access, easier to use, more portable, more reliable, etc. Like it's predecessors the Walkman and the portable CD player this gadget initially designed for entertainment can be a valuable fitness tool.

The obvious use is as a light weight, compact, way to have your music, podcasts, or books on "tape" with you where ever you workout. Music in particular has been shown to help exercisers burn more calories in their cardio sessions and keep the intensity up in their weight training sessions. There's nothing like a great song with an energetic beat to inspire you to pick up the pace on your run or crank out a few more lunges.

Now, with the ample storage capacity and flexibility of what you store the fitness industry has found it's way onto the iPod. There are a number of companies that offer audio workouts that you download and take with you. You can take your workout to the gym, outside, or use it to workout at home. These iPod (actually any MP3 player will do) workouts are especially great when you're travelling.

The workouts may be set to music. Some are voiced by fitness celebrities. The great thing is that they tell you exactly what you need to do, which exercises, how many reps. The audio trainer will give you encouragement and tips on proper form as you go along.

This form of workout means that you do not have a visual reference in front of you as you do the exercises. So, when they say to do a lunge you kind of have to know what that means. Now they will typically give you some setup instructions but, they can only communicate so much verbally. You may find that you will want to do a trial run with the workouts, taking notes on the moves you're unsure of.

Companies that put out these audio workouts will likely provide online support where you can get an animation or a short video clip of the exercise being done properly. If they don't provide this resource then there are plenty of places you can find what you're looking for online. For example, my online personal training site provides this kind of visual demonstration of exercises as do most online personal training programs. In fact, you might discover that the audio workouts are a great add on to working with an online personal trainer.

One company which I'm familiar with is iTrain. They have sample audio clips so that you can try a few minutes of the workouts and see if this style of training is right for you. They offer a wide variety of cardio, strength training, yoga, pilates and more. This is one company that does provide video demonstrations so that you can get a visual on the exercises in your audio routines.

Again, iTrain is not the only company to offer MP3 workouts but, it's one I'm familiar with and a great place to start. You just might find that these workouts are the key to getting you out of a fitness rut and back on track to reaching your fitness goals.

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