Gym-tertainment: The worst TV shows to watch at the gym

Never ever watch The Doctors. Ever.

You made a New Year’s Resolution, and it’s probably that you want to get fit in 2014. Naturally, you’ve been finding yourself getting your workout on at the Nelly. This, then, must sound familiar: You’ve been working out for a solid period of time, and you’ve been watching a program that’s propelled you through your workout thus far. It may a football game, a newscast, an episode of Family Guy… whatever allows you to do you. But then it becomes 30 minutes past the hour—your program ends, only to be replaced by one that completely goes against your workout rhythm.

You may not really get what I mean when I say “rhythm”—while this rhythm may seem trivial in theory, it certainly matters in practice. Let me explain it to you by using a different, but equally important medium: music. You’re on the treadmill running to _[insert your favorite pump-up song here]_. You’re cruising at 6.5 mph—gliding, really—and you feel unstoppable. You turn the volume up a bit, just to pump yourself up a little bit more. You look at your iPhone to check what the next song in the cue is, but you accidentally press the “Shuffle Songs” button instead. In that moment, “My Immortal” by Evanescence comes on and blasts through your headphones with OH MY GOD MAKE IT STOP THE HORROR THE HORROR.

Makes you want to vomit everywhere, right? I stand firmly in my belief that “My Immortal” is the worst song ever produced by mankind, while “The Reason” by Hoobastank comes in at a close second.* But that’s not the point of this post—it’s to prove that a television program completely inappropriate for the gym is equally horrifying. While we understand that the types of shows you’ll be encountering at the gym will be contingent upon the time you choose to work out, that doesn’t change the fact that there’s something completely bizarre on TV at any given time of day. We rank (and rant about) TV programs that typically air on at the gym below:

BBC Nature Series: Mildly unacceptable; better for yoga.
I love butterflies and puppies and dolphins and pretty flowers as much as the next person. They make people happy in a warm-fuzzy way, and sure, they should. But the gym isn’t a place to explore nature (in slow-mo, no less): close-ups of water drops slowly trickling off leaves and creating ripple effects isn’t necessarily a sensory experience that will keep one’s energy up.

The History Channel’s “The History of Logging”: Like watching paint dry.
Sunday night around 7:00-8:00 p.m. is a busy time at the Nelson. Something that counteracts the intensity of the gym at this hour: close-ups of bark. Old, old tree bark with mold on it. And lumberjacks. The program isn’t necessarily offensive, but there are other things I’d rather be watching than logs on a conveyor belt. Some would argue that baseball is like watching paint dry, but at least there are good looking men wearing tight pants that make their butts look good (Derek Jeter).

Anti-Aging Skincare Infomercials: Completely irrelevant.
This is especially true if you frequent the gym during early morning hours on the weekends, or around mid-morning during the week, after Kathie Lee and Hoda are done drinking their wine. (An equally fun game to play at the gym: “How Drunk Is Kathie Lee Gifford Right Now?”) Thirty-minutes of close-ups of wrinkles and over-the-shoulder far-from-Duchenne smiles get old very quickly… even though they’re kind of fun to laugh at for the first two minutes. Regardless, these commercials are definitely reaching the wrong target audience.

The Food Network (with the exception of Chopped): Open for debate.
College students seem to be split on this one: on the one hand, watching food shows while working out seems counter-intuitive for obvious reasons (staying fit! being slim! burning calories!!!!). However, some would argue that food personalities—Ina Garten, Giada De Laurentiis, etc.—provide a welcome distraction from the boredom of running on the treadmill. Plus, the dishes look delicious and incentivize you to power through your workout. Chopped, though, is in a league of its own—the competition, improvisation, and sweat (both yours and the contestants’) are more entertaining than sports. Kind of.

The DoctorsCompletely and horribly unacceptable.
The Doctors airs around 4 p.m., which, back in the day, was right around the time you’d come home from school, eat a snack, sit on your couch and watch talk shows like Dr. Phil, The Tyra Show, and Ellen. The Doctors, however, is a whole different brand of crazy. I’m talking full disclosure from audience members about their boils on their thighs, cysts, and infected beauty marks. The worst part? The televised procedures. One fine afternoon, gym-goers witnessed the doctors literally whisking a woman from her seat to take a biopsy of a pesky growth on her lip that wouldn’t go away. They even used a laparoscopic camera to show the viewers what was inside the growth. You could see everyone become faint mid-workout. Unacceptable. Veto. (If you’re just a little curious about these videos, check out The Doctors’ YouTube channel here.)

Any TV shows that you can’t stand to see at the gym? Know exactly where you stand in the Food Network debate? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

*This post represents the musical tastes of this writer alone and not those of BlogDH or the Herald organization more generally. Apparently, people actually like “My Immortal” and “The Reason.”

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