The hillbilly solution to a dry, hands-free, accessible iPod while working out.
iPods are finicky little gadgets, and they don’t stand up well to the sweat they are subjected to during an hour or more of of cross-training.
In other words, a sweaty iPod is a frozen iPod.
So you need a way to keep your iPod safe from workout-induced sweat and grime, right? But you also need it’s buttons to remain accessible in the event that a motivation-crushing downer of a song decides to come on, so that you can press the “forward” button in a panic before you are seized by the sudden notion to lay on the floor and weep, right?
Okay, so the obvious solution to this quandary is an armband.
I regret to report that on Apple’s website, these freaking rip-offs range from $30 to $40.
HEY APPLE, THIS JUST IN: That’s $30 to $40 dollars we’d all rather spend on just about anything but a few inches of synthetic fabric and plastic.
What’s the alternative for cash-strapped future graduate students who presently subsist on a volunteer stipend?
On the stationary bike or the elliptical, just wrap the iPod in a plastic baggy and stash it in one of compartments for waterbottles. The buttons and volume wheel all still work through the plastic, the iPod stays dry, no freezing occurs, and this all means you’ll avoid having an expletive-fueled war with your temporarily-out-of-commission music-producing gadget and thus, you won’t draw the attention off the fake workouter to your left who is wearing sweatpants and chatting loudly on her phone while reading US Weekly and ellipticizing at the speed of a slug. Problem solved.
But on the erg (a.k.a rowing machine), that doesn’t fly. You can’t leisurely flip the pages of a magazine on an erg. You can’t take your time and fiddle with your playlist on an erg. There is no waterbottle compartment on an erg. My point is, they are no fun.
My real point is, your hands are occupied by holding the handle the entire time, and the only opportunity to change a song or adjust the volume is a quick reach between strokes, unless you want to totally interrupt your workout.
So, unfortunately, you can’t just put it in a plastic bag and call it a day.
And if you’re in a standoff with Apple about purchasing one of their annoying overpriced armband products, you need to do your own thing.
“Your own thing” might not be this.
Yes, that’s a headlamp in the fourth picture. This ridiculous set-up has been working like a charm for me for over a year. The added bonus is that it’s a great way to repel other people from talking to you at the gym, because they probably catch an immediate whiff of weirdo. (Edited to add: I would never use this for running, because I rarely run with music. But it does the trick for gym cardio machines).
I typically turn the lamp part around and pretend it blends in with my hair in order to cut down on mystified stares from fellow gym-goers, but maybe I’ll just keep it to the front and turn it on. The better to see through the gloom of my styleless future.
In truth, an adjustable stretchy headband would probably look slightly less gooftastic than my old camping headlamp, but I don’t seem to own one.
What are your strange, thrifty solutions to common running, crosstraining, or general fitness dilemmas? We’ve all heard the advice to do bicep curls with cans of soup when you don’t have access to dumbbells, but there must be more kooky DIY stories out there.
Training log excerpts:
Yesterday: 9 mile progression run, 7:45 pace average. Oh, it felt good and like a more proper pace than what I’ve been struggling to piece together recently. I changed my shoes and followed it immediately with an easy Free-sy three-sy, for 12 miles total.
Today: 20 KM on the rowing machine, alternating 2 minutes “slow” with 1 minute “slightly less slow.” Took about 90 minutes. So, yeah, not exactly a 20 KM PR…
Do you own an iPod armband? Is life easier with it? Would you like to give me one for free?