You pull up to the gym and stare at your watch. 5:50 am. It took every ounce of strength for you to get out of your comfy bed to make it to the gym. You wipe the crusties out of your eyes and head into the gym. As soon as you walk in, your sleepy eyes suddenly brighten. Your ears just picked up on a wonderful sound. The beat coming out of the gym stereo has captivated you, and suddenly you start feeling energized. You start moving, and the next song is fire. The music fairies have blessed you today, and the music fills your soul with energy. Before you know it, you’re all done with your training and have a giant, sweaty smile on your face. You just experienced the power of workout music.
The right playlist can push you to be that 1% better not only in your workout but in life as well. Music can motivate and inspire your workouts, and most importantly, it makes working out so much fun!
Here are some knowledge bombs on how music can elevate your next workout and what to consider when creating your own workout playlist.
P.S. Read all the way to the end for a special Grown Strong Surprise 😉
1. Tempo and Pacing
Do you ever catch yourself rowing or running to a particular song, and it feels like the beat is matching your breathing? Maybe you have or haven’t, but the tempo and rhythm of the music you listen to can affect your pacing and/or breathing in a workout because music tempo can bring your heart rate up depending on how fast or slow the song is.
Knowing this, we can use music to our advantage, depending on what kind of workout we are doing. For endurance-based workouts (like running, rowing, biking, or those super long workouts), the best music for performance is fast music with strong beats such as garage, house, hip-hop. But not tooooooo fast. We might think that super high tempo music increases performance, but the ideal tempo is between 120 and 140 beats per minute. The music should not have a lot of breaks or have a lot of points where it goes faster or slower ( like classical). We don’t want our heart rate to get so high that we go out too hot “red line” in a workout.
2. Excites Your Brain And Gets Your Body Moving!
You’ve probably experienced a moment where you are feeling a little low or extra tired, and all of a sudden, a song comes on, and its rhythm and beat light you up inside. Your foot starts tapping, your head starts bobbing, and your body gets the urge to move. There’s actually a scientific reason for that!
A study in Brain and Cognition journal shows that "a musical quality that can induce movement in a listener" excites the area of the brain that is responsible for movement, literally making you want to move. So if you are feeling blah before your workout, play an upbeat song and start grooving to the beat.
3. Helps Your Mind Stay Checked In
Have you ever been mid-workout, and suddenly your muscles start aching, and your mind starts questioning why you are working so hard? When this happens, our mind needs to stay checked in. Music can offer our minds support and help us just that. Focusing on the music can offer us another focus besides our negative physical feelings! And because music elevates mood, it can motivate you to keep going through physical discomfort.
4. Gives You An Extra Push
Speaking of motivation, music can give you that extra push to get through your workout. Pick one song that always motivates you because of the rhythm or the lyrics, and designate that song as your power song. Line it up on your playlist so that when you need that extra push, you play that song. Here’s the key though, don’t listen to your workout playlist too much when you are not working out. Listening to it too much outside of fitness can desensitize you to its motivational powers. We want to create a positive emotional association with working out and your workout playlist.
We are music lovers here at Grown Strong, and we compiled the team’s favorite workout jams to make a Grown Strong Playlist! And we wanted to share it with all of you! Everyone has their own style or taste, but if you want to change up your workout music, take a listen and let us know what you think!