For the first time this fall, I walked outside this morning and saw my own breath. To athletes, this means: Time to bundle up for outside sweat sessions or move your workout inside. Personally, I consider the treadmill/elliptical/stair-stepper thing a nightmare. What makes it worse is that to hear the TV sound at my gym, you must have a radio. Since I don't carry a Walkman around (it’s not 1985, after all), I'm out of luck. This is until I realized I have something better, an iPhone (hello, 2012). I don't have to choose between the gym’s three channels, and I don't have to drop in halfway through the sitcom that is playing. Here are three must-have apps to make your 30-minute slog, er, workout, a bit more manageable. Note: Angry Birds is not on this list for your own safety.
1. TED (Free): These educational speeches are anything but the lectures you slept through in college. If you don’t know what to watch, click the "Inspire Me" tab and choose the type of talk you'd like to watch (ingenious, inspiring, funny, or fascinating). Before you know it, you'll have run 45 minutes—and learned something new to brag about in the locker room.
2. YouTube (Free): We all get caught up clicking through funny cat/baby/monkey videos when we should be working. Create a playlist of those laughable clips or a 30-minute string of comedy bits to watch at the gym. The only risk here is the person next to you might wonder how you've made your nightly workout so hilarious.
3. Spotify Premium ($9.99 per month): Remember when you had to listen to the entire album to hear the hit song? If you still think that’s a good thing (we do), discover your favorite artist's "other songs" with Spotify Premium. It's a catalog of pretty much every album you can think of—in your iPhone. If you want to mix it up, take control of your workout jams by making a preset playlist so that you don’t spend your entire time on the treadmill skipping through bad songs.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock.