Let me be honest with you: it took me a long, long time to love working out. I tried jogging on my home treadmill with the television on but found it difficult to focus on anything complex in terms of plot while I was wheezing and exerting myself. Audiobooks gave me a similar trouble. They were too slow and soothing. God forbid I listened to anything funny. Having to stop your workout because you can’t stop laughing, on top of the gasping you’re already doing, is incredibly hard on your body and interrupts your productivity. Music is clearly the solution. In part because I was procrastinating and avoiding my actual workout. I spent a long time making a ton of workout playlists and mixes when I started my health and wellness journey. Here are some of the tips I have for making a playlist that helps keep you mentally stimulated and inspired for the duration of your workout. After all, there’s no shortage of scientific studies that show us the way the brain and body respond to music. This can be as vital a fitness aid as having the right sneakers, a gym membership, etc.
Much like the score of a film, you want to structure your playlist around the tempo and pace of your workout, matching the tone to the predicted energy level. Your first couple of tracks should be aggressive, inspiring and fast paced to keep you feeling fresh and energetic. Then, somewhere in the middle of my playlist, I usually include something a little bit slower – nothing too relaxing, now – in order to help increase my focus. I can tune out and get bored if the playlist is all the same tempo. Slowing down helps increase my motivation and ability to really commit.
Of course, the type of workout will also dictate what exactly you’re pacing for. A boot camp Miami style workout, for example, will not only demand very snug headphones, but intense music the whole time through. You need tracks that will resonate with your body while you try and fall as completely into the workout as possible. The intensity of the boot camp style workout is going to demand your all. I’m talking heavy dance music, electronica, chiptune, heavy metal, hardcore punk, K-pop – whatever you can find that feels driving, as long as the pace remains high. Group training Miami classes always blast upbeat pop music – do you ever notice what a difference it makes in the pace of the group?
Music has always been a tool that’s been a valuable tool for working out. Sports performance professionals know it when their team song blares before a game, and we know it when we plug our earphones in and go out for a jog. The right music can be what puts you over the edge and gets you to that place where you can keep going and going.