The TV Shows Every Gym Should Play

Should you be lifting to The Big Bang Theory? Is it smart to run during American Horror Story? We figured out which shows every gym should play to keep fitness fanatics moving.

When it comes to gym motivation, a little TV can be a lifesaver. It made us wonder: Are we the only sitcom workout junkies? The only reality dating cardio-vores? The only ones up for an action and adventure stretch fest? Or, more directly, how many gym-goers rely on TV to get them through their next workout?

As a company that provides television subscriptions to small businesses, we decided it was our duty to ensure that the shows played at the local gym are the best ones. Read on to find out which TV genres and shows will give you the best results.


Rather than step into a gym ourselves (the thought alone makes us sweat), we polled 1,000 folks using Pollfish. 

In our poll, we asked participants questions about their exercise and workout habits. We ended our poll by asking the participants to pick which shows they workout to from a list of 30 IMDb television shows. Participants also had the option to add a show of their own in a blank form provided.

Binge-Worthy Findings

Men seem to prefer to weight train while viewing stereotypically masculine content. 67% of men prefer to watch Action/Adventure/War TV shows while weight training, opposed to 33% of women. Similarly, 70% of men prefer to weight train while watching sports, compared to 30% of women. 

Opposite of the men, women prefer to stretch and work on their cardio to shows that tug more on the heartstrings. 67% of women prefer to watch Drama shows while doing cardio, and 63% of women prefer to watch Drama shows while they stretch; opposed to 33% and 37% of men, respectively. When it comes to comedy, 59% of women prefer working on cardio while watching something funny, as opposed to 41% of men.

Do the genders agree on anything? Yes, in fact: For any exercise, men and women watch the News equally as often. When it comes to being informed, everyone seems to like to stay in the loop.

Now that we’ve covered who is watching what, we can touch on a more interesting topic—why do people watch TV while they get fit? Here are the reasons respondents cited: 

  • To keep me entertained: 61%
  • To distract me:  47.48%
  • To pump me up: 33.53%
  • To motivate me to finish my workout: 33.09%
  • To motivate me to go to the gym in the first place: 13.81%
  • To watch a TV show my partner hates: 4.32%

Everybody’s Doing It, but Should You?

Whether you boost the laugh track on The Big Bang Theory while busting out a 5K or kill another deadlift set to American Horror Story, you’re not alone: 38.8% of people consistently watch TV while working out

More than a third of people who work out watch television while they do so, but is it such a good idea? According to Anna Victoria, a personal trainer and founder of the Fit Body app, “Tuning in to a TV while working on your cardio is a great way to pass the time.”

Victoria warns against using a television when lifting weights. “When it comes to strength training,” she said, “people lose focus on proper form. Bad form introduces poor muscle engagement and an increased risk of injury.”

For weight-training gym rats and cardio queens alike, we hope this read helps you find your groove during your next workout.


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