The Soundtrack to Sweat

For most of us, music is key for a great workout. It gets you pumped when you don’t have an instructor or trainer yelling at you (or even when you do). As an instructor, building my playlists is one of my favorite parts of the job, and – as cheesy as it sounds – is something I take very seriously. And the effort doesn’t go un-noticed. I get complimented on my playlists and workouts regularly.

Obviously different people have different tastes in music, and some may be better for one type of workout versus another. But for me, there are some pretty simple guidelines that work when I’m trying to create a soundtrack to your badassery, which is what I aim to share today!

Have An Upbeat Warm-Up
To get you moving, start with one or two happy songs that pull up your energy. These don’t need to be super fast, but something that will get your feet tapping when you’d otherwise be sitting still.

Examples/Recent Faves:
Sunshine (Matisyahu)
Mr. Blue Sky (ELO)
The Way We Touch (WE ARE TWIN)

Hit The Ground Running
The first few working songs should turn up the energy and get you excited and motivated to work. Like the warm up songs, but amplified. It sometimes takes a while to get into a solid working groove, so you want to be excited and energized with each new track to get you there.

Examples/Recent Faves:
Like A Drum (Guy Sebastian)
How I Feel (Flo Rida)
Here It Goes Again (OK Go)

Let The Intensity Ebb…
Don’t feel like the whole playlist (and workout) has to be full-throttle. After a few intense songs, pull it back with a more chill vibe to catch your breath and recover mentally between drills. Honestly, sometimes it’s in the lower-intensity songs that I get ‘into the zone’ with my workout.

Examples/Recent Faves:
Shower (Becky G)
Revolution (Diplo feat. Faustix, Imanos & Kai)
Humming Bird (Alex Clare)

…And Then Flow
Of course, after you’ve zoned in and caught your breath, you’ll want to take it right back up. In spin class, this is where we’d do a fast sprint or heavy climb, but even if you’re running at a constant pace, the increased energy in the music can help you stay motivated.

Examples/Recent Faves:
Iron (Woodkid)
300 Violin Orchestra (Jorge Quintero)
Recess (Skrillex)

Finish Strong
When you’re at the end of your workout, blast the strongest, most intense, motivating song to finish with. It’s the last 3-4 minutes. Give everything you got.

Examples/Recent Faves:
Til I Collapse (or pretty much anything by Eminem)
Cheating (John Newman)
Killin’ It (Foxy Shazam)

Other tips:

Pick Songs That Make You Feel
Whether you’re loading up your own iPod or creating a playlist to be heard by an entire class, if you’re excited about the music you’re playing, the workout will just be better. Pick songs that make you smile, get you angry, help you focus, and tune out the rest of the world.

Listen To The Whole Thing
Listen to the playlist once through before if you’ve got time. Make sure the songs flow together with the right energy, building at points when you might be fatiguing.

Want to see how it all comes together? Well, since you asked…

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 12.53.35 PM