What makes a workout great? Is it purely the nature of the exercises? Of course, but only to some people. Is it the environment of the gym or studio you're in? Also yes, but again, not always. An important piece of the puzzle that creates the perfect workout, in my opinion, is the perfect soundtrack. If you view exercise as a mind, body, and soul-filled experience like I do, you should NEVER overlook your workout playlist!
What Helps Me Move
I have a wide range of musical tastes. You name the genre, odds are I've lived and breathed that culture at some point, as I come from a very musical family that exposed me to a huge variety of genres. From the time my siblings had me memorize every Beatles song as a little girl, all the way up to now, I've always loved the way good music makes me feel.
The optimal workout playlist should make you feel the same way.
My playlist is currently comprised of music spanning different decades. This includes 80's new wave and punk rock, 90's dance, EDM of the early 2000's, trance, reggae, and the music of Andrew Lloyd Weber. I tailor my workout playlists towards the type of exercise I’m doing; a climb while spinning requires a different playlist than a sprint, for example. These selections all bring me back to joyful times in my life, which puts me in a good mental and emotional state.
Group classes are the tricky ones, since you aren’t in control of the music. The first group fitness classes I ever took were choreographed to the music. Early step classes were very specifically 128 bpm and they worked well; as a result, that pace is usually what I look for. Fortunately, my 6 AM coach at TapOut plays trance/dance music around that speed, which is always the perfect beat to hit the bags.
I relate group fitness classes to going to the club dancing. They should be fun and cause you to live intentionally in that moment, so it’s more about the entire experience than simply the workouts!
Spectrum of Emotions
Your workout playlist might not have the same effect as someone else's. My playlist works because it gets me into a happy rhythm. Working out can be stressful on the mind and body, so I want my playlist to keep me upbeat and energized. Not everyone functions best that way, however.
Some people want to be as pumped up as possible. They'll hit the gym with dubstep or heavy metal blasting in their ears because they're looking to be power through their workout. Maximum aggression.
Other people want to be calm. They listen to something soothing, or perhaps music from their childhood that brings back happy memories. They might even throw on a podcast to help take their mind off things. While none one of these strategies work for me, that doesn't make them any less valid.
The key is the find the frame of mind that makes you perform your best in the gym, then put together a playlist that gets you to that place!
Don't Underestimate Music
Full disclosure: I've walked out of classes before because I just couldn't stand the music for one second longer. Music really can be the difference between a bad workout and a good one, or a good one and a great one. All you have to do is find the sound that works for you, then fill up your workout playlist with it. Treat the workout as your main character, and the accompanying music as your supporting cast. I guarantee you'll find yourself being more efficient and much happier in the gym.
If you need to be inspired, motivated, talk about finding your WHY, or discuss midlife challenges, you can reach me here. You can also DM me on Instagram @gailgensler.