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workout music: pump up the jams

Posted Mar 28 2011 6:34pm
Believe it or not, this photo only includes half of my bangs.
I think one of the key ingredients in my transformation from someone who hated to be doing much more than walking to someone who tries to keep up with the real athletes at the gym has a lot to do with my music.

When I first started experimenting with the "gym environment" in an effort to be fit for a scantily-clad musical I was in freshman year  I tried to listen to music I liked in the gym, instead of music that would really be inspiring in an active environment. Thankfully, I didn't try to get on the treadmill to Joni Mitchell, but I did have a "workout" playlist that consisted of Ben Folds, The Fratellis, and some equally upbeat, but not driving songs.  Things got a little better when our gym at school got fancy and I could watch TV, but I found that I was more interested in whatever the Cooking Channel1 was making than concentrating on my workout.

After a trip to Atlanta  in which my friend Stephanie, Queen of Pop Music, opened my eyes to a few particularly blood-pumping songs, I decided to bring some of "her type" of music to the gym with me.  I noticed a difference after the first song; with such a strong, unquestionably loud beat that seemed to be programmed right at my average speed on the elliptical, nothing could stop me from keeping up with the music.  If I started the song in tempo, I can easily tell if I've slowed down at any point during the song.  For me, it's also a guilt-free way to get my not-so-artistic music2 fix in. The songs on my playlist, which I shuffle daily, are
  • Bad Romance - Lady Gaga
  • Born This Way - Lady Gaga
  • Circus - Britney Spears
  • Paper Planes - MIA
  • Poker Face - Lady Gaga
  • Summer Girl - Leighton Meester
  • TiK ToK - Ke$ha
  • Toxic - Britney Spears
  • The only song on there that isn't unabashedly electropop is Summer Girl, which is fine when it comes up during an off-interval.  Sometimes I stretch to Rufus Wainwright's "Poses."

    Simply put, it doesn't matter what you listen to while you work out, so long as it motivates you.  Watching TV, reading, checking your phone- these are all things that can help pass the time more quickly, but they also take your mind of your purpose, and when you're concentrating on what you're doing and how you're doing it, reaching your goals is much easier.

    That being said, I am getting a little tired of my current playlist. What are your suggestions? Send your playlists as a list with YouTube links or a zipped set of mp3 files to . I'll try them all out and the best one will be announced a future blog post!
    1Ironically, both my gym at school and at home have the Cooking Channel or the Food Network preprogrammed into their selections. Ironic? Strange? Maybe. Is it what I always end up watching? Of course.
    2This applies to pretty much everyone on my playlist except Lady Gaga. But even her sometimes.
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