By Mike Martin1. Music (All Models)
The Apple iPod is an incredible device. Unbelievably sleek, shockingly stylish and constantly increasing in storage space and capabilities, the iPod has taken pop culture by storm in the past 8 years since its inception in 2001. As the popularity of the iPod has grown, so have its capabilities. As a result it has become an increasingly important part of our lives and people are always looking for new and innovative ways to use their iPod devices in their daily lives.
Athletes, are no different. In fact, athletes, and more specifically, motocross riders, may be some of the biggest users of the iPod devices. They help keep us motivated, organized and can teach us new ways to workout. In case you’re not already using your iPod in your active lifestyle, here are seven ways to integrate your iPod into an active lifestyle.
The iPod and iTunes pair is incredible at managing your music, but the music itself adds a whole new dimension to workouts. The catchy and fast moving tunes help keep you motivated at the end of a long workout. The last thing I, or any of the athletes I know, want to be thinking about at the end of a 2 mile climb on their road bike is the pain and the burn of the lactic acid in their quads. Music helps to keep your mind off of the pain and on the uplifting emotions as you crest the top of a long climb. As a result, listening to music on your iPod can be infinitely useful whether you are out on a quick evening jog or in the middle of a 4-hour trek through the back roads on New England on your road bike.
The default iPod music functionality is great, however, manually selecting a song or a band can get monotonous and downright annoying after a while. This is where playlists come in. Playlists allow you to manually or automatically set up a list of songs to play on your iPod. This allows you to select a list of predetermined songs and listen to them throughout your workout without worrying about changing the artist.3. Music-Infused Headwear (Nano or Shuffle)
However, not all playlists are created equally. Apple has split playlists into 3 main types: manual, smart, and genius. Each kind serves their own purpose and work equally well in their domain.
One of the most annoying parts about using an iPod while running, or cycling is actually finding a place to put the device. It is a little easier while cycling because cyclist have the luxury of using the back pockets of their jerseys. However, for runners, carrying an iPod around can get very cumbersome. Especially when the headphone wires begin to get caught up in your arms as you run.4. Better Headphones (All Models)
That is where iThreeSixty “Music Infused Headwear” comes in. iThreeSixty is a relatively new start-up producing very innovative headwear specifically built to hold your iPod. They feature a pouch which you place your iPod in and it has an internal wiring structure linked to headphones built right into the headwear. The system is great if you’re trying to clean up you’re running attire and would rather not worry about wires and headphones falling out of your ears. Currently, iThreeSixty offers only a headband , however, they have beanies and hat beanies coming soon. Want to see the iThreeSixty in action? Check out Steve Runner from Runcast.tv using his in the frigid New England winter.
That being said, there are a few headphone options which I believe stand out form the crowd. These include:
All of these headphones feature metal bodies and in-ear, sound isolating construction. This means that they will be able to survive the bumps bruises that they will almost certainly encounter out on the road and that you will be able to listen to your music at a lower volume, which is always a good thing. Switching to some of the more advanced headphones on the market can make your experience while using your iPod to exercise 100% better.
“Naked,” the iPod is very slippery, hard to hold, and prone to damage. Unless you’re using something similar to the iThreeSixty headband, they can be a challenge to hold onto. This is where a quality exercise case comes in. While traditional cases are good, some cases even come with straps which allow you to attach the iPod to your arm. This allows you to forget about your iPod, but it keeps it in close proximity so that you can change the song, playlist, or volume at will. If the iThreeSixty products don’t fit into your lifestyle, then exercise cases are the best option.
Similar to headphones, there is a vast market for iPod cases. Some of them are great, while others are not so great. Here are some of my favorites:
Armband/Sport cases for your iPod are a great way to keep your iPod protected and out of the way while jogging, cycling, or hiking.
The Nike + iPod system is one of the most innovative 3rd party accessories for the iPod. It is a small dongle which you put in your shoe and it can track your runs through your iPod. In addition, it can link up to certain gym equipment and send the data to your iPod. Not only does this allow you iPod to send you small, yet informative audio messages regarding your workout through your headphones, but you can also sync it to your computer and upload the data to Nike’s servers where you can track your workout and compete with friends. Furthermore, the entire system costs only $30 (plus the cost of the iPod and compatible shoes).
If you love analyzing data, the tracking capabilities of the system are top notch, and the motivational messages it sends you at the beginning, middle and end of a run are perfect pick me ups when your really feeling the burn. You can glance at your iPod’s screen at any time during your run to view an array of data including time, distance, pace, and calories burned. The Nike + iPod kit is an incredible way to transform your iPod into a true exercise computer. The kit takes the iPod from a purely entertainment device to a full on information powerhouse.
Want to see a real life testimonial of how the Nike + iPod kit can transform your life? Check out popular technology blogger Paul Stamatiou's story: my Nike Ad. Apple’s iPod device has created a huge subculture of athletes who actively use the device to train day in and day out. Using the iPod during training helps keep your workouts fresh and exciting and motivates you to go for a run or a ride even on the toughest days. Hopefully these seven ways will help you to integrate your iPod into your training routine. Have further ideas for using your iPod while exercising? There are more of these articles coming, so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
That's it for now. Until next time, good luck with your training and remember, VT can always be found on the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum . In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section . Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.