Who wants to work out in silence? Hmm... Who wants to listen to others around them panting, grunting, chatting, sniffling, etc.? Ummm.... Who wants to listen to music that provides a steady beat as well as physical and emotional motivation? Me Me Me Me! Now, I know there are some people who prefer to go without headphones, to listen to their breath, to focus on the road, and that's great for them! I'm just not one of them. Yes, I've tried it. It's doable. But I much prefer music; it keeps me going in ways that my huffing and puffing just can't.
|My #1 workout buddy: my iPod shuffle|
This weekend, a friend asked me what's on my playlist? -- do I have a post for running music? Good news, Cait: This one's for you!
|Always have my iPod shuffle on!|
#1: Choose music you like.
These should ALSO fall into category #2 (below), or at the very least be upbeat. I try to choose songs that I enjoy, that are upbeat, and most of all are FUN, either in nature or fun to sing along to in my head (or signing, or out loud). I do NOT want songs that will make my workout feel slower than it is.
"What Do You Want From Me" - Adam Lambert
"This is the Last Time", "Bend and Break" - Keane
"Love Today", "Happy Ending," "We Are Golden" - MIKA
BUT THEN THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS: There are the rare songs and artists I don't particularly like but don't mind working out to, such as Miley Cyrus ("See You Again" or "Nobody's Perfect") and Kelly Clarkson ("What Doesn't Kill You", "Since U Been Gone") due to their solid beats and--in the latter case--powerful message.
|Got my beats :)|
#2: Choose music that provides a beat
Whether you're lifting weights, throwing punches, or running a race, it helps when you've got some music to pace yourself. The beat can tell you when to lift and lower, squat and stand, punch and kick, or hit the pavement. It keeps you steady.
"Hey Driver" - Lucky Boys Confusion
In Body Combat -- my love -- the music really makes the workout. The beat helps you pace your punching, kicking, jumping. It's kick-butt. Working out on my own, I've learned how music can help pace my strength training. I'll do single reps on the verse--along with the beat--and then maybe 3-1 pulses during the chorus. My music does the counting for me. It gives me a guidance for breaking up the routine, sort of like when I use a similar pattern for running intervals (power walk verses, run choruses fast).
#3: Choose music with inspirational lyrics
True story: A few weeks ago, I was running around a path in my town, where each loop is a little under a half mile. I was feeling pretty beat after 3 miles and was ready to call it a day--short of my 4-mile goal. Then, as I slowed down to the point where I'd go off to walk toward my car, "I'm a Survivor" by Destiny's Child came on my iPod. I wavered for a few moments, standing still at the turning point. Then, no joke, I kept going. Darn right, I'm a survivor!, I thought to myself. "I'm not gonna give up, I'm not gonna stop, I'm gonna work harder..." I finished my fourth mile.
Lyrics are powerful. It's like repeating a mantra to yourself, but the words flow into your ears whether you want to hear it or not. They'd better be encouraging you to go harder, longer, stronger--to give it your all!
I was having trouble skimming my playlist for lyrics offhand, but here are a few that came to mind as having given me a running high in the past:
(In fact, all of HSM2 kinda has awesome beats. Put that in #2. Shh I'm not 5, I swear.)
Here's the playlist I created for my first 5k race:
"We Are Golden" gets me pumped up, "Boys of Summer," "Hey Driver," "Bet On It"--all great for keeping my feet pounding the pavement on pace, and then --> Nothing like ending a race to "Happy Ending"! (Never made it to "I Surrender" ;) WIN!)
In general, I just shuffle through the 223 songs on my little pink iPod shuffle. (High school graduation gift from my boyfriend&fam. It's still going strong!) Unless you depend on apps for your workout regimen, I highly recommend getting an iPod shuffle. It is so lightweight, it clips right onto your clothing, and it makes it SO easy to effortlessly 'NEXT' a song you're not in the mood for, or replay a really great one.
Not a fan of my suggestions? Looking for more? You can also check out: Fitness Magazine's reader favorites: Top 100 Workout Songs and LiveStrong.com's Popular Cardio Songs by genre.
Disclaimer: If you're running in the streets, please be aware of your surroundings!!!!! In the gym, too, stay conscious of those around you, the equipment or machinery you're using, and even your breath. The music should be there to help you, but not completely distract you.
How do you select songs for your workout playlists?
What are your favorites?
Got any really great numbers I should add to my own?