iPod for the Gym


An iPod for the gym

There are certainly quite a few different iPods out there now – Apple have come a very long way from the initial iPod with a whole family of devices today. I’m the proud owner of a 5g iPod video at the moment – I think it’s fantastic. The only downside is that sometimes it can be a little big. I know that might sound quite picky (let’s face it, it’s 30gb of music and video in your pocket!) but when you’re at the gym it can be a little too clumbersome. The question is, which of the new iPods around today is most appropriate for use at the gym/going for a run?

There seem to be two options really, you could either opt for an iPod nano or an iPod shuffle….

The iPod shuffle
It’s tiny. There’s not a great deal else to say! The iPod shuffle is the perfect size for the gym as you can literally clip it on to your arm or t-shirt and completely forget about it. That can be a real relief, allowing you to focus on the workout rather than worrying about your headphones being dragged from your ears every thirty seconds or so. However there are also certainly downsides. The shuffle only stretches to 1gb in size, which means you might find yourself limited in terms of music vareity – it might be perfect for a workout, but it is lacking in terms of practicality when wanting to use it in other scenarios (a trip away for instance).

The iPod nano
The new iPod nano is a vast improvement over it’s older predecessor. It doesn’t scratch as easily, it’s (ever so slightly) smaller, and Apple have brought back the great colour variations. It also comes in much larger sizes than the shuffle, and has a screen to boot. In terms of features to price, the iPod nano wins hands down. But all that doesn’t show how well it compares at the gym. It’s certainly larger than the shuffle, making it once again noticable during your workout – however that can usually be solved with the addition of an armband style accessory.

It also has one more killer feature…

iPod Nike Sports Kit

The Nike + iPod sport kit makes the iPod nano a much more usable contender than the shuffle, in that not only will it provide bouncy, pounding music whilst you’re at the gym. You can also take it on the road… Using the Nike kit allows your iPod to monitor how fast, how long and how well you are running, and all those stats can be stored and compared back at your computer at home. It’s a great training tool which is unique to the iPod nano (a shame really, as I would love one for my 5g iPod video).

It’s certainly a tricky decision. On the one hand you have the iPod shuffle, a tiny device perfect for tune-ing up your workout. On the other hand, an (slightly clumsier) iPod nano with a larger capacity, screen and the possibility of hooking it up to a Nike sports kit. Personally, I think it’s wise to opt for the nano. Not only will it perform well for your workout, but it’s a much more functional general use iPod than the shuffle which you might find limiting over time. The decision’s up to you… Enjoy your run!


Mary Mitchell

So what is it that we are supposed to use at the gym? These cutesy little squares? How? It doesn’t hook onto to anything I wear. You can’t wear it around your neck. Wrist bands are too huge for a woman?

So, you know what, I took it back. mI’ll just do without music.

Apple is really stupid to get rid of the sleek iPod Nano, which worked just fine for me–and for whoever stole mine.


I am looking for an ipod for my boyfriend as a b-day gift, so I only need about 1 hour at the least of music, workout music, but I have no idea what to get. Any ideas? Also, my budget is limited right now.



Mike C

Who says you don’t need the video function for workouts?? I pretty much hate doing cardio — step machines and so on — but now I have JACKASS and a bunch of other vids to watch, I now do about an hour of cardio a day.

But who at Apple is the design genius who put the earphone jack on the bottom of the G3 Nano? Or did they think that people would enjoy watching videos at a 45 degree angle? (the earphone jack on the bottom makes it impossible for the nano to sit level on a flat surface.) So I’m in a bit of a love-hate relationship with my G3 at the moment.

Amanda H

I just got an 4GB nano, I love it! It is great for the gym when you have an arm band. The best part is that I never have to buy a CD again! haha I love it if I want a new song that I dont have just go to iTunes and get it for .99 cents. It has been an awesome investment. It will also save you a lot over time. iPod: $210 w/tax, arm band: $25, FM transmitter :$20, grand total: $255 plus new music, so yeah your going to save a lot! Not only that but you never will have to mess with a CD player again or changing CDs. I give it two thumbs up! :)


Dave T., you are correct that the second generation iPod shuffle has no hold switch, but you can hold the buttons by pressing the play/pause button and holding it for 3 seconds. A light should flash on top. The ipod will ignore all buttons that are pressed until you hold play/pause again.

Dave T.

I had some tivo reward zone points i needed to burn so i got a shuffle. I figured that it would be perfect for when i got riding (mountain bike) at the local skate park. It’s small, durable, and cheap so landing on it or smashing it on the ground wouldn’t kill me. Well i quickly learned that the shuffle doesn’t have a HOLD function/button like other ipods. So you may hit the buttons and pause/stop it or advance the song…
now i can’t complain since it was free but i’d get the lowest end nano if i was you, it should be perfect.

Chris Stevens

It is not a hard choice at all, get the Nano. I have a 60GB G5 with video for home, an 8GB black nano G2 and a G1 shuffle. I have nike+ iPod kit and it is the best way to run, especially if you download the iTunes for nike playlists. I can run twice as long using the kit as it motivates you, the music is just fantastic for running and it is fun to chart your workouts. Don’t bother with a shuffle, sure they are light but so are nanos and you can’t use Nike+ kit.

A word of warning on the nike+ trainers though, i have the ones in the picture above and they give me dreadful blisters on my instep. I wish i had not wasted the money on them- nike don’t make good running shoes.


I have all three (well, if you count the 60GB photo on my desk as a big iPod, which it is), they each serve their purpose.

Personally I find the shuffle great for the gym (and also for getting to/from work when I forget to charge the nano) – perfect size, easy to control without looking at it, and lets face it: if I ever drop a weight on it, well boohoo it’s the cheapest iPod of the bunch.


Actually, I go for the nano. The iPod is too big, the Shuffle is too small. The nano is just right.

Since workouts are accompanied by music, not video, the missing video in the nano isn’t a big deal. Also, if you run, you don’t have to worry about the hard drive getting messed up from the pounding. 4GB holds a respectable amount of music, so you don’t have to play around with playlists every time you want to have music on the go. And I barely feel the nano on my arm, versus an iPod.

I don’t run–I bike. And the nano has definitely been my friend for two-or-three hour rides.


I give the Nano a nod for having the screen and being able to organize and play multiple playlists. This is key for me depending on what type of run – fast 5k or slower distance and I’ll know I’ll need some key song strategically placed later in the run etc.

With the shuffle you’re playing the same single playlist and it gets stale unless you’re manually updating/changing.

Even though the selection for sleeves with clips is slim, the one from (from Countour) I own works very well clipped to my shorts waist band while I run etc. I don’t realize it’s there and is easily accesses for song skipping or volume change.


I’m with Tim.
We have the 30gb video iPod for home/car/train/travel and the old pack-of-gum (it seems huge now) Shuffle for workouts.

I got an arm band for the 30gb and it is just annoying…not to mention $30 wasted.

Frankly, I think the screen on the nano is useless (yes…I need glasses, what are you implying?…).

Tim Hettler

My current set-up is having the smallest Nano available for working out almost exclusively for the Nike+ feature. (I’m training for a marathon and 2gb is PLENTY of music.) I also have a 30gb iPod to carry my collection with me and watch videos on the subway.

It’s not the most cost-effective plan, but if you’ve got the cash I recommend it.

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